Posted by N9WOS on April 8, 2005, 5:27 pm
Posted by Glenn Martin on April 7, 2005, 1:00 pm
OK. I've pieced my way through your post and a number of things aren't
The example of 'conservation' you gave (replacing a recently purchased
light bulb before its broken or worn out) is actually an example of waste.
I think that we can agree that not conserving things is not conservation.
The examples you sited were actually examples of beauraucratic nonsense
which always waste time, energy and money.
Your contention that conservation doesn't help regarding energy demand is
also confusing. Surely reducing energy use will reduce demand. I grant
you, it will only reduce the increase in energy demand over time but this
will allow many power authorities to delay building new, less-efficient
power plants for a number of years. When a plant has a lifespan of 50 years
or more, getting locked into more wasteful technology now makes little sense
when a delay of even ten years can realise savings in both energy and money.
By the end of this decade, China expects to be in production of 'pebble-bed'
nuclear reactors which have many benefits...
-No-one can figure out how to make them melt down, even with the cooling
system turned off.
-They deliver 30% more "push" at the turbine which means 30% more power
out of the same amount of fuel because they use helium instead of water.
-They have less 'plumbing' in their design and the helium doesn't carry
radioactivity into it the way water does (nor does it corrode it the way
water does) which means less radioactive waste to be disposed of.
-They're smaller than regular piles and more of them are required for a
given level of power production but this means they can be mass-produced
unlike regular reactors which have to be built on site. This will actually
make them the cheaper option and they'll actually have a smaller footprint
and less infrastructure than regular water-cooled reactors.
Delaying a few years can make a huge difference.
The last point I want to make is that the equating of energy and money is
an iffy proposition for analysis purposes. A barrel of oil can rise from
40$ to 50$ in a month but it won't have %25 more energy in it. Gas is
consistently two times or more the cost it is in the US but it's no more
powerful. When the new Volkswagen Beetle came on the market it ended up
selling for twice as much as designed because of huge consumer demand. It
cost no more in terms of energy or money to get it to the showroom floor.
I've read claims that market forces can be factored out to allow
equivalency of gass and dollars but I've yet to see evidence that this has
been done or even can be done.
In conclusion, though I'd like to thank you for bringing this topic up as
it's one I'm very much interested in. Please continue to post.
... a lot of stuff
Posted by N9WOS on April 7, 2005, 4:16 pm
The best conservation is conservation that doesn't cost a penny.
Like shutting off the lights when no ones there.
Like not running the engine of the car for hours while sitting in a parking
But spending large sums of money chasseing after fractional amounts is
actually wasting energy.
Because the energy that your money releases into the environment is far more
than the energy you saved.
(Cha...ching!!!!!!!!!!!) You get it!!
That applies to almost every product.
Waiting for a better product to come along, instead of uselessly replacing ,
or building stuff now, is and easy form of conservation.
You don't get the point.
The energy that is actually IN the product, does not equate to the total
amount of energy that is released to the atmosphere in the production of
that product. If they charge and extra $0 a barrel, do you think they are
just going to sit on that $0 for eternity. No, they are going to spend it.
What are they going to spend it on, cars, radios, guns, houses,... On and
on... All of those take energy. So when the price of a barrel of oil goes
up, the environmental impact will also rise.
But the companies that is in the production line get a lot more money. That
money goes to the shareholders, and is eventually spent on more energy using
products. So the environmental impact has actually gone up.
Yes it did.
The show room floors didn't have to sell as many cars that month to stay in
business. So the environmental load of running the car dealership was placed
on fewer cars. Those being beetles, so they had an increased environmental
impact. Or they spent the extra money on improvements to the dealership, or
bought a fancy sports car to drive around in. So in the end, the added
demand and price did increase the environmental impact that selling the cars
The reason you think that, is you keep thinking the money is going to
something that doesn't require more energy. But you are forgetting that the
money always ends up going back to something that requires energy. Give a
child $0 and you could say that it didn't have an environmental impact. But
it does. That child will end up buying a stuff toy that requires lots of
energy to make.
That is what I like to do, make people think. :-)
Posted by Glenn Martin on April 8, 2005, 3:53 am
This doesn't actually disagree with my post. I was merely pointing out that
the example the first poster used of 'conservation' was, in fact, "chucking
out perfectly good stuff" or "waste". This is the very opposite of
conservation and so shouldn't be used as an example of conservation.
The only energy my m,oney releases to the environment is either my body heat
which is released anyway or energy upon combustion. Since all old, tattered
bills are burnt anyway, this makes no difference.
On the other hand, there's always better stuff coming down the pipe in most
technologies. If I waited for the best computer technology, I'd never own
The only problem with this is that when gas and oil prices go up, the
economy actually slows down resulting in less purchasing and manufacturing
and thus less energy expenditure. If you can point me toward a study or
essay that confirms your conclusion, please do so.
But if I follow this argument to its' logical conclusion, because gas
costs twice as much in Europe it has twice the environmental impact despite
the fact Europeans drive less and generally use smaller, more
energy-efficient cars. I contend that the PRICEONOMIC ACTIVITY=ENERGY
USAGE formula is a lot more limited in its' usefulness than you think.
Only if the money was spent as you say rather than being banked and
provided that money had the environmental effect you say it did. Frankly I
find that a pretty shaky assumption.
Or he'll buy something that requires much less energy to make or he'll
save it to buy the latest fad doll which has doubled in price due to demand
but took just as much energy to make or buy something that's completely
recyclable . All these are possibilities with very different environmental
impacts. It's not a very good fit this energy equals money thing.
Posted by N9WOS on April 8, 2005, 5:27 am
> On the other hand, there's always better stuff coming down the pipe in
The main point is to know when to upgrade.
Do it when the technology has just made a large advance to the point that
the foreseeable coming equipment will just be a marginal improvement,
and/or, the existing equipment needs replace anyway.
That is what, true, unadulterated, conservation looks like.
People consuming less energy and products to survive.
True conservation, and economic growth, are fundamentally at odds.
It gets me when an organization is pushing a "conserving" product, and they
say, "Every dollar you save, will put 3 dollars into the economy"
What????????? How can something that reduces the amount of money spend on an
item, increase the money in the economy??????????? There is something
fundamentally wrong with that statement. If you don't have to spend as much
on energy, then you will put less money into the economy, because you won't
have to spend it.
I can't at this time, I'll have to look around.
But it is not a very big leap in logic.
If the consumers use half the oil at the elevated price, then the producer
gets the same amount of money to produce half the oil, so he will take the
rest of the money that is no longer needed for oil production and spend it
on other stuff. That stuff requires energy to make. Or if they buy the same
amount of oil, then the producer is getting twice the money, which he will
still spend on stuff that takes energy. Thus, either way, the total
environmental impact of each gallon of oil sold, is increased.
That is with conditions.
The conditions are that, the price of all other sources of energy remain the
same. (ie) oil goes up, but NG and coal does not. The person that gets twice
as much for his oil will still buy products that reflect the unchanged
prices of the other energy sources, so he can buy more, which increases the
environmental impact of people buying his oil.
If all of the energy prices go up because of an all around lack of supply,
then the environmental impact will not increase, because anything the oil
producer wants to buy will cost twice as much. So, in reality, when all
energy sources go up evenly, then the actual energy value of a dollar, is
reduced by the opposite amount. So, in the end, he can't buy anything more
than he could before.
It's a direct, and painful conclusion, but it's one I have already thought
about, and agree with. If, via taxes, and other government controls, you
double the price of gas. There is only one natural conclusion, when you by
that gallon of gas, half of the money is going to the government, or other
organization. The government will use that to buy equipment, and services.
That money will be supporting an organization that is consuming large
quantities of energy. When you buy that gallon of gas, you give them more
money to spend on products and energy. In total, when you buy a gallon of
gas, you also buy a gallon of gas for the government. So, the economic
impact of you buying that gallon of gas is doubled. The government may not
spend it on gas, but they will probably spend it on electric bills, or
products that support the organizations that the gas taxes prop up.
If the government can reduce gas usage by 50% with the tax that doubles the
price, you will end up with about the same amount of energy used if you
would of left the price alone, and let the people use twice as much.
Money doesn't just sit around in a bank.
If everyone went to get all their money out of a bank at once, the bank
couldn't come up with the money. The reason banks allow free checking, and
stuff, is because they used deposited money to loan to people, in an effort
to make more money. That money that is loaned to someone, it is used to buy
equipment and products that take energy. Products that they would not of
been able to buy before. So, if you put it in a bank, you are giving it to
someone else to spend. And the original owner of the money will not just let
it sit in his bank account forever. He will spend the money (that he wouldn't
of had without the inflated price) on a product that requires energy. Or
beneficiaries will spend it, after he dies.
But selling that doll will get the seller twice as much money, and that
extra money will buy the seller twice as much as it would of without the
inflated price, and twice as much stuff, equals twice as much energy used.
If he buys something recyclable, then he is still paying for the
environmental impact of the company producing that product, and if it's a
recycled product, then he is paying for the environmental impact of the
company recycling the product.
People keep telling themselves that, but it doesn't make it true.
Like you referring to putting it in a bank, or a recyclable product, or the
like, but that doesn't get around the fact that where ever you point, it
will always lead back to the energy source.
Money is the exact opposite of energy. Energy flows one way, money flows the
other way through the economy. You could basically say money is Antienergy.
It's value is the exact opposite of the sum of the energy in the system.
More energy feeding the system, the higher energy value that money has.
(ie)Energy is cheap so people waste it. It is given to a person in exchange
of services that took energy to perform. Like a person that trims trees. His
work may cost nothing in the way of produced energy, but the person that
trims trees, needs energy to stay alive. He needs energy to heat his house,
and power his car. And he gives that money to other people that use energy
to produce food, so he can eat. Basically, you are giving him a receipt to
get energy, so he can stay alive, to trim your trees. So him trimming your
trees has an environmental impact equal to the amount of money have to you
pay him to do so.