Green Home Management – Can we learn from PCs?

If we could update our homes like we have the Microprocessor we really could improve the cost of building and managing the power consumed in our homes.  I’ve become more aware of just how much power I consume and continue to search for ways to cut that aspect of my life.

This summer I spent 6 weeks in Europe and learned that Europeans are well ahead of us here in the US as far as power conservation goes.  In Barcelona, Spain my hotel room had a master switch just inside the entry door that with one easy click turned off all the lights and most power.  It was a very simple way to get the lighting how I liked it and know I could easily turn it all back on when I returned.  I have stayed in hundreds of hotel rooms in the US and have NEVER seen this, yet EVERY room I stayed in Europe had it.

In London the room had a similar feature but it was more strictly enforced.  To turn the power on in my room I had to insert my room key into a slot and that would then enable the power.  The theory there was that when you leave the room you take your key with you and all the power is off.  One thing that surprised me was that the power to the Air Conditioner went off too (there was a 2 minute delay).  Wow, that really cuts power consumption.  Fortunately the power to the mini-fridge did stay on.

How can we update our homes in the US and learn from these techniques?  I have been reviewing my utility bills and using my “Kill-A-Watt” device and really have become annoyed at how much power simple things are consuming.  Examples of things that bother me are these scent units that heat up and with a fan blow scented air around your house.  Wow, that a waste of power!

I hope we can learn from our friends across the pond and use some of their ideas to update our homes in the US.

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