Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This is going to hurt just a little

GE announced yesterday it is working on home plans for building or retrofitting homes to be net users of zero electricity. The company hopes to debut the plans by 2015.

The keys to making this work are more efficient energy-using products, management of how much energy the home uses, generation of electricity and storage of that energy. Makes sense – light bulbs and appliances that use stingy amounts of power, solar and wind generation on site and making decisions to not use power.

Wait. GE, and others promoting some smart-grid proposals, think an informed consumer will make a conscious decision to cut back on energy use if they just understand how much they are currently using. Are we talking about American consumers?

According to GE, residential housing uses 37 percent of the electricity generated in the U.S. Of that usage, appliances, lighting and heating and cooling account for 82 percent.

We already know turning off the blow dryer will cut energy consumption and so will keeping the thermostat set higher during the summer and lower in winter. Has that really changed a lot of lifestyles?

The nifty highly efficient water heaters GE is dreaming up and residential solar and wind sound good, except for the neighbors who will complain about the looks. But it will be really hard for a lot of people to quit being energy hogs.

No comments: