Friday, April 24, 2009

Unplug Those Vampires!

Since I posted last week, I've read that McKinsey & Co, of which the McKinsey Global Research Institute is the economics research arm, has been involved in some controversial activities. McKinsey & Co is one of the leading management consulting firms worldwide. Enron was one of their biggest clients before its collapse. McKinsey recently recommended that the Minneapolis Public Schools cut teacher health care due to high costs. McKinsey is also credited with starting car insurance practices that result in more claims being denied so that shareholders get higher returns. However, the data in last week's post that was compiled by the McKinsey Global Research Institute is referred to extensively by Gabrielle Walker and Sir David King, two respected climate scientists, in The Hot Topic, a well-researched book on global warming and its solutions, as well as by the global warming blog Climate Progress by expert climate scientist Joseph Romm. According to that data, which is of course based on certain assumptions and predictions, the actions that would result in significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, ranked in order of how much money they would save us, are:
  • Improvements in insulation
  • Improved fuel efficiency in commercial vehicles
  • More efficient lighting systems
  • More efficient air conditioning
  • More efficient water heating
  • Improved fuel efficiency in non-commercial vehicles
  • Use of sugarcane biofuel
  • Reducing standby losses (loss of energy from keeping a device on standby service without actually using it--such as a hot water tank, TV, VCR, charging device for electronics, etc.)
There are many other actions that would reduce global warming, but these are the major ones that would also save us money even in the short term, according to this report. Notice that many of the actions on the list--which apply to industries and homes--correspond to actions on our "10 things we can do to reduce global warming" list at the very bottom of this page. However, the last one, reducing standby losses, is not on the list, but should be. If everyone unplugged all their chargers and appliances when they're not being used, we could reduce global greenhouse emissions by 1%. That's because chargers and appliances in standby, like TVs, VCR's, and many others, known as "vampires," draw power even when they're not being used. That's a lot of global warming for energy that's being wasted.

What's in your carbon-footprint-reducing toolbox?
Stay cool,

1 comment:

  1. Hi, If you are a member of CREDO (formerly Working Assets) long distance phone company, they have some helpful ideas. Their spotlight this month (on the phone bill) is Check it out. They also recommend Sara Snow's Fresh Living: The Essential Room-by-Room Guide to a Greener, Healthier Family and Home. By the way, Ziploc apparently makes a plastic bag with 25% less plastic...not exactly what I was thinking of, but I suppose every little bit helps.