Beyond the Clothesline – Five more tips for efficient clothes drying.

It seems like “using a clothesline” makes every top-10 list of energy saving measures you can make at home.  But clotheslines are lousy at getting out wrinkles, and in humid climates often give clothes a chance to mildew.

If and when you use a dryer, there are a few things you can do to use as little energy as possible.  I found these in the study “Are We Missing Energy Savings in Clothes Dryers?” by Paul Bendt of Ecos, which was part of ACEEE’s 2010 Summer Study on Energy Efficiency in Buildings.

  1. A natural gas dryer is cheaper to operate and has lower environmental impacts than an electric dryer.   (Note: this assumes an average electricity mix – if most of your electricity is renewable, you’ll likely have lower impact with an electric dryer- but it still won’t be cheaper.)
  2. High washer spin speeds are more efficient than evaporating the water in the dryer.
  3. Drying full loads is more efficient than a larger number of partial loads.
  4. A “low heat” setting is more efficient than higher heat settings (I had a hunch that this was true, and found the study with a little Googling to find out if my hunch was correct.)
  5. A “less dry” setting is more efficient than “normal” or “more dry

One frequent tip that doesn’t work:

  • Cleaning the lint trap has little effect on energy use, although it does speed drying time.

Now you know what I’m doing with my Easter Sunday afternoon… maybe I’ll celebrate Earth Day by enjoying the just-arrived spring with a clothesline.

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Green Stock Investments – 2014 Outlook – Rescheduled

We had to reschedule out investment outlook webinar.  It was originally scheduled for tomorrow, but we’ve moved it to the same time 4:14pm ET / 1:15pm PT on November 21st.

Details of the webinar follow:

—————————————–
Meeting Number: 21922303
Subject: Green Stock Investments – 2014 Outlook
Date: 11/21/2013
Time: 01:15 PM US/Pacific; 4:15 PM US/Eastern
—————————————–

Tom Konrad and Jan Schalkwijk of the JPS Green Economy Fund will share their outlook for green stock investments going into 2014.

To join from your computer or mobile device, click this link or copy it into your browser:
http://fuze.me/21922303

To join the audio, choose one of two methods:
Internet Audio: Simply select the internet audio option after join.
Your Phone: Call +13478177654.

If prompted, enter the meeting number: 21922303, then press #.

While you can join a Fuze Meeting from a browser, our apps give you the best experience.
Get Fuze for your device here at www.fuzebox.com/products/download.

Need help? You can connect to our Customer Support Team or access self-help tools at www.fuzebox.com/support.

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Postponed- 2014 Outlook on Green Stock Investing – Webinar

This webinar has been postponed to Thursday November 21st.

My co-manager Jan Schalkwijk at the Green Economy Fund and I will be hosting  a free webinar on November 7th (Thursday) at 4:15pm Eastern, 1:15PM Pacific.

We’ll discuss our outlook for green stock investing in 2014, and also take questions.

Here are the details:

—————————————–
Meeting Number: 21922303
Subject: Green Stock Investments – 2014 Outlook
Date:    11/07/2013  POSTPONED.  New Date: 11/21/13
Time:    01:15 PM US/Pacific  4:15PM ET
—————————————–

Tom Konrad and Jan Schalkwijk of the JPS Green Economy Fund will share their outlook for green stock investments going into 2014.

To join from your computer or mobile device, click this link or copy it into your browser:
http://fuze.me/21922303

To join the audio, choose one of two methods:
Internet Audio: Simply select the internet audio option after join.
Your Phone: Call +13478177654.

If prompted, enter the meeting number: 21922303, then press #.

While you can join a Fuze Meeting from a browser, our apps give you the best experience.
Get Fuze for your device here at www.fuzebox.com/products/download.

Need help? You can connect to our Customer Support Team or access self-help tools at www.fuzebox.com/support.

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Electric Trucks, Renewable MLPs, and Heat Pumps

A few more of my pieces have run on EarthWise, a 2 minute radio program on WAMC radio in the Northeast.  Here are links:

All are read by the Cary Institute’s Bill Schlesinger.

I got involved with this by volunteering with the Institute.  If you’re near Millbrook, NY, the Cary Institute has regular free lectures on the science of the environment that are well worth attending.  But make sure to get there early- not only for free cookies and coffee, but because they tend to fill up pretty quickly.

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Peak Oil on the Radio

peak_oil2[1]Another EarthWise piece I wrote aired on WAMC Wednesday.  This one was a very basic introduction to the concept of Peak Oil, which is pretty much what it had to be, since it was a 2-minute piece for a general radio audience which might not have even heard of peak oil.

You can listen to it or read the full text here:

What Do We Mean By Peak Oil?

If you’d like something with a bit more meat, check out my in-depth look at the economic implications of Peak Oil, The End Of Elastic Oil.

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The Elasticity of Electricity Demand

In an attempt to rebut economist Ed Dolan’s support of a carbon tax, I came across a RAND Study done for the Sacramento Municipal Utility District, which estimasted the short term elasticity of residential electricity demand at -0.2 and the long run elasticity of demand a -0.32.

This is a very inelastic market ( |elasticity| << 1 ), and so supports my argument that regulation is likely to be the most economically efficient approach to reducing residential electricity use.

Dolan compiled some numbers that put long run elasticity of gasoline demand at around 0.5, which also implies that regulation has a role to play in reducing gas usage, although it’s high enough that carbon taxes are also likely to be somewhat effective; a combination seems the best approach to me.

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Making Carbon Pricing Work Better

When it comes to the most economically efficient way to reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions(GHG), the economic consensus is that a carbon tax, or, failing that, a carbon trading scheme is the best way to go. The idea is that a price for carbon will raise the cost of carbon-producing activities, nudging people and companies towards less harmful behavior.

I have a problem with this line of reasoning, since it rests on the false assumption that price signals are the most effective way to change behavior. That’s true is an economist’s ideal efficient market, but a moment’s reflection shows that the markets we want to affect are far from efficient.

Electric utilities are regulated entities, and hence insulated from market forces. Consumers don’t respond well to price signals either, because most don’t understand where they are wasting energy. If they did, there would be a run on caulk to air seal homes, since the payback from air-sealing can be a matter of weeks. If a 1000% annual return from air sealing is not enough to get people to spend a little time with a caulk gun, is increasing the return to 1200% with a carbon tax really going to make a difference?

Compact fluorescent bulbs are another excellent example of how the energy market often fails to be efficient. The payback on CFLs is usually on the order of months, but uptake was very slow until recently, now that higher wattage incandescent bulbs are being phased out. By regulation.

The adoption of CFLs is a concrete example where the most economically efficient outcome is being achieved by regulation, after years of failure by market forces.

I had just finished making the above case to an economist at a mixer at The Cary Institute in Millbrook, NY when I was asked to write for a public radio program sponsored by the Institute.  Earth Wise logo I had been talking to the Institute’s volunteer coordinator about opportunities that make use of my skills, and she hit on helping them write some segments for Earth Wise, a daily 2 minute radio program on WAMC.

So I went home and wrote up my ideas, outlined above, on carbon pricing.  The first draft did not work for them, since they had aired a program in favor of a carbon tax, so I re-wrote it with a focus on making carbon pricing more effective by making the energy market more efficient.   The result aired on July 3rd, and you can listen to it or read it here: http://wamcradio.org/EarthWise/?p=2668.

With only two minutes, it’s an interesting exercise of packing my ideas into just 280 words, especially considering that for me, 600 words is what I consider a short peice, and it’s not unusual for me to write several thousand.

For future episodes, I plan to tackle less complex subjects.

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