Saving energy when you use your laptop is critical, especially when you are traveling and don’t have easy access to charging. On Macs, there is a feature that allows you to see the programs that are running and using the most energy. This will allow you to shut these programs down to conserve energy on your laptop.
To find this report, search for Activity Monitor in the upper right hand corner and select it. Then, click on the Energy button at the top of the screen. This will give you a breakdown of the programs on your computer that are active, as well as the amount of energy they consume.
If you hear your fan turn on a lot, this is a good report to see and has a correlation to the amount of CPU that is being used.
I’d like to announce that WattDoesItUse now has over 30,000 electronics and appliances, along with their power consumption, listed. We will continue expanding our listings to ensure that all of the devices that you own are highlighted.
If you can’t find a device, please fill out our Request Device Power Consumption form, and we’ll find the power consumption for you. Thank you to all visitors who have submitted requests in the past.
As the weather heats up, WattDoesItUse wants to help you stay cool while saving money. So we’ve added a new category to WattDoesItUse: Air Conditioners!
You can now see the power consumption for your room air conditioners. Air Conditioners are notoriously big power consumers, so always keep that in mind during the summer. If a fan will keep it cool enough, you’ll save a lot of energy.
If a simple fan won’t help, you can also look at Evaporative Fans, which run air through a filter of water to make the air cooler. Evaporative Fans, also called Swamp fans, will drop the temperature of the air 4-6 degrees while also using considerably less energy. As with any product suggestion, please make sure you don’t jeopardize the health of anyone in your residence. Having your residence too hot can lead to health issues for some people.
If you are interested in seeing examples of Evaporative Fans, you can see them on Amazon.
Then you’ll love our two new categories on WattDoesItUse: Dryers and Dehumidifiers! Now you can find the power consumption and CO2 output for Dryers and Dehumidifiers that you own or are interested in purchasing.
This brings the total number of categories on WattDoesItUse to 20! We have a big backlog of items to add, but as always, if there is a device that you can’t find and would like to know its power consumption, fill out our Request Device Power Consumption form.
SolarCity! SolarCity has more residential solar installations than the other 70 largest solar companies. How is this possible you may ask? I had a chance to chat with Dan Lewis, Regional Sales Manager at SolarCity, to understand more about what makes SolarCity so successful.
Dan said that SolarCity was created through inspiration from Elon Musk who needed clean energy to power electric cars (not only the charging of the cars, but also the production of those cars). His cousins, Lyndon Rive and Peter Rive, shared his enthusiasm and founded SolarCity. From the beginning, SolarCity focused on managing the whole process of installing solar, including financing. SolarCity uses inhouse financing, so that they can offer the best rates without any caveats.
SolarCity has three options for Solar Power: Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA), purchase the system, and leasing. We’ve previously covered purchasing and leasing on WattDoesItUse, but haven’t covered Power Purchasing Agreement (PPA). A PPA allows you to lock in a rate for solar power generated electricity, which is usually less than your utility rate. Since utility rates have historically risen over time, the savings will continue to grow with the locked in rate.
SolarCity is working with Google and have NEST thermostats that report the power consumption and solar monitoring, so that the owners can see in real time how much power they are generating and consuming. Also, because of the close ties to Tesla, SolarCity will leverage the new PowerWall by Tesla for disaster recovery and in the future for off grid deployments.
Dan highlighted that SolarCity warranties and guarantees all of the components, which is more than any other company. Also, for every MegaWatt of solar that is installed for residential, they install solar with a battery backup in a 3rd world country.
For Throwback Thursday, I decided to highlight the power consumption of an old refrigerator that my parents own. The refrigerator is over 40 years old and still running. The power consumption averaged out at 35 watt-hours, which isn’t as high as I thought it was going to be.
It is a reminder that just because a device is old, doesn’t mean that it isn’t efficient. Make sure you always check the power consumption before discarding a device.
In case you missed the announcement last night, Tesla unveiled their newest product, the Power Wall.
The Power Wall is a wall mounted battery that can store energy generated from renewable resources like solar power. They have a 7 kWh and a 10 kWh model available with the cost being $3,000 and $3,500 respectively. Having this capacity makes it possible to have continuous power during the night when the sun isn’t shining. You can also stack up to 9 batteries which would then ultimately lead to a capacity of 90 kWh. Granted you need to have an equal source of power generation to charge them.
Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, highlighted that using the Power Wall, we can achieve independence for fossil fuel generated electricity and also have less dependency on an aging grid which the utilities use to transmit power along with the primary source to store power generated by renewable resources. I’ve talked with a lot of solar power developers and this is a blocker to deploying solar as it requires costly and time consuming upgrades in order to accommodate the energy generated by solar power.
Removing the grid and putting more of a dependency on microgrids which are battery backed would create a new economy around electricity generation and consumption. It is the future of renewable energy. The Power Wall should be shipping in the next 3-4 months, but you can reserve yours now on the Tesla website.