Home Energy Hogs: Clothes Dryers In The US And Tea Kettles In The UK. Tea Kettles?

The 4%'rs:  Tea Kettle vs Clothes DryerIt seems people in the UK love their tea the way we love our dry clothes. According to an article in the Guardian Sustainable Business Blog, the Brits are loving their tea so much that it’s accounting for 4% of UK household carbon emissions. The 4% is familiar because it matches how much electricity is consumed by clothes dryers in a US household.

How can a tea kettle use so much power? It seems tea drinkers in the UK like their tea hot and due to distractions, have to re-boil the water in their tea kettle 2.4 times per cup of tea. The solution offered by the article was clothesline-simple – whistles on tea kettles.

Easy fix and our only job left is to find a less-dorky Jubbling equivalent website in the UK that will push tea kettle whistles the way we push clotheslines. [Guardian SBB via Grist]

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail

Engine Idle No More Thanks To Micro Hybrid Technology And Micro Hybrid Conversions

Drive a hybrid vehicle and one of the first things you’ll notice is the start/stop feature of the technology. At any intersection or stop light, the engine automatically shuts off and your first reaction might be to restart it. But it’s not necessary because you’re idling with the engine off, running off of the same battery that will propel your vehicle when the light turns green. It’s the start-stop (or stop-start) that is the key component of all hybrids and responsible for reducing CO2 emissions by up to 20% and increasing fuel economy by 5-10%. Adding this feature to your existing vehicle through a micro hybrid conversion might be only 1-2 years away.

From green.autoblog.com

From green.autoblog.com

For city drivers, the micro hybrids start-stop feature has the obvious advantage of improved fuel economy. In addition, the reduction in CO2 emissions and the improved air quality will have a positive effect on city residents.

Micro hybrids are already popular outside of the US and the technology has been implemented into mass-produced cars since 2004. It’s estimated that half of the new cars sold in Europe by 2012 will be start-stop featured micro hybrids. Automakers, including Peugeot/Citroen, Mazda, Mercedes-Benz and BMW, incorporate micro hybrid technology into their vehicles at the manufacturing stage using start-stop technology from companies like Valeo. But why hasn’t this taken off in the US?

Micro hybrid adoption in the US has been slow and definitely hampered by the EPA’s refusal to credit automakers for installing the CO2 reducing, fuel saving technology. Why else would automakers like Honda, Toyota and BMW build cars with the micro hybrid feature and not sell them in the US? Because the option costs up to $500 more and the EPA’s city driving MPG tests’ only includes one full-stop that will not show any significant gain, a .1 – .2 MPG improvement, by using start-stop technology.

That brings us back to the conversion. According to an article in The Daily Green, new high-performance battery technology from companies like PowerGenix will allow car owners to retrofit their existing vehicles with micro hybrid technology for about $500. From The Daily Green:

About $150 to $200 of the cost of the system is a larger battery to handle the larger load from many thousands of engine starts and restarts. Also necessary is a relatively straightforward belt-integrated starter/generator to replace the alternator.

Whatever way we get there, adding micro hybrid technology to currently owned vehicles seems like a cinch with or without the EPA recognizing the savings to fuel and reduction of CO2 emissions. We’ll post an update on Jubbling.com regarding micro hybrid conversion providers.

And if you are looking at purchasing a new vehicle, you should definitely consider one with micro hybrid technology. The benefits more than likely will not be reflected in the MPG ratings or realized during highway driving but will play out through reduced fuel consumption and emissions.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestmail