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Energy efficiency

Written By: - Date published: 9:44 am, September 11th, 2012 - 44 comments
Categories: energy, national - Tags: ,

If Europe can ban incandescent light bulbs, if America can legislate to require 54.5 MPG fuel efficient cars, why can’t New Zealand make some progress on energy efficiency?

After all, these days we don’t have a lunatic leader of the opposition who would rant something like this in response:

“I’ve had nine years of being told what lightbulb I can screw into the house, what shower I can take, what food I can eat, what things I can do, what thoughts I am allowed to have.”

National. Dragging the country down with them…


44 comments on “Energy efficiency”

  1. vto 1

    r0b, you’re dreaming if you think this lot can think and act in the manner of a normal logical person. They don’t do normal.

    They are abnormal. Hence we get abnormal results for everything.

    • mike e 1.1

      They don’t want energy efficiency because that would blow the assets sales plan out of the water.
      Most countries have shower head regs and light bulb regs now . I bet you a lot of states in the US have these regs.

      • vto 1.1.1

        Was at some fancy-pants hotel for some days just gone and the shower head must have sprayed hundreds of litres per minute. Bloody hell – talk about a waste. Pathetic. But it was nice though – like driving in my ferrari

  2. Steve Wrathall 2

    What about shower heads? Is Shane Jones still your spokesman on things to do with the salle de bains?

    • mike e 2.1

      SW look across the ditch callous bitch Australia has such legislation when water is privatised or we have a couple of droughts you will be complaining why we didn’t do somthing earlier typical right wing shortsightedness!
      One of the costliest things coucil’s do these days is provide clean A grade drinking water.
      So you RWNJ’s harp on about coucil costs being out of control you are an A grade FWIT !

    • georgecom 2.2

      Whats your point Steve?

  3. tc 3

    KEY: ‘I’ve had nine years of being told ….. what things I can do, what thoughts I am allowed to have.”

    Nothing’s changed Shonkey, you still get your orders and get told what to say. Who cares what you think but I’d wager it’s dreaming about life in Richstonia with all your wealthy mates.

  4. Mr Burns 4

    But, but, the need to consume power would go down.  What are you a communi$t or something?

  5. weka 5

    If Europe can ban incandescent light bulbs, if America can legislate to require 54.5 MPG fuel efficient cars, why can’t New Zealand make some progress on energy efficiency?

    Yes. But energy saving light bulbs aren’t going to make much of a difference. They just teach people that we can keep using as much energy as we want, so long as we do it efficiently. You see this dynamic in the building industry. People build ‘energy efficient’ houses, but they build them large. Real savings are lost.

    What we need is to fundamentally change what we think we are entitled to, and just use less.

    This is the logic behind Jevons’ paradox, first propounded by British economist William Stanley Jevons in his 1866 book The Coal Question. Jevons pointed out that when improvements in technology make it possible to use an energy resource more efficiently, getting more output from less input, the use of the resource tends to go up, not down. His argument is impeccable: as the use of the resource becomes more efficient, the cost per unit of the end result tends to go down, and so people can afford to use more of it; as efficiency goes up, it also becomes economically feasible to apply the energy resource to new uses, and so people have reason to use more of it.



    • fatty 5.1

      “Yes. But energy saving light bulbs aren’t going to make much of a difference. They just teach people that we can keep using as much energy as we want, so long as we do it efficiently.”

      That depends. If we just make incandescent light bulbs illegal without other energy awareness campaigns, then yes – but that should never happen.

      “What we need is to fundamentally change what we think we are entitled to, and just use less.”

      I agree, but that should be done alongside stopping the use of inefficient technologies. Both are required

      • Bored 5.1.1

        The fundamental problem which Weka (via Greer) alluded to is that we humans use energy because we can.

        I recently got rid of my car (I was not using it much)….because it is not there I don’t use it…if it was I would. That saves me probably $7.5K in fuel, license, insurance, depreciation etc. It costs me shoes, it saves me doctors bills. It saves me spending on things because I don’t go to the shops without effort. I cannot say what it saves my carbon footprint.

        Going around a normal house at night the lights are on everywhere but the rooms are empty. The heat courses through the house but the residents are in one room. The dishwasher is used whilst the residents sit and watch TV. Why? Because we can. We waste energy at an alarming rate then complain at the power bill. And our carbon footprint increases.

        I have found the enemy. It is us.

    • grumpy 5.2

      The Europeans are getting around the ban because only “domestic” (230V) lamps are banned. It is still legal to buy industrial incandescents (we call them Rough Service – 250V) lamps.

    • Draco T Bastard 5.3

      His argument is impeccable: as the use of the resource becomes more efficient, the cost per unit of the end result tends to go down, and so people can afford to use more of it;

      No, it’s not impeccable – it’s a paradox based upon the market which, quite simply, doesn’t work. As this is true then his paradox also has an answer – stop relying upon the delusional market and start looking to actual resources use.

  6. just saying 6

    It’s a bit sad the sacrifices people seem only too eager to make for the daddy state: doing away with democracy, ever-worsening public services, dismantling the safety net, and lets face it most people are significantly worse off…

    Yet the suggestion of a bit of central planning involving comparatively meagre sacrifices (less choice in lightbulbs, possibly having hotwater switched off for part of the day) things that would lead directly to lower power bills, because we wouldn’t need to spend billions building new energy generators and it’s…..Whoa! how dare you interfere with my freedom?

    Fact is, NZ has more than adequate generation capability, if energy use were organised more efficiently.

  7. grumpy 7

    The sad part is that virtually nobody (including on these pages) has any idea what “energy efficiency” actually is…..

    So we see sideshows like “energy efficient” lightbulbs and shower heads, when the real drivers of energy inefficiency remain undebated and ignored.

    • r0b 7.1

      Feel free to enlighten us grumpy.

      • grumpy 7.1.1

        While we continue to focus on needing “energy efficient” generation techniques, nobody looks at “why” we need any new generation. The drivers are the push to “energy efficient” appliances like heatpumps which just add to the country’s maximum demand, so we build for that increased maximum demand.
        Industrial and commercial energy use are the biggest contributors and they are not bothered by energy efficient light bulbs and shower heads. The commercial sector uses energy for heating and cooling, it’s biggest inefficiencies come from temperature overshoot leading to excessive pumping and comfort fluctuations. Most large commercial buildings can reduce energy consumption by 25% using freely available current technology.
        We have gone from generators prizing a “flat load curve” to just building capacity to keep up with demand. The pricing signals to use “off peak” have been watered down.
        Most of the so-called “energy companies” now have no idea…….rant, rant……

        • insider

          Large users are very much incentivised to manage demand. Their tariffs are often linked to time of use and you see some big changes in response. But the smaller the user the harder/more expensive for the signal to be transmitted and acted on, and similarly the benefit from a demand response is reduced for users and suppliers. Do you really want your building or company switching power to your computers on and off unpredictably as prices swing? Smart Building controls can do a bit though 25% seems a lot (not disputing it).

          • grumpy

            Yep, some (known as load group 4) who are supplied by their own transformer certainly take advantage of cheap energy rates by controlling their maximum and co-incident demand but the availability of other slightly smaller users to shift load and/or move to a “time of use” tarriff has been degraded.
            You seem to be referring to those with a SCADA system and that is true.

            While so called “smart building” controls can make a difference, the major saving in large buildings comes from the design of the actual heating cooling system to give those controls something to work with. 25% is a bit conservative actually.

            The missed opportunity is in flattening the load curve, individually, regionally and nationally.

            • insider

              We don’t live in a command economy anymore. We don’t enforce six o’clock closing and no shopping on Sundays. The patterns and solutions of the past may not be relevant.

              When are the peaks? Winter 5pm to 9pmish and in the mornings msot days. We can’t change the weather and life patterns are fairly stable so there is not a lot of energy use that can be shifted, so we are still going to be peaking at those times for the forseeable future. lightbulbs won’t make a huge difference. use of one or two electric heaters massively swamps any lighting energy use in most home. Odd that solid fuels are being actively discouraged by the authorities.

              • Colonial Viper

                We don’t live in a command economy anymore. We don’t enforce six o’clock closing and no shopping on Sundays. The patterns and solutions of the past may not be relevant.

                Completely irrelevant arguments.

                Society could choose to limit shopping hours and it of course still chooses to limit closing times.

                • grumpy

                  No need for compulsion, adequate pricing does the job.

                  Better integration between generators, networks and retailers would help with electrical energy. The ultimate would be to unwing the Bradford reforms and go back to the “old” system, with fewr and amalgamated power companies.

                • insider

                  It’s relevant because it is about consumer expectations. I don’t think consumers would accept the constraints we accepted in the past, especially given the range and sensitivity of electrical devices we have today and the implications of supply interruptions on them. That then limits your options as to how you can flatten the demand curve.

                  There are also limited ways you can signal prices to smaller users in a way that achieves a demand response. Ripple control is still fairly strong, but less so, showing people will accept some incentives to shift demand with a price discount. But they are unlikely to accept restrictions on cooking and heating, which are the big drivers of peak demand in NZ, and unlikely to change their lifestyles such as living/working in different ways that shifts their personal peak (eg talk about schools operating in shifts which could move heating and eating patterns for some families).

                  • grumpy

                    There are many ways of achieving what you are describing. There are systems available now that will achieve what is required, especially for heating. The problem is the world has fallen for the great heatpump con. Schools are blowing their energy budget and homeowners faced with huge power bills.

                    We are not talking about cuting people off, we are talking about combining pricing with readily available technology.

                    • insider

                      SUch as?

                      I’ve always wondered why nightstores went out of fashion – I know there are more modern ones around overseas but not sure if they have solved the issue of storing energy till it is needed.

                    • grumpy

                      The old “Southpower” imported thousands of night stores but after the earthquake they are being pulled out and replaced with heatpumps.

                      The best method is heating the concrete slab, either electric (preferred) or water.

                      Even with demand heating, use of a “setback” function achieves a lot.

        • TimD

          I think you’re getting electricty and energy muddled – while what you say about energy is true (partucularly wrt passive efficiency – you just cannot heat an uninsulated state house), the biggest energy user is transport, and there are certainly no efforts to curb that beast – if anything transport consumption is being encouraged especially with the RONS that will be built shortly..

          • grumpy

            …but Electricity is energy, so is burning oil, gas, coal, wood etc.

            I take your point about transport energy, I’ll deal with that after I have solved the other issues 🙂

          • grumpy

            ..you can’t heat ANY uninsulated house, state or not.

            There are many very large edifices which have astoundingly poor insulation. In Europe the limit for heat loss is about 35W/m2 with a temperature differential of 32K. In NZ it’s more likely to be 80W/m2 at 20K.

            …and that, dear readers, is why heaps of flash efficient European appliances (like Ground Source Heat Pumps) often work like crap here.

            • Colonial Viper

              OMG we lose heat at multiples of the EU standard.

              • grumpy


              • grumpy

                Heating a house is like filling a leaking bucket with water. The amount of water you need to pour into the bucket depends on how big the hole is. In NZ the hole is bloody big!

              • Draco T Bastard

                Yep, and I still haven’t come across a single MP willing to suggest Passive House standards for new buildings as the minimum requirement.

  8. Bored 8

    Who really gives a flying f*** at a rolling donut legislating 54mpg when you consider that even if you do the oil will run out. And whilst we burn it we fekk the atmosphere. Have a read of the wonderful Ugo Bardi making sense of our predicament and giving us as couple of scenarios (one which will thrill the techo fantasists).


    • Colonial Viper 8.1

      Orlov has a real easy formula for essentially quintipling the fuel efficiency of any vehicle. Just make it legal for people to pack them to the brim, sit on the roof and in the boot, and have it drive around at 30 km/h. Done. This formula has been proven over time in many asian and South American countries.

  9. tc 9

    Well said Grumpy.
    Over the ditch from Ellen fanning in the global mail….’the real cost of running a 2kw split-system air-conditioner for four hours on a very hot day can be as high as $200. The customer, however, only pays about $2. She quotes Energy Minister Martin Ferguson:

    “Every time someone in Australia installs a $1500 air-conditioning system, it costs $7000 to upgrade the electricity network to make sure there’s enough capacity to run that system on the hottest summer day.”

    • grumpy 9.1

      That is what it costs to add to peak. Some can remember the great Auckland Power Cut, purely caused by overloading the network with summer peak cooling load.

      People also forget in the big Heatpump con that the heat produced is convective and is spread by draught via. the ceiling. Convection is only 70% as efficient as radiant heat. That normally takes care of efficiency arguments.

  10. The mercury vapor filled light bulbs where another Labor/Green snow job http://oilcrash.com/articles/cfltruth.htm
    Placing these things above the heads of most New Zealand children was yet another fine example of how on to it the Greens were, along with Kiwi Saver that is.

    It doesn’t matter – we are only decades away from extinction.

    Bye bye Bee and bye bye you and me )

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