Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Jotthe Kannappan: Mind Games to Save Energy

Just kidding, it really isn't a mind game.

This year, Stanford students participating in the solar decathlon green-building competition have included something deceptively simple in their model. They changed light switches.

According to the team, people often waste energy simply because they forget that they leave certain things on, and walk out of a room. Hours later, they wander back by, and realize that all their lamps, their computers, and their speakers have been running the entire time.

This light switch is unique because the control to every single electronic utility in the room can be turned off by the push of one button, where the light switch is. Of course, the panel next to that switch can monitor individual electronic utilities, but the large switch always glows a slight green unless it is turned off.

The students working on this project theorize that this makes homeowners more conscientious consumers of energy. They have to think about leaving everything on as they leave a room, and can't complain about the inefficiency of unplugging each individual item. With a simple push of a button, everything can be taken care of. Because the switch is always slightly illuminated when anything in the room is on, homeowners are very aware of when they are consuming energy, and can act accordingly.

Will this have a huge impact on energy savings? Probably not. After all, most energy is spent on utilities, but in transportation. But at this point, any improvement is valuable.

To read more, click here!

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