There’s an article in the NYTimes today about how folks are starting to figure out that low-hanging fruit of energy conservation comes from making existing technology more energy efficient – a strategy much more likely to pay large returns than a risky attempt to re-engineer the process from the ground up:
“WATERBURY, Vt. — Green Mountain Coffee Roasters makes a lot of money selling individual servings of ground coffee in white cups that are churned out by the millions from a hissing, clanking production line here. But it recently found a way to generate even greater profits from the operation that will require only a modest investment.
Spending $150 to $200 to install a more efficient blower to cool the laser that carves the date and batch number into each passing cup will cut Green Mountain’s annual electricity bill for each laser by about $200, says Paul Comey, its vice president for environmental affairs. That might not seem like much, except that the company has 40 such lasers, which it plans to upgrade this week.”
A small personal example? I spent part of Memorial Day taking apart the old dryer in our new home. It was taking up to 2 hours to dry a load of laundry. It occured to me that perhaps the exhaust vent for the dryer was getting or had gotten clogged with lint. After a half hour of disassembly it turns out that not only was the dryer clogged, I found the entire exhaust tube, almost all the way to the roof was stuffed with lint.
Cleared it all out, and now with the good dry desert air, and the newly efficient dryer, drying time is cut in half or better. That’s a 50-60% energy reduction at no cost than other than about an hour of my day off.
I’m saving money and the environment. Cool huh? Now I’m off to turn the air conditioner set point up a bit.