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Questions tagged [electricity]

Questions concerning the production or use of electricity in a sustainable way.

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41 votes
6 answers
989 views

Producing my own energy options in urban area with windows but no roof access?

I'm wanting to produce my own energy, but I live in a condo with no access to the roof. I'd like to produce electricity, so maybe turning that energy into electricity safely. I have windows that have ...
EhevuTov's user avatar
  • 611
35 votes
3 answers
4k views

Are electric cars as environmentally friendly as we think they are?

Given the fact that the average lifetime for a car battery is 3 years and all of the batteries end up at a landfill at the end of their lifetime, how sustainable are electric cars in providing a ...
ZZZ's user avatar
  • 701
34 votes
2 answers
890 views

What’s the best strategy for turning off CFLs that will save energy but not reduce lifespan so much

With ordinary bulbs, I was used to turning the lights off even when I left the room for a few minutes (mostly because I know that I'll find other business and forget to return :-) ), but I've heard ...
Pavel's user avatar
  • 993
33 votes
3 answers
3k views

Which solar power technology has the highest energy return on investment (EROI aka EROEI)?

Which solar-electric technology had the highest EROEI? Energy Returned On (Energy) Invested, also known as EROI and as EROEI, has become something of a fashionable metric *but see footnote. It is ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 14.7k
27 votes
5 answers
19k views

What types of plugged in electronics use energy even when turned off?

I just need some convincing before I start unplugging everything. I kind of assumed that USB type computer, phone, or printer chargers would use electricity. And obviously my computer, sound system, ...
Enjabain's user avatar
  • 957
26 votes
10 answers
902 views

How can I manage my fridge's contents better?

Sadly, about 30-50% of the Western world's food is thrown away. Personally, I waste about half of my food, due to poor fridge management. I forget what I have bought and find expired food located in ...
Gruber's user avatar
  • 531
26 votes
5 answers
1k views

What form of electrical lighting has the smallest energy-footprint?

We all know that when it comes to household electrical lighting, LED lights consume the least amount of energy for a given amount of light, followed by fluorescent tubes, halogens, and Edison-age ...
Rody Oldenhuis's user avatar
23 votes
2 answers
240 views

Do "100% renewable" electricity plans increase renewable electricity production?

In the advertising for this year's earth hour in Sydney, Australia, it encourages people to switch from conventional electricity to renewable energy. A number of electricity providers offer "100% ...
Golden Cuy's user avatar
21 votes
4 answers
7k views

Do USB outlets waste energy just like conventional wall warts?

It is widely known that most AC-DC converters (aka "wall warts") continually use electricity, even when no devices are plugged in to them. That wasted energy is often called "phantom electricity" or "...
End Antisemitic Hate's user avatar
20 votes
10 answers
2k views

What is an easy way to cool off during the summer without electricity?

What are some easy ways to stay cool during the day without using electricity?
Gabriel Fair's user avatar
20 votes
2 answers
900 views

Should I keep laptop and cellphone batteries fully charged, let them die before charging, or something in between?

Generally, is it better to let laptop and cellphone batteries fully die before recharging, to leave them plugged in constantly even when charged and not in use, or to unplug them once they are fully ...
Enjabain's user avatar
  • 957
17 votes
3 answers
7k views

Would monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels perform best in a UK climate?

If I were to get solar panels installed on the roof of my home, in the UK, what type should I choose? There appear to be three main types, and at present the choice appears to be between the ...
berry120's user avatar
  • 1,005
16 votes
4 answers
56k views

How much power does a computer monitor left switched on use?

It's a little niggling annoyance that always gets me in my office that when I work overtime and leave the office after everyone else I see row upon row of little orange lights where people have turned ...
Jimmy's user avatar
  • 161
16 votes
3 answers
5k views

What's the average efficiency of pumped hydroelectric energy storage facilities?

Pumped hydroelectric storage has, to date, been the most scalable way to store electricity (in this case, in the form of gravitational potential energy), allowing us to spread the time between when ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 14.7k
14 votes
5 answers
6k views

For electricity use, which is better: Turning all appliances on at the same time, or spread out?

In the 1980's, a company I worked at owned a stand-alone building, and they were concerned about their electricity bill. It seemed to be higher than it should be. A manager called the electrical ...
4dcndn's user avatar
  • 293
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

How much energy does it take to create a single light bulb?

This question is a part of this question. Perhaps it is better suited on the physics SE, but here goes. I would like to know how much energy it takes, in the modern world, to construct an ordinary, ...
Rody Oldenhuis's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
3k views

Are there any viable DIY or commercial solutions to convert waste heat to electricity?

Apparantly there are some advances in converting heat to electricity such as here or here. But are there any commercial solutions/devices/DIY projects or is this at the moment (as stated in the ...
nairboon's user avatar
  • 492
12 votes
4 answers
339 views

Water heating / electricity production by using earth's warmth?

I'm very curious, why hasn't anyone done this? In most places on earth, the temperature gets 25 degrees higher (celsius) for every kilometer in depth. How hard would it be to drill 4-5km, put a U-...
zrgiu's user avatar
  • 223
12 votes
1 answer
7k views

Which types of spare electric motors from common consumer appliances are suitable to repurpose as generators?

I've heard that washing machine motors (in particular, the Fisher & Paykel branded ones which are local to me in New Zealand) are quite suitable for repurposing for generation use. Other types ...
Highly Irregular's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
4k views

Do switchable sockets left "on" use electricity if there's nothing plugged in?

My flat is fitted with switchable sockets as per below: Please settle an argument a friend and I are having: if a socket is switched "on", is it wasting electricity if nothing is actually plugged ...
aendra's user avatar
  • 213
10 votes
3 answers
267 views

How worthwhile is it to use energy during daylight to take advantage of grid-based solar power?

Common sense is telling me to try to do things like vacuuming, laundry and cooking at times of maximal sunlight during the day so that more of the electricity I use comes from solar power generators ...
eug's user avatar
  • 201
10 votes
4 answers
326 views

Why are electrical cars encouraged but is electrical heating discouraged?

Electrical cars are very much promoted for a sustainable future, because they do not rely (directly) on fossil fuels. In the meantime, most of the electricity is produced with fossil fuels, such that ...
BNJMNDDNN's user avatar
  • 203
9 votes
2 answers
534 views

Does it make any difference to charge my electronic devices using an USB port?

I work with a computer and I was wondering if using its USB ports to charge the devices that I use the most (mostly my phone and my e-reader) while working as opposed to charging them using a normal ...
S -'s user avatar
  • 1,512
9 votes
2 answers
154 views

How can electricity grids successfully incorporate high (50%+) penetrations of PV and wind?

Although most of the renewable energy currently consumed by the world can be turned on and off at will pretty easily (hydro and biomass), there are two potentially huge supplies, wind and PV, that are ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 14.7k
9 votes
2 answers
4k views

How can I figure out what's using so much electricity in my home?

I recently moved into a new home with 2 other housemates and our combined bill for electricity is far higher than I expected. We're using just over 40 kWh per day, on average. When I lived alone, my ...
Nic's user avatar
  • 2,899
8 votes
1 answer
417 views

Transmit solar over multiple time-zones?

I heard that at big voltages (10 000+V) the energy loss along a wire is very small. Unfortunately I've got little electrical knowledge, but this sparked up a question: Considering that peak ...
Sustainable Programmer's user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Washing on delicate or permanent press...is this more sustainable and also gets your clothes clean?

Is it more sustainable to do your wash using the delicate or permanent press modes? I can tell from observing the different kind of washes is that the machine spins less and spins more gently. If so, ...
milesmeow's user avatar
  • 579
8 votes
3 answers
172 views

How the grid is managed in markets with high renewable energy penetration

As many people know, many of the renewable energy technologies generate fluctuating power dependent on availability of the power generating source e.g. wind and solar et al. Balancing power must be ...
stardust's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

What are the physical limits on wind turbine size?

Wind turbines just seem to keep growing. Predictions a few years ago that a 120-metre diameter rotor was going to be the maximum, have turned out to be wrong, and 154-metre rotors are being installed ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 14.7k
7 votes
2 answers
451 views

Anything similar to GravityLight that can be readily purchased?

Ever since it was first mentioned in a popular news site, I've always been interested in GravityLight. But I've never been able to go to a store or a site and just buy it. Is there anything vaguely ...
rbhat's user avatar
  • 361
7 votes
1 answer
718 views

How much energy do wall outlets with USB waste when not actively charging?

In new buildings and homes I've noticed wall outlets with USB chargers popping up more and more: Answers at another question indicate that these outlets waste energy just like traditional chargers ("...
LShaver's user avatar
  • 11.9k
7 votes
2 answers
140 views

How would one go about judging the sustainability of BitCoin or other cryptocurrency

I know BitCoin uses a lot of electricity for its mining, but how is this comparable to the banking system? Also, other cryptocurrencies, like PeerCoin, claim to be more environmentally friendly by ...
Alex's user avatar
  • 779
7 votes
1 answer
317 views

What is the number 1 country by global installed wind capacity: the United States or China?

In the following graph: We see that China surpassed every single country in wind energy production, except the United States. But these statistics are up to 2009 only. So my question is: what about ...
user50746's user avatar
  • 261
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Can I connect an inverter directly after an MPPT controller, with no battery?

Is it possible to connect a 12VDC to 220VAC inverter to the output of an MPPT solar charge controller, with no battery? This will be cheaper than having a full solar inverter, which can be really ...
Zizo's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes
1 answer
243 views

How efficient is it to use an electric car as storage for the energetic overload generated during sun hours (peaks) by solar panels?

I guess that the question is quite self-explanatory. I am hoping to invest in a solar panel soon, but I am a little worried about it getting inefficient once government subsidies run out and the ...
T-Saurus's user avatar
  • 133
7 votes
1 answer
173 views

Have spray-on solar cells hit the market yet? What other lightweight cell can I use for unusual shapes?

I read in a couple of places that researchers at Sheffield University have made spray-on perovskite cells at efficiencies of 11%. I was interested in this because it is lightweight and could fit more ...
Keychain1's user avatar
  • 171
7 votes
3 answers
3k views

What Makes an Oven Eco-Friendly?

I am currently in the market for ovens and I wanted to know what makes on oven eco-friendly, whether it's electric or steam, without compromising reliability. I want a oven that not only benefits me ...
The Man's user avatar
  • 71
7 votes
1 answer
99 views

What scope is there for price reductions in photovoltaic inverter costs?

In almost all of the world (except the USA, which has specific local cost challenges), system photovoltaic (PV) costs have come down a lot, to about €2 per installed watt. A large part of the ...
410 gone's user avatar
  • 14.7k
7 votes
2 answers
275 views

Is there a portable water recycling unit?

Is there a portable water recycling unit that one could install in their studio apartment to recycle grey water ? Or which is the smallest grey water recycling unit ? And can't someone just pass the ...
Ayan Mullick's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
69k views

How many kilowatt hours of electricity does it take to heat 180 litres of water from 15 to 60 degrees C?

I think this calculation uses the specific heat capacity for water, which is from memory a bit over 4. Can someone please do the math? Also, if we assume electricity costs $0.30 per kilowatt hour, ...
Highly Irregular's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

How to save heating energy with roommates?

I live with roommates, and am only a renter not owner. I'm looking for ways to help with energy conservation despite this. We have one roommate who is wasteful about leaving lights on and, in ...
dsollen's user avatar
  • 723
6 votes
2 answers
522 views

How to monitor energy use in existing office building without submetering?

Our office occupies one floor of a 4-story, one hundred year old building. We are making tenant-level improvements to our space, and are interested in lowering and monitoring our energy use, but are ...
megankoehler's user avatar
6 votes
2 answers
121 views

How to ensure you are using efficient chargers for cell phones, laptop computers, and other electronic devices?

I recently asked a question regarding a sustainable way to generate white noise. I received a wonderfully helpful comment from Móż (thank you!) in which Móż recommended ensuring that the power source ...
End Antisemitic Hate's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
309 views

Can 140 square miles of solar panels power the US?

In the book The Upcycle (copyright 2013) by William McDonough and Michael Braungart, the authors make the following claim: ... consider exactly how much desert area covered in solar collectors ...
LShaver's user avatar
  • 11.9k
6 votes
2 answers
107 views

The more miles a car drives, the more economical battery packs become?

I was reading here: Here’s How Electric Cars Will Cause the Next Oil Crisis, that the more miles an EV drives, the more economical battery packs become. I don't understand this assertion. I see ...
balborian's user avatar
  • 163
6 votes
1 answer
265 views

Is Tesla Powerwall a good investment?

I'm trying to determine if investing in a couple of Tesla Powerwall units to store solar energy is a wise financial decision. My energy cost is $0.1649/kWh. The installed price of the two Powerwall ...
nelsonic's user avatar
  • 259
6 votes
3 answers
219 views

Which energy sources will replace fossil fuels for heating homes in cold climates?

Many countries are looking to phase out fossil fuels for domestic heat and hot water within this decade (see related question). Which alternative energy sources will primarily replace fossil fuels? ...
sba222's user avatar
  • 383
6 votes
1 answer
87 views

Size and reliability of inverter for refrigerator in an off-grid tiny home

I am building an 'Off Grid' tiny home, with my primary energy supply from solar + battery storage. I intend to utilise low voltage everything possible with the exception of a standard home washing ...
zxspectrum's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
201 views

Energy requirements for sustainable food production system

Overview Consider the following system for sustainable food production: The purpose of this system is to provide an environmentally-friendly, semi- (or fully-) automated means to produce food for ...
Dave Jarvis's user avatar
6 votes
1 answer
83 views

How to interpret the efficiency of ground-source heat pumps?

This page at energy.gov says the following about geothermal (or ground-source) heat pumps. Geothermal heat pumps (GHPs), sometimes referred to as GeoExchange, earth-coupled, ground- source, or ...
mac01021's user avatar
  • 163