If I find a new apartment that is $1,000 cheaper than my current abode, I save more than $1,000. That’s because I have to earn more than $1,000 to receive that amount in my bank account.
I’m looking at some stories about conserving energy. Energy efficiency is something we don’t pay enough attention to, because it isn’t sexy, it doesn’t create a new structure, etc., etc.
For example, this story about Marriott using 860,000 fewer kilowatt hours simply by converting to LED lighting at its corporate campus. It should tick a lot of boxes. The switch will save them $120,000 per year in combined energy and maintenance savings. That may not sound like much at first, but remember we’re talking about… changing lightbulbs.
It’s been a difficult few years economically, and people everywhere are looking for ways of saving money. IT managers are cleverly off-shoring some energy consumption by virtualizing servers, which they report as saving them 28% of energy costs and moving to the cloud, which saves them 17%.
Funnily enough, the easiest move they reported making was switching to Energy Star devices, which saved them 20% on power costs. I say funnily enough because I was just looking at another story about Energy Star. 40,000 products have an Energy Star sticker and their usage has reduced U.S. power consumption by $18 billion–last year alone.
Sadly, what blows my mind in reading stories about energy efficiency is what they don’t talk about.
Every watt you choose not to use is actually 3 watts not consumed. That’s because the average efficiency of power plants is a pretty sad 35% (although it’s getting better, thanks to combined cycle natural gas and other innovations).
What that means is, like me having to earn about $1,400 to get that $1,000 in my pocket, the energy saved by Marriott when they bought those LED lightbulbs was a lot more than 860,000 kwh–it was more like 2,700,000. It just doesn’t get reported because it never appeared on their utility bills in the first place…