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California launches the nation's largest energy efficiency plan

The state of California has approved a new energy efficiency plan, providing $3.1 billion for programs from PG&E, Sempra Energy and Edison International.  The state is interested in providing financial benefits for programs designed to persuade home owners to use less energy.

Specifically, the $3.1 billion budget approved by the California Public Utilities Commission will help pave the way to savings of 7,000 gigawatt hours, 150 million metric therms of natural gas, and 1,500 megawatts of electricity.

City, county, and regional agencies will receive up to $265 million when they create energy-efficiency efforts.  Home owners will be able to monitor energy-usage statistics when they log onto the internet, the plan states.

"Capturing the full energy efficiency potential in the state requires more than simply providing rebates to support the installation of the latest and greatest widget," according to Michael Peevey, the state's commission president.

According to the state commission, energy  savings would be the same as three 500 megawatt power plants.  Furthermore, the new state-led programs would create between 15,000 and 18,000 new jobs, while also eliminating almost 3 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions across the state.

"The focus is to shift priorities away from rebates for widgets to sustained energy savings in the built environment," California Public Utilities Commission member Dian Grueneich told the media.  "These numbers are breathtaking in their own right."

Due to the faltering economy, energy conservation and efficiency have been popular among consumers and companies interested in reducing costs.



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RE: Good luck, CA...
By quiksilvr on 9/25/2009 8:54:43 PM , Rating: 2
1) I agree. LEDs are the future, but they are still aren't ready for effective commercial use. CFLs however are a much better alternative to incandescent. And I'm not sure what you mean by the light is "horrible". If you are a fan of white light, Sylvania makes great bulbs. Anything else you can get from COSTCO. 10 pack for 7-8 bucks ain't bad. Also they have been cutting down on the mercury, so if it breaks, you won't be in any immediate danger (unless you inhale it). Just be sure to open the windows and start the AC in that room to flush it out.

2) Can you wash a HEPA filter every month for 10 years? Don't get me wrong, those filters are great, but they aren't long lasting. And 91 vs 98 isn't crazy bad. Its just not as good. I'm pretty sure its better than what most people have in their house.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Noliving on 9/25/2009 11:34:45 PM , Rating: 2
LED's may not be effective for buisness yet but they are effective for home use.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Noliving on 9/25/2009 11:35:04 PM , Rating: 2
Why isn't there an edit button?


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Samus on 9/26/2009 5:20:52 AM , Rating: 2
Yes, CFL's have mercury, but they contain far less mercury than that of which is exhausted into the atmosphere in comparison to how much more power an incandecent bulb uses over the CFL's typical lifespan.

And how many CFL's have you actually broken open? When mind break, they typically come loose at the base via wiring, just kind of dangling. They don't actually 'pour' any toxic fumes out...I guess if one were to completely shatter, but just be a little more careful. A normal bulb shattering is just as dangerous! Glass in the feets! ohh noes!


RE: Good luck, CA...
By mindless1 on 9/26/2009 6:07:05 PM , Rating: 2
The typical failure mode is an internal transistor shorting out. Breaking the tube would be a very clumsy thing to do and not particularly hazardous unless you handle the glass with bare hands.

It's the classic argument, which is more dangerous... having mercury in the environment originally and having it get into ground water, or having it mined, trapped inside of glass tubes where it comes in contact with nothing, usually.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By mindless1 on 9/26/2009 6:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
I would tend to disagree, in business use you reduce cost of replacement labor while a homeowner doesn't bill themselves for replacement, and in a business the light is more likely to stay on all the time recouping electrical costs while in an energy conscious home the lights are turned off when nobody is in the room.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Lord 666 on 9/26/2009 12:33:46 AM , Rating: 2
Actually, putting the A/C on would circulate the mercury more into your HVAC system. Opening windows and leaving area for 15-30 minutes is the best. After that, blot it up with a wet sponge or mop. Depending on the surface it broke on (carpet versus hard) the treatment is different. Carpet would require several treatments.

Vacuuming is the worst thing you can do as it atomizes the mercury. Even using a dust pan and broom is bad as it kicks up the dust.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By mindless1 on 9/26/2009 6:16:26 PM , Rating: 3
LOL @ evacuating the area just because a little bulb broke.

If you think opening the windows or leaving is important you are accepting it must have been atomized, so vacuuming is no different.

You're far more likely to get a larger dose of mercury from simply eating fish, there's little point being paranoid about light bulbs.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By sigmatau on 9/26/2009 1:50:56 AM , Rating: 3
1. Most if not all CFLs light is not soft like incadecent.

2. I'm sorry but 91% is garbage. You can put a towel up and it will do about the same. 98% is not what a HEPA filter cleans.

"HEPA filters, by definition, remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 micrometers (┬Ám) in diameter" -source: Wiki

Leaving 9% of particles in the air per pass vs .03% is a crazy huge difference. I think many of the filters existing before HEPA were better than this. You would need to pass the air 4 times on your filter to get the same results as what a HEPA filter does in one pass. Sorry, if a vacuum cleaner can do this, then a air filter must be able to do it.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By quiksilvr on 9/26/2009 4:17:18 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, for 6 months to a year. Then that 99.97% drops. I'd rather get 91% for a decade. And, as I said, compared to what most people have in their AC is no where near as good, I'd say a MERV 8 filter that can be washed and reused over and over for 10 years is pretty damn good.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Samus on 9/26/2009 4:59:36 PM , Rating: 3
It isn't neccessarily unhealthy to breath 'dust.' Infact, some medical research provides evidence the peanut allergy (and many other allergies) develope during infancy thru early childhood years when living in 'too clean' of an environment.

Which explains why, genetically, farm-cultured civilizations virtually never have allergies or rejection of food.

Breath some dust, just not pollution.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By mindless1 on 9/26/2009 6:19:52 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, no. The 99.97 does not drop, the filter gets ever more clogged and filters even better, BUT it constricts airflow too much beyond a point and is more likely to be deformed away from the duct slot or gaskets so the dirty air simply flows around it rather than through it.

91% for a decade is not good. That's a ton of crap building up in the ductwork and a lot more perpetual dust everywhere in the home. What is needed instead is simply 100% recyclable paper fiber filters, and of course recycling programs that do so.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By tmouse on 9/28/2009 8:16:32 AM , Rating: 4
While you are technically correct, the reality is any gaps formed do in fact drastically decrease the filtration since most of the air will take the route of least resistance.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By mindless1 on 10/1/2009 12:23:03 PM , Rating: 2
Uhh, didn't I mention that?

I wouldn't agree that it's "most" though, when you have a large duct and the gap is a narrow constriction you will still have sufficient negative pressure to pull a lot through the filter.

Take my word for it, I used to be in the HVAC biz to put me through college years ago. Even so, anybody can choose to put some foam weather stripping tape down to seal theirs better if they so desire, but it is not a standard feature on the base units most often installed in homes (yet easily added yourself if you aren't allergic to grabbing a screwdriver and mallet to pull the duct apart, apply it then beat it back together again.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By MicahK on 9/28/2009 2:06:13 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The amount of mercury in a CFLs glass tubing is minute; each Project Porchlight CFL bulb contains 2.5 mg of mercury, about the size of a period at the end of a sentence. By comparison, watch batteries and four-foot fluorescent tubes contain about 25 mg, older home thermostats contain 500 mg, and older dental fillings contain 100 to 500 mg of mercury.


quote:
You should know that we already live safely with mercury - our hospitals, worksites, schools and daycares are filled with the long fluorescent tubes, which also contain mercury.


quote:
The Canada Labour Code specifies: The Ceiling Exposure Value (CEV), the maximum airborne concentration for mercury, to which a worker can be exposed to at any time is 0.15 mg/m3 To put this value into perspective, a CFL containing 2.5 mg of mercury would have to break in a room smaller than 2.4 m x 2.4 m x 3 m (7.2 x 7.2 x 9 ) to pose a health risk according to the Ceiling Exposure Value specified by the Code. If a bulb were to break in a space such as this, leaving the room and ventilating the area would reduce the mercury concentration to a safe level in about 15 minutes.


Seriously everyone complains about the mercury in CFLs but they are seriously misinformed, or just don't care to know the facts, or just like the fear-mongering.

Maybe you mercury fearing people should worry about the lead toy your child is sucking on, or how bout the sun, its giving you cancer as we speak.

Having said that, I think LED bulbs are the future. We have a couple out at our solar powered cabin as well as some CFLs and I have to say I like the LEDs way more. They have a more natural light, they are bright and consume very little power. There is still some obstacles to overcome before we see LEDs in widespread use, but I have no doubt that they will be the future's lightbulb.


RE: Good luck, CA...
By Spuke on 9/28/2009 4:41:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Seriously everyone complains about the mercury in CFLs but they are seriously misinformed, or just don't care to know the facts, or just like the fear-mongering.
Yeah, because telling people to not worry without providing some facts or info as to why they should not worry will definitely stop people from worrying. You know, even if I had an ego as encompassing as yours, I STILL would require you to back up that statement before I gave it any credence.


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