From today, the manufacture or import of the 60W filament bulb is no longer permitted across Europe. Opinions obviously differ on whether this is a bold environmental step forward, or an example of nanny state philosophy.
The decision makes me mindful, once again, of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics, or DUKES Report. Published annually by the Department of Energy and Climate Change, it summarises all sources and uses of energy in the United Kingdom.
Broadly, the report illustrates that the UK’s total energy consumption could be divided into three approximately equal groups. The first is transport; the second is heating; the third is everything else. So, if you were to add up the energy used by every light bulb, every computer, every appliance and every machine across the country, the total would equal that used for heating alone.
So, if the decision on European light bulbs is environmentally driven, it can be considered only a small start. Indeed, the question of whether there is a significant environmental benefit to using “energy-saving” bulbs is still debated. Furthermore, the tax on energy for heating in the UK is set around 5%, whereas the tax on petrol and diesel is over 50%. If Europe is so concerned with environmental issues, we would do well to to divert our attention away from how we light our homes and workplaces, and instead onto how we heat them.
Protecting bits of nature here and there will not prevent humanity from losing our life support system. Even if areas dedicated to conserving plants, animals, and other species that provide Earth’s life support system increased tenfold, it would not be enough without dealing with the big issues of the 21st century: population, overconsumption and inefficient resource use. Without dealing with those big issues, humanity will need 27 planet Earths by 2050, a new study estimates.
The size and number of protected areas on land and sea has increased dramatically since the 1980s, now totalling over 100,000 in number and covering 17 million square kilometres of land and two million square kilometres of oceans, a new study reported Thursday.
Al Jazeera: Earth’s systems in rapid decline
The Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power plant near Seville, Spain, has achieved a full 24 hours of solar power production one month after starting commercial operation. The 19.9 MW plant uses a huge array of mirrors to heat a molten salt storage system in the central tower which is then used to run steam turbines, resulting in the ability to continue energy production after the sun goes down.
Gizmag: Gemasolar Concentrated Solar Power achieves key milestone – 24 hours of uninterrupted supply
While many homeowners are attracted to the idea of reducing their carbon footprint and decreasing their energy consumption, for most, this is restricted to minor changes in behavior. More substantial structural changes are often too expensive to implement, or require a level of technical expertise beyond what the homeowner is capable of. However, hoping to rectify this and bring affordable sustainable living to everyone, we recently came across the E-Cube — a self-assembled sustainable dwelling.
Springwise: Zero-energy DIY house showcases sustainable design
New figures provide a fascinating insight into how we consume power – and how much of it we have left
The Guardian: Are we running out of oil? The world in energy statistics
A new research prototype phone from the company is able to power itself on nothing more than ambient radiowaves – the weak TV, radio and mobile phone signals that permanently surround us. The power harvested is small but it is almost enough to power a mobile in standby mode indefinitely without ever needing to plug it into the mains, according to Markku Rouvala, one of the researchers who developed the device at the Nokia Research Centre in Cambridge, UK.
The Guardian: Nokia develops phone that recharges itself without mains electricity
Drax provides 7% of the electrical power required by Britain. Drax is actually the most carbon efficient coal-fired power plant in the UK, even though it generates around 1.5 million tons of ash and 22.8 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, which just goes to show, even the cleanest of coal-fired power plants are dirty.
Web Ecoist: Clean Coal? 10 of the World’s Dirtiest Power Plants
By some estimates, there are more than 600 million computers in the world, many of which are rarely turned off. If all of them were running screensavers, they would be drawing 60,000 megawatts per hour – for no valid reason.
REAP Calgary: As Useful as a Flying Toaster