The biggest energy hog in your house is probably sitting right under your TV. That little ol’ set-top box could be using up more electricity in your house than your refrigerator or central air conditioning, according to a new study by the Natural Resources Defense Council.
Despite the record-breaking heat in some parts of the country, total U.S. energy consumption this summer has actually fallen compared to 2009, and peak demand levels–when electricity consumption is at its highest–have dropped as well.
We’re not always pessimists on Consumerist. Why, sometimes we actually like silver linings, if only because it gives us a chance to complain about argyria. (Don’t take colloidal silver, people!) Today’s silver lining is that sales of bottled water “have fallen for the first time in at least five years,” says the Los Angeles Times. We’re apparently showing common sense and opting for tap water over branded and labeled water, proving that in a tough economy it’s hard to compete with (nearly) free.
It’s hard to think of an object that isn’t made of wood or packaged or encounters wood at some point in its journey through the economy. Any number of household items that you can buy at Walmart, like a toilet seat for instance, may very well be made from Russian wood.
Towns are discovering an unexpected side-effect of telling everyone to save save save water: lower water bills are resulting in a municipal income shortfall. [Toronto Star]
In New York, residents can choose to buy their energy from competing energy supply companies, or ESCOs. The idea is you can end up saving money by choosing from a field of competitors. In reality, says the New York Times, your energy bills frequently increase, and when you try to switch again you might be charged a contract termination fee.
California utilities may soon unveil new conservation campaigns thanks to an innovative plan unveiled last week by regulators. Under the plan, the Public Utilities Commission will set three-year efficiency targets. Utilities that meet at least 85% of the targets stand to collect rewards of up to $323 million. Utilities that fail to meet 65% of the targets could face penalties worth $500 million.
The PUC forecasts that the program would result in $2.4 billion in energy savings before 2008 and would cut about 3.4 million tons of carbon dioxide from California’s air.
Sure, the Kill-a-Watt power meter is great for helping you measure just how many little lightning bolts your appliances are eating every day (confession: we don’t really know how electricity works), but the new Energy Joule network monitor provides an entirely different level of feedback, so that you can throttle your consumption at times when energy is most expensive.
A common trick for people concerned about water use is to put a brick in the toilet tank. However, some Public Works departments would prefer you fill a plastic bottle with sand or rocks and put that in the tank instead. They say that bricks can disintegrate and damage plumbing.