To Conserve Energy – Conserve Water

English: Energy flow charts show the relative ...
English: Energy flow charts show the relative size of primary energy resources and end uses in the United States, with fuels compared on a common energy unit basis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From ‘Forbes’ : So you got your new compact fluorescent lightbulbs. Now you’re wringing your hands over how to dispose of them so that you don’t unleash toxic mercury into the environment. An improvement? Or just another example of politicians and environmentalists trying to push us around?

Sure CFLs save electricity, but so do a lot of other efforts. In fact, in a new study (“Evaluating the energy consumed for water use in the United States“) University of Texas scientists Kelly Sanders and Michael Webber reveal the counterintuitive conclusion that water conservation could have an enormous impact on energy conservation.

Save water and you save energy. Here’s why.

The United States, uses 410 billion gallons of water every day, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Think of all the energy expended in pumping that water, treating it, spraying it on crops, heating it for your shower, making it into ice, Coca-Cola, paper, and on and on. These core uses (what they refer to as direct water and steam services in the commercial, residential, industrial and power sectors) eat up 12.3 quadrillion BTU per year. That’s 12.6% of primary energy use in the United States, or the equivalent energy consumption of 40 million Americans.

Add in indirect water use, such as steam generated in coal-fired power plants to spin turbines to make electricity, and you tack on another 34.1 quadrillion BTU.

Together, the amount of energy tied to water consumption totals just under half of all the energy this country uses. So the connection is clear: cut down on water use and you cut down on energy use.

Where to focus? Well the breakdown of who uses how much water in what ways is kind of surprising. Residential use was just 7.2% and commercial use is 3.4%. The researchers found that for residential users heating water (showers, clothes washers, cooking, hot tubs, etc) accounted for 75% of water-related energy use. But because the residential share of the pie is relatively small, what we as individuals do doesn’t matter that much in the scheme of things.

Much bigger impacts? Irrigation of crops and golf courses and other landscaping takes up 31.2% of water consumption. While the biggest user is power generation, with 49% of all water use.

Getting all that water to fields can be expensive. In California, for instance, the energy cost of piping water between basins amounts to roughly 13,000 kwh per million gallons.

And consider the electricity that needs to be generated to move and heat all that water. Based on the efficiency rates of industrial boilers and power plants, the researchers figured that 58% of the total primary energy consumed for water-related purposes is “rejected” or lost as waste heat. Indeed, on the tiny residential scale think about how much energy is wasted when you heat up a whole kettle of water to make just one cup of tea. Expand that idea to the industrial scale and it’s easy to see how much energy is wasted in our aqua-economy.


2012 : Green New Years resolutions

Energy Saving Trust Recommended logo
Image via Wikipedia

Here are some top tips from Nigel’s Eco Store on living more sustainably. In Shanghai, wife Anne and I do not own our car, we buy locally where we can,  and we recycle and re-use a carry bag when shopping. What are YOU going to do, to be more ‘green’ this year?!/LearnFromNature and

1. We do not have a car – and will buy a bicycle.

2. Wife and I buy local where possible; in China it’s difficult to guarantee to buy without airmiles or ‘organic’ 

3. Flights – we break this a lot, as we love to travel but then undertake walk where we can, to visit natural sites and carbon offset. 

4. We use carry bags, recycle at home and school – all Chinese are particularly good at this. Also we try NOT to buy lots of packaged goods in the first place. 

5. We ensure all technology is switched off properly!

According to the Energy Saving Trust, almost half of the UK’s carbon emissions come from the energy that we use every day – either at home and when we travel. If we’re going to stand any chance of reducing the country’s carbon footprint (and our own), we all need to change our habits (one of the hardest things to do?) and live a more sustainable and eco friendly life.

What better place to start than with some green new year resolutions.

A couple of years ago my new year green resolutions included not to take more than one flight a year, and only to buy eco friendly clothes. I got told off by some that even one flight a year was too much, but I did manage to stick to both of them. (I took a lot of trains, did a lot of walking and didn’t buy many new clothes!)

To help to bridge the gap between good intentions and reality I have come up with five green ideas for 2010 that will also either help to keep you fit or save you money, as well as saving the planet.

A staggering 70 per cent of all car trips are less than five miles – the ideal distance for a quick spin on the bike. So, leave the car at home and start walking or cycling. It’s eco friendly, sustainable and cheaper!. To help, we sell a variety of bike accessories including wind up bike lights and the fantastic cycloc bicycle storage system.

Say no to fast food and supermarkets and yes to organic and local produce.
The production of organic food causes much less environmental damage than conventional agriculture and also helps to reduce pollution by cutting down on food miles which contribute to climate change. One third of all household carbon emissions in the UK come from food miles, so cut back on your supermarket trips and keep it local.

All those cheap flights abroad might save us money, but they are costing the planet. Why not consider taking a break nearer home. Even the most environmentally friendly people can undo all their efforts by succumbing to cheap breaks abroad, especially long haul flights. The world’s 16,000 commercial jet aircrafts produce more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 every year, nearly as much as all the countries of Africa put together. (Source: Friends of the Earth)

New Year usually means out with the old and in with the new – but don’t be so hasty. Help stop the planet going to waste by recycling and reusing what you already have – one of the most eco friendly things you can do is look after what you already have.

Here are our top energy saving tips:

Only boil the water you need for one cup of tea or coffee, rather than half a kettle full, and save cash with each cup. An eco friendly kettle can help.

Cook with the lid on your saucepans. This way you’ll save energy and money with every meal you make.

Switch to energy-saving light bulbs. They may cost a little more, but can save up to 10 times the price over their lifetime and use at least two-thirds of the energy of standard ‘incadescent’ bulbs.

Never leave anything on standby. Switch off PCs and TVs when not in use. And unplug your mobile phone charger when you’re not using it. Leaving appliances on standby wastes at least 6% of domestic electricity use in the UK.

When your next appliance breaks down, if you cannot get it repaired make sure you buy an energy efficient replacement. Also take a look at your energy supplier – there are some great deals around for switching to a supplier that uses energy from renewable sources.

Links :!/NigelsEcoStore &

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