Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Why Should We Save Electricity?

1350215For many people the reason they try to save electricity is to save money on their power bills. This makes total sense and it's what should be happening. Sure we'd all like to save the planet if we can, but really for the day to day people who are stressed and working for a living they are driven by money. They want to either make more or spend less. This is how our economy works and it's how we work. So saving money is a really good reason to trigger someone to turn off a light, or try to find more efficient appliances, or any other host of ways to try to save electricity. 

Environmental Reasons to Save Electricity

So let's say you have tons of money and you don't really care how much you electric bill is. Why not just leave on all the lights and turn the air conditioner way up and juts go crazy. Well the problem with that is that most of the power plants here in the US (and around the world for that matter) burn some kind of fossil fuel to create that electricity you are wasting. So sure you aren't actually burning the fuel that is creating the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and creating more global warming, but really aren't you? I mean if you didn't use that much electricity then less would have had to be created and there for less fuel burned, so really you are indeed causing global warming.

Now I know there are going to be people that write in and say yes but the power plants aren't on a one watt to one unit of fuel basis. And you are right. Just because specifically you left that light on all night in the basement doesn't mean that someone at the local power plant is going to get a report and have to turn up the process. But there is a point where a power plant hits a level where either they turn up the dial, or more likely they call and turn on the auxiliary plant to deal with the additional demand.

Loss of Electricity Due to Friction in the Power Lines

Not only would be you wasting power in the above scenario but even though you don't know it you are wasting more then you actually use. Actually all of us are using more then we are actually registering at the meter. This is because electricity has to flow through power lines to get from the power plant where it's created to our house. This about the power lines in your area during winter. Remember all those birds that cluster on the power lines? Why do they do that? It's because the lines are warm. And why are the warm you ask? It's because of the friction of the electricity flowing through the power lines. As those electrons flow they cause friction with the molecules of the power line itself. Friction causes heat. There is a reduction of the amount of electricity created compared to what is delivery to homes because a percentage is lost as heat energy along the way.

It is a good amount lost to heat too. As a percentage it's about a high single digit. That might not sounds like a lot but think of all the electricity that is used around the world in a day. Imagine if that was 7% less? Think of all the fuel that wouldn't have to be spent if we didn't have to create 7% of the electricity anymore! That would make a big dent in global warming right there!

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