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Climate change – making devices truly smart!

Power vampires can be frustrating when you are trying to manage your home’s power consumption. First, like here on Virily it is what you can measure. How much power a device “draws” when it is on and how much it “draws” when it is off can be difficult. In the US, there is the Energy Star rating that tells you how much power the device draws when on. What it doesn’t do is tell you how much power it sips when the device is off. One of the things you have to consider is the nature of the device first, do you need it to be available. Most people would argue that refrigerators have to be on all the time. The freezer and refrigerator can cycle all day long and not impact the good. You have to make sure your refrigerator and freezer are well insulated. They can maintain an on/off cycle most of the day and reduce the overall power drain of the device.

In my last series of posts on this topic, Alex Levante and I started talking about the concept of a smart device.  In the world of appliances, a smart device is one that is internet-connected. For example, I have a friend who is as big a weather geek as I am. She has an interest connected toaster that burns the weather forecast for the day onto the toast. Burns is the process, not the result in that case. The toast during the toasting process has the imprint of today’s weather on it when done. The device is always on and always connected to the internet. But that is an advertising label, and the device isn’t any smarter it is just connected to the internet. The definition of a smart device going forward might be a little different.

First, the device would shut off when it wasn’t used. In fact, if it were really smart it would watch you. (for me, the coffee pot goes on at 330 am and off around 4 am and not on the rest of the day).  My coffee pot gets unplugged today because it is not smart and sips power all day if I don’t unplug it. The other side of a smart device should be, when am I used. If I am used at 5 am every day (to toast something), only turn on five minutes before that. Turn on, and truly means do not draw power until 2 minutes before you are on. Do whatever download you have to do but only draw power when you are getting ready to be used. The value of appliances is they reduce the time to complete a task (masking mashed potatoes with a mixer versus by hand is a great example). But in the modern age of Climate Awareness, we also need to make sure we are not making the world a worse place for the convenience of whipped potatoes! The concept I would propose is a smart device that pays attention to when it is used. When it is not used, to shut itself off and only run its internal clock off a rechargeable battery. That way it comes on at the right time, but doesn’t consume power when it is off!

Smart shouldn’t just mean connected to the internet!

  • Question /

    Would you pay a dollar more for a smart appliance that actually save you 10 dollars a year in consumed power?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    do you like this definition of smart appliances?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    connection doesn’t equal smart, right?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    Sadly home appliances are only 12% of global power consumed, but its a start, right?

    • Yes
    • No
  • Question /

    Have you ever looked at the power sticker of an appliance before you bought it?

    • Yes
    • No

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What do you think?

14 points
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Written by DocAndersen

One fan, One team and a long time dream Go Cubs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

29 Comments

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  1. Q: WOULD YOU PAY A DOLLAR MORE FOR A SMART APPLIANCE THAT ACTUALLY SAVE YOU 10 DOLLARS A YEAR IN CONSUMED POWER?
    Yes (10 votes) – 100%
    Q: DO YOU LIKE THIS DEFINITION OF SMART APPLIANCES?
    Yes (9 votes) – 100%
    Q: CONNECTION DOESN’T EQUAL SMART, RIGHT?
    Yes (8 votes) – 89%
    No (1 votes) – 11%
    Q: SADLY HOME APPLIANCES ARE ONLY 12% OF GLOBAL POWER CONSUMED, BUT ITS A START, RIGHT?
    Yes (9 votes) – 100%
    Q: HAVE YOU EVER LOOKED AT THE POWER STICKER OF AN APPLIANCE BEFORE YOU BOUGHT IT?
    Yes (9 votes) – 90%
    No (1 votes) – 10%

  2. I know it is only a tiny amount of power involved, but do you leave your computer on “sleep” when you are away from it for a few hours, or turn everything off and power back up again when you come back?

    • my computer is off completely. From a security perspective sleeping computers or hibernate mode is very risky.

      hackers can get around security and turn the machine on easily.

      i turn mine off every single time. Great question by the by!!!

  3. Great post. I always try to turn things off when I am not using them, but I guess I should find out if unplugging some of them is better. Of course Energy Star appliance are a must these days… and if and whenever I buy one, I make sure it is labeled as such. Thank you for writing such a post… we all need to do our effort in order to help lessen the climate change if at all possible.

    • in some cases, you have to unplug them, sorry. the vampires have little lights on them.

      I realized that I missed two of those in my kitchen this morning! Lights low and to the right side of the device where I wasn’t looking.

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