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Questions tagged [energy]

the sustainable use of energy, through efficiency and renewables. Use this tag for questions on energy in general. For questions on a specific energy type see [electricity], [heating] or [light]. For questions specificially about efficiency, use [energy-efficiency]

62
votes
10answers
12k views

What is an energy efficient way to get fresh air indoors during winter?

Letting some fresh air inside is always a good idea, but during the winter it seems a bit wasteful to fling open the window and let the fresh air in at the expense of all that hot air going out, and ...
49
votes
9answers
2k views

How can I be more energy efficient in an apartment?

Usually when I see lists of things to do to be more energy efficient, they require one to own their own home. What can I do to be more energy efficient in an apartment? For example, I can't install ...
42
votes
6answers
821 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 ...
34
votes
2answers
552 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 ...
30
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
29
votes
7answers
18k views

What to do with old, unused incandescent light bulbs

Over the years, my family has built up a small stockpile of incandescent light bulbs. More recently, we have been replacing our incandescent lights with more energy-efficient alternatives. ...
28
votes
4answers
133k views

Which type of portable electric heater is better?

When one is buying a portable electric heater, there are at least three different types available: Radiative halogen heaters Fan heaters Oil-filled radiators and similar Images of examples of each ...
25
votes
4answers
7k views

Is there a difference in insulation to keep heat in or out?

I know that one of the best ways to save energy at home is insulation. The question is, is there a different method for keeping the heat in when it's cold and keeping the heat out when it's warm? I ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Does a dishwasher save water in the long term?

I've been considering a dishwasher, but there are a range of different opinions on if they save water (or even energy) or not. Do we have any sources one way or the other?
22
votes
4answers
771 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 ...
22
votes
2answers
168 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% ...
21
votes
4answers
137k views

Leaving the oven door open for heat - bad idea?

I've heard before that it's a bad idea to use an oven to heat your house, because it's inefficient and carries the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. But what about leaving the oven door open after I'...
21
votes
3answers
3k 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 "...
19
votes
2answers
3k views

Meat or fish, which requires more energy to produce?

In general it is assumed that the energy that is required to produce a certain type of food is a good surrogate for the total environmental burden of food products. I scanned some studies to compare ...
19
votes
1answer
2k views

What's the typical energy usage of automatic light switches?

A good way to cope with forgetting to turn of the lights is automatic light switches. But they must be using some energy to do their job. What's the rate of energy use for a typical automatic/sensor ...
18
votes
3answers
7k views

Storing food without refrigerator during the winter

I am unplugging my refrigerator for the winter months, I live in the northern United States so the temperature is sub freezing most of the time during winter. I have a semi-insulated garage that is ...
17
votes
5answers
784 views

What is worse: Wasting water or energy?

I am currently trying to buy a dish washer and just got a washing machine lately and I am really confused whether it is better to buy a machine which uses less water or one which uses less energy. ...
17
votes
1answer
144 views

Long-term sustainability concerns of compact flourescent vs incandescent light bulbs

There is a strong movement to push people away from using incandescent lightbulbs in favor of compact flourescent bulbs in order to save energy, but the pollution profiles of these bulbs are very ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How can I get my landlord to install better insulation?

We live in an apartment that has a lot of gaps in the doors and windows and poor insulation in the walls. Is there a way to make the landlord fix this? Some sort of property codes or something? He ...
15
votes
3answers
211 views

How can I determine whether roof top wind turbines would be beneficial in my area?

Rooftop wind turbines seem great in principle, but in practice, especially in urban areas their usefulness and efficiency is debated, such as in this article. The most general consensus seems to be ...
15
votes
3answers
330 views

Best way to dry hands

In our office toilets at work we have paper towels and a hand dryer. Is it better for the environment to use the towels or the dryer?
15
votes
1answer
139 views

Does transporting plastic offset the benefits of recycling it?

Apparently China has been processing about half the world's waste until this year, and most of that waste is transported over the ocean in large container ships. Recycling plastic uses less energy and ...
13
votes
2answers
464 views

Tea in the microwave

I occasionally need exactly a cup of water boiled for tea. Whenever I boil the kettle to do so, I wonder if it would be more energy efficient to use the microwave, as then I would have exactly the ...
12
votes
4answers
1k views

What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

Which method of brewing coffee is the most sustainable? The criteria being: minimal waste, minimal energy (no matter where it's produced) I guess for the optimal solution it would be necessary to......
12
votes
4answers
301 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-...
12
votes
5answers
387 views

Lowering the heating thermostat at night: is it really worth it?

I've heard some very conflicting information regarding the effect of lowering the house heating thermostat at night. On one hand there are academic papers (such as Thermostat strategies impact on ...
12
votes
3answers
500 views

Cost-effective alternative to rechargeable batteries?

Batteries are known to be the most unsustainable and expensive part of system exploiting renewable energy. So I am wondering, are there any alternatives to storing energy in batteries? Here I am ...
12
votes
1answer
178 views

What is the least environmentally damaging way to start a fire?

I'm used to burning matches to ignite my incense. What is the least environmentally damaging way to start a fire ? to use matches or a lighter ? something else ? Of course a lighter would use ...
12
votes
3answers
1k views

Is leaving the fridge door open for, say, 10 seconds a “big deal”?

To use an example, say I need to take out a carton of milk from the fridge, add some milk to my tea, then put the carton of milk back. There are two methods: Method A: Open fridge door. Take out ...
11
votes
3answers
211 views

Are there projects that use renewable energy sources to create renewable energy sources?

I recently fantasized about a project that starts from a small solar furnace (small, but can melt steel), and a small solar farm (that control the electronics). Then all the energy is used to build ...
11
votes
1answer
1k 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 ...
11
votes
2answers
567 views

Are tracking mounts cost-effective for home photovoltaic systems?

Solar PV panels are clearly more efficient at converting sunlight to electricity if they are mounted on racks that rotate to track the sun's apparent travel across the sky. However, tracking mounts ...
11
votes
2answers
201 views

Should I replace existing inefficient light bulbs?

Similar to this question (except that's about cars), if I can buy more efficient light bulbs than the ones I'm using right now, should I? Or is it better to wait until my current light bulbs expire, ...
11
votes
1answer
141 views

Independent retirement vs moving in with the kids

Living in Indonesia at the moment and under long-term discussions regarding whether to move back to the US. One issue is retirement and one aspect of that is sustainability. In Indonesia, multi-...
11
votes
1answer
637 views

Reducing the setpoint by 1 degree C will save 7% energy: what's the origin of that claim?

I often hear a claim saying that reducing the thermostat's setpoint by one degree C will reduce the overall yearly energy consumption by 7%. I've heard heating control manufacturers, energy ...
10
votes
4answers
272 views

How much wood can I burn sustainably, carbon neutral and in an ecologically responsible way from a forest?

While wood can - in theory - be a carbon neutral fuel, in practice burning wood creates a huge carbon debt and it may take a long time for all the carbon released by logging, soil degradation and so ...
10
votes
2answers
2k 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, ...
10
votes
1answer
731 views

Is opening windows wide or opening them slightly more efficient for exchanging air in a room on a cold day?

For those who wish to replace the air in a room during a cold day with active heating: Given that the purpose of opening the windows is to exchange as much of the air in the room as possible with the ...
10
votes
1answer
137 views

Is building vertically instead of horizontally in climate with large seasonal temperature changes more sustainable?

My main line of thinking would be that you would build tall skinny housing that would allow the heat to gather in the upper levels in the winter and the cooler air would gather in the basement/lowest ...
9
votes
4answers
169 views

Retrofitting insulation in a 4-storey home. Top down or bottom up?

I'm faced with the prospect of wanting to improve the insulation of a 4-storey Victorian (c1890) house in the UK that has solid stone walls and a top floor that is within the non-insulated roof space. ...
9
votes
6answers
399 views

How can I use my own body as an energy source for greater environmental sustainability?

I've had the epiphany that my body is a living vessel of energy production (and consumption), just like all other energy sources and associated forms of consumption or re-allocation around me. My ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Is gasoline or Diesel refining less sustainable, per energy output?

Inspired by my own answer here, I'm wondering what the actual numbers are regarding gasoline and Diesel fuel refining. I have read (don't remember where) that refining of Diesel fuel is less ...
8
votes
3answers
149 views

Is pellet fuel a sustainable energy source in the way it's used now?

Pellet fuel is considered a sustainable energy source. But the way it's used now seems to produce air pollution which I think should not happen in case of sustainable energy source. So is pellet ...
8
votes
1answer
191 views

Laptop nights: shutdown or sleep?

Assuming I use it all day long, should I shutdown my (recent) laptop every night and power it up every morning, or just let it sleep by closing it?
8
votes
1answer
70 views

What should I do with coal that I have been given?

My wife and I recently moved from London to a lovely old cottage in the countryside with electricity, no gas and a wood-burning stove. We are incrementally improving insulation to make the house more ...
8
votes
2answers
214 views

How is per capita energy consumption related to increasing per capita wealth?

Has there been any global calculation of average increase in consumption of energy per increase of wealth per person? Has there been any such calculations/analyses. And could you perhaps tell us ...
8
votes
2answers
154 views

Would you save energy by heating the air in a shower stall so that you could use colder water?

It is refreshing to take a cool shower in hot weather. And for the sake of discussion, lets assume that one should be "comfortable" with temeratures when taking a shower. Considering that the vast ...
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Gas/cooling strategies for reducing fuel consumption while driving: air conditioner vs windows

Looking at gas milage and air conditioner use, it seems to me I get a significantly better gas milage when I don't use the air conditioner. However, if I roll down the windows, I assume this ...
7
votes
3answers
3k views

Why the world is using non renewable resources?

According to Wiki, A renewable resource is an organic natural resource which can replenish to overcome usage and consumption, either through biological reproduction or other naturally recurring ...
7
votes
2answers
266 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 ...