Thursday, August 11, 2011

3 News Pieces Tenuously Related to Power

Dear Reader,

As the title suggests, I found a few nuggets of interest; and yes, they are related to power (sort of):

First, BP has brought its petrol prices down a sliver to $2 (or thereabouts); marvelous, I said!
At least, I thought so until I remembered that a few years ago they were closer to $1; I suppose it's a little like being happy about tax rebates until you realise that the money was yours to begin with.
Anyway, how are the petrol prices related to power? In a few ways, actually: petrol prices might mean lower power bills, i.e., doesn't definitely mean lower power bills. This is because it has the potential to cost a tiny bit less to run the various machines (possibly through lessened oil and diesel costs).
Don't hold your breath though: I'd say that this is more like one of those things where the change only happens in one direction, i.e., when petrol prices go up, power becomes more expensive, but not the other way around.
Still, that's a bit of extra money in the pocket.

Secondly, Wellington homes seem to have benefited from a bit of extra insulation, thanks to, in part, EECA grants. Having had my own home retrofitted with insulation in the roof and under the floors, I can say it makes one huge difference: now there's actually a point using heaters, because the warmth doesn't escape the instant it comes into contact with the ceiling!

Since I'm a bit of a figures man, though, I'll give you a few percentages to consider:
Installing insulation in just the floor and ceiling keeps up to 50% of the heat in; so, assuming that 50% less heat-loss translates to 50% less heater usage, you'll be saving about 14.5% on the overall bill - if we go on the EECA's figures.

To get more details on how to make the most out of heating, though, sign up to get my free newsletter.

Thirdly, an author over at Scientific American has taken it upon himself to review 20 applications for the iPhone; and what do they do? Determine the amount of tilt your solar panels need to get the maximum amount of sun for power generation!
Well, I think it's quite impressive. It also means you can really interfere with the work of the guy trying to adjust the solar panels.

Yours sincerely,

Andrew Greaves

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