Thursday, January 27, 2011

Be Careful-- He Wields Great Power!

My office is literally my home away from home-- my domicile for eight hours of every working day. So in figuring out my overall energy consumption, my workspace is likely to figure pretty prominently. I took a recent raid of my office space as a cue to examine my energy use at work to see where I can be more efficient.

I'm starting, of course, with lighting. A full suite of eight fluorescent bulbs burn over my head everyday to illuminate the sad, 100-square-foot hovel I call my office. Yesterday, I popped the not-so-fancy light fixture that hides them to get a better view at the bulbs. Turns out none of them had any indication of how much wattage they consume. They sure don't make this easy.

Each bulb, however, had a specific brand and model number: Philips F32T8/TL741 Alto Collection. A quick Google search brought back some information that blew my mind! Turns out EACH of the fluorescent bulbs above me was sucking 32 watts of electricity. And surprisingly, they were HOT!! No wonder I feel like a lonely McDonald's French fry under a heat lamp every day!

Let's make some quick assumptions to make sense of this new discovery. First, let's figure out the combined wattage of all eight bulbs. Ready? 32 watts x 8 =  256 watts. Then, divide that number by 1,000 to figure out kWh: 256 watts ÷ 1,000 = .256 kWh. And assuming these bulbs burn for approximately 7.5 hours every day (hey, a guy needs to get some lunch!), the total energy used per day is 1.92 kWh. Finally, let's multiply that number by five days in each work week: 1.92kWh/day x 5 days = 9.6 kWh/work week. 
Okay, we're almost there. Let's also assume that during the course of the year-- between vacation, holidays, sick days, etc.-- that I do not work for 5 weeks. That would leave 47 weeks of work, right? So 9.6 kWh/work week x 47 work weeks = 451 kWh/yr. WOW!

To put that number in perspective, that's about half the average monthly energy use of a typical American household, according to the US Department of Energy

Let's be honest: I'm not really that bright-- does my office have to be?

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