Deficiency Wednesday February 1, 2006, 1 comments

I don’t often pay attention to American State of the Union addresses by any president, let alone this one, but since the Leafs were busy losing another hockey game and I was unmotivated to do much else, I sort of paid attention to what the guy was saying.

I was struck, in a positive way, by his frank and open admission that the United States is addicted to oil, and that it had to end its reliance on petroleum, since that fuel comes from mostly unstable parts of the world and is getting scarce and expensive.

Then he went on to outline a plan that increases research funding for cleaner fuels and hybrid and hydrogen-powered cars. I was impressed. Those would, indeed, be wonderful steps, and who better to lead the charge than the self-styled light of progress, the United States of America? Then he changed topics and went on to discuss other things: wars, the economy, health care.

Hold on! This is America, that uses 50% of the worlds energy! Creates most of the greenhouse emissions! And all he’s got to say is that clean fuels might be good?

You have to understand that I am in possession of a bit of an environmental mind. So, I went through my house, and counted the number of light bulbs. Not wattage. Just the actual number of bulbs. 16 in the basement. 31 on the main floor. 21 upstairs. 6 outside. That’s a lot of bulbs! 74, to be precise. And my house is a small one!

Let us pretend that I am very good at only having lights on in the rooms where I am, and turn them off when I leave. I am going to guess that on average, one fifth of the light bulbs in my house are on all day. That’s fifteen bulbs. Lets further assume that I use 60 watt lightbulbs, in an effort to conserve energy. Thats 900 watts of lightbulb in my house on average! 21.6 kilowatt hours per day. Jeeze.

We’re just talking lights here. Almost a 21.6 kilowatt hours of lights in the house of a mildly concerned individual. No mention of televisions, washers, dryers, kitchen appliances, computers, or anything else. And I was being pretty generous with myself. I probably leave more lights than that on.

I’m not going to dig further, but I think its obvious that clean energy is only half the battle here. If even half the battle. We need clean houses. Efficiency. There’s no way in hell a single house should be using 21.6 kilowatt hours per day in JUST LIGHTS. I’m at work for a 1/3 of the day and asleep for another 1/4!

Efficiency in use, not just production. If we can reduce the amount of energy we use by 50%, do we not automatically reduce the need to produce energy, and therefore greenhouse gasses, by a similar factor?

My numbers may be in error. I do not claim to be an expert on such things, but even I can see that hydrogen powered cars alone will not be enough to solve North America’s energy addiction.


Jeff Wednesday February 1, 2006

Man. Use those small florescent light bulbs. They are incredibly efficient and last longer. Also I feel that they give better light. At work we turned on 18 of em and drew 1.8 amps. Thats not much at all. The formula for figuring this out relates to Ohms law which is E=IR where E is volts, I is amps and R is resistance. Here is a good link for figuring that stuff out. Any little bit of drop in usage per bulb is the way to go.

Commenting has ended for this post, but I'd still love to hear from you.

The website of Adrian Lebar

A Rain of Frogs is written, designed and built by Adrian Lebar, a twenty(!) year veteran of web design and development. He is currently managing web and mobile development teams at Canada’s largest and most beloved classifieds site, Kijiji!

He is a father, sailor, snowboarder, skier, cyclist, writer, artist, graphic designer, classically trained musician and afraid of heights.

Adrian is not currently available for freelance and contract work. Learn more.

Build a man a fire, and he'll be warm for a day. Set a man on fire, and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.”
- Terry Pratchett


  • @mrmatthogg You certainly want to work with him. Tuesday May 12, 2020
  • @mrmatthogg Lately you sound like me 3 years ago, failing agains the profligate use of users bandwidth and computin… Monday May 11, 2020
  • Do you remember when you joined Twitter? I do! #MyTwitterAnniversary Well, I didn’t, but twitter reminded me. Wednesday April 1, 2020
  • Weeks of coding will save you hours of planning. Thursday February 6, 2020
  • Hey @nationalpost your website is unreadable on mobile thanks to your slow loading, crufty page and your display ad… Wednesday January 29, 2020
  • Putting Devs Before Users: How Frameworks Destroyed Web Performance by @GamingReinvent Thursday January 2, 2020
  • There’s an important difference between an inexperienced developer and a bad developer. Tuesday December 3, 2019
  • This is utterly unacceptable, GO Transit. Should we expect an apology for the inconvenience, coupled with a statem… Thursday November 21, 2019