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 Post subject: Not only Silent, but how about "Dark"?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 9:58 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 23, 2005 6:51 am
Posts: 372
Location: Seattle
I know these things have started to bug me some lately.

http://wpcomics.washingtonpost.com/client/wpc/db/

[Mod Edit: Did this link get changed? I'm not sure why this is in the Green Computing section?]


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:30 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:22 pm
Posts: 179
Location: Sunny Florida, where dead people vote 3 times in a county they never even lived in!
Those things concern me too. We've made it policy, in our house, to unplug everything that is not being used. The only exceptions are the DSL modem (it takes forever at times to synch up and get itself started), the wireless router that it is attached to, and my LCD monitor (fully off = about 1 watt, left on standby = between 1 watt and two watts, besides the switch is pretty delicate, so better left alone).

All rechargers are unplugged, all laptops are unplugged, everything not in use is turned off. Period.

Policy began last March, and last (2007) May electric bill, for the month of April was $22.18. For a 1500 sq. foot 2/2 with a two car garage, three adults (wife, me and 22 year old daughter), and three Great Danes. Oh, and my stereo was on nearly every day, all day and into the evening.


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 Post subject: Power strips can help.
PostPosted: Wed Apr 23, 2008 9:56 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:49 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
People are often surprised when I tell them that many devices aren't off, just in standby. The simplest way I've found to manage it is to plug all of your devices into power strips, and just turn the power strips off when you're done using the equipment.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 1:12 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 18, 2003 2:19 pm
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Location: St Louis (county) Missouri USA
I suppose if all those devices were in one spot, and could be plugged into one power strip, simply turning it off at night could be a workable solution. But if you have to go around the house turning off many power strips......that gets "old" very fast.

I use several "smart" power strips located near my different computers. One is turned on by a monitor's current draw, which activates the power strip and turns on all the other devices. The other "smart" strip is turned on by a USB input from a computer. Works ok.....

Now whether the energy saving ever makes up for the cost of these relatively expensive "smart" power strips......doubtful. I suspect there are better/easier ways to save a little energy/money.

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 24, 2008 10:35 pm 
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Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2008 9:49 pm
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Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
I've heard a lot about smart power strips. There has been some good discussion over at Treehugger about many of the different ones out there. It seems like they can definitely save you money over the long run.

Everyone's situation is different, but for me, it's not a problem to turn off multiple power strips. I just turn them off when I'm done with them. For instance, I have my desktop and monitor plugged into one power strip. I turn it on when I'm using them, and off when I'm done. I have a few peripherals plugged into another one. I turn it on when I'm using them (printing, etc.), and off when I'm done. I have my TV, VCR, and DVD player plugged into a different one. When I'm done watching TV, I turn that power strip off. Once I started doing things this way, it quickly became second nature.

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President/Founder, Verdant Computing
http://www.verdantcomputing.com/


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Apr 25, 2008 1:37 am 
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Location: St Louis (county) Missouri USA
The other problem with power strips....there are plenty of devices that need power at all times, like clock/radios, or room lamps that you might like on when everything else is off. Many power strips have outlets that stay on even if the main switch is off.

I also use devices around the house that have multiple switches on the front....the monitor was supposed to sit on them, but they can be used for everything. I have one dedicated to five different battery chargers. I just turn on the particular charger I'm using.

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"At the core of liberalism is the spoiled child - miserable, as all spoiled children are, unsatisfied, demanding, ill disciplined, despotic, and useless. Liberalism is the philosophy of sniveling brats." - P.J. O'Rourke


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:50 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 307
Location: (near) Berlin, Germany
A friend of mine just finished building his new house, altogether with a fancy house management system. He has two switches sitting next to his bed, and two switches sitting next to his main door, which can be configured to do almost anything. One of these switches is used to turn off all lights in the house, the other to electrically turn off all standby consumers (except stuff like PVR and server).

When he wants to use the standby consumers in the one room again, he just uses another switch next to the light switch, and on they are.

He can control the behaviour of every switch and lots of household appliances in his house with a management console to be found next to the fuse box in the corridor, and even log in his house management from being away by using a browser interface. For example, when he is on holiday, he can tell his heating system to heat up the house again on the day that he will come back. Or he can tell his kitchen to be lit at 6am when he gets up and make him a fresh café latte at 6:05am.

It saves a lot of electricity, and is so pleasing to use. The downside is that it was very, very expensive - like five-digit €, but including the appliances.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:39 am 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 134
Location: IN, USA
Here in the US, I think only people who are very, very, well off can afford those kinds of systems. And I assume it only makes sense if you are building a new home. Hence, I've never seen one. But they sound sweet!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 6:38 am 
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Location: (near) Berlin, Germany
Avalanche wrote:
Here in the US, I think only people who are very, very, well off can afford those kinds of systems. And I assume it only makes sense if you are building a new home. Hence, I've never seen one. But they sound sweet!


Well, altoghther his house wasn't overly expensive - it's a question of preference, I think. He renovated an old farmhouse from the 1700s which he inherited a year ago and which was more or less a ruin (he says he could have built completely new for less money). Now it's an almost passive building, and the energy that he needs is produced by his photovoltaic and solarthermic installation and a small forest nearby which also belongs to him. He can just feed his central heating system with the wood he logs on one or two weekends per year, isn't that great?

The biggest single point in his costsheet for the renovation was "electricity, heating, appliances and control" with altogther some 50.000€. Not too bad for what he got, though. It must be nice to be almost completely independent energy-wise. Here in Germany you get incredibly cheap loans for this type of renovation from a state-run bank (KfW, which means "Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau" (Bank for reconstruction), which was founded after WWII with American taxpayer's money from the Marshall Plan. But I divert...). Think of 3.5% interest fixed over 20 years...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 7:18 am 
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Joined: Mon May 29, 2006 6:29 am
Posts: 134
Location: IN, USA
I think it's great to bring old historical buildings up to date, even if the cost is somewhat more. Here in the US we don't really have any buildings from the 1700s, but I know people who own houses that are 100 years old, and they are quite a bit of work to maintain. And as long as you are going to renovate, you might as well plan for the future.

That is an impressive loan. The estimates I've seen for adding renewable power to an individual home (solar, wind) suggests cost that would take about that long (20 years) to re-coup. Assuming you have a good site and are eligible for government subsidies!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 11:54 am 
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Posts: 2131
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
Avalanche wrote:
I think it's great to bring old historical buildings up to date, even if the cost is somewhat more. Here in the US we don't really have any buildings from the 1700s, but I know people who own houses that are 100 years old, and they are quite a bit of work to maintain. And as long as you are going to renovate, you might as well plan for the future.


Not in Indiana you don't. Talk to Neil, I'm sure some building out his way can get pretty old. I know my company owns a building in Clinton, Mass that was originally constructed in the mid-1700s, but has been slowly built onto over time. Lot's of old paper/fabric mills in New England date back farther than you'd think.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:00 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 24, 2006 11:52 am
Posts: 307
Location: (near) Berlin, Germany
Avalanche wrote:
That is an impressive loan. The estimates I've seen for adding renewable power to an individual home (solar, wind) suggests cost that would take about that long (20 years) to re-coup. Assuming you have a good site and are eligible for government subsidies!


Here in Germany, we have federal law committing the power companies to buy the electricity you generate. So in my friend's case, the photovoltaic installation in itself pays off in a mere seven to nine years. Of course, this applies only when your solar installation is pointing in the right direction at the right angle. He was lucky, his roof's normal points in the right direction, only a few degrees off the optimum.

The loans you get at this amazing interests here are bound to everything relevant energy-wise. So, only insulation, renewable energies and efficiency increases are promoted by these special loans.

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