Monday, September 04, 2006

Save Energy by moving to Low Voltage Living

Recent time on holiday has been a time to ponder things which usually tumble off the bottom of the to-do list. The first is that of why we need 120 or 240V mains electricity supplies- or specifically whether it is cost effective to transform the voltage down at each of many points of use.

I know that it took us a while to settle to the 120 or 240AC voltage standard, but as I sit here looking across the ClickOffice, I can see several dozen power outlets connected to desktops, laptops, mobile phone chargers, printers, lamps, scanners etc. Without exception, they all need less than a tenth of the sort of power the UK ring main is designed to deliver. Sure, things like electric ovens and washing machines need more- but we have nothing like that in the office. Therefore you have umpteen inefficient transformers producing heat as a by-product of their operation.

I know that changing the power configuration to the wall would be a mammoth commitment, but surely as a developed world we are, or should be, heading in the direction of challenging some deep seated assumptions. Surely it could be worth it on new developments where lifetime costs can be factored in?

What about other options? All our VoIP phones use power over ethernet (POE) with CAT5e cabling. Could more appliances piggyback that? How about daisy chaining desktop power usage off USBs? More than half our lighting is of the 12V halogen variety. Could we use that exclusively?

Lying on the beach on holiday, I just felt this was a little discussed arena in this time of deep concern for energy consumption.

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1 comment:

Wossername said...

I like your thinking, I don't pretend to understand it, but I like it!