I am deriving enormous satisfaction from cutting my electric bill in half from an out-of-control high of 1,841 kilowatt hours (KWH) or $307 in January to a mere 758 KWH/$127 in April. My experiment with transmission supplier National Grid was based on replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs and shutting off the hot tub whose heater I estimate was costing at least $50 a month during the cold months here in the Northeast. Near as I can tell, the CFLs accounted for 30-40% of the drop while the lion's share goes to shutting off the hot tub which we used infrequently. My last child is headed off to college in the fall and she was the primary user. And there's a certain reluctance to don a bathing suit (or less) by the adults in household approaching a ripe middle age. No one seems to miss it and it's wooden housing stuff with insulation is largely a home for mice.
There are other ways I will cut my energy consumption. My next car will almost certainly be a Prius. As I seethed yesterday in my six cylinder powered sedan (a wonderful Mercedes E320 with 170K trouble free miles) during a crushing two hour and fifteen minute commute, I thought a hybrid would be drawing tiny amounts of power when stopped in traffic. An announcer on the radio said gas consumption is up 1.75% from a year ago as we rocket up to $4 a gallon. This is insane! Bring on the high prices, I say. Get people out of their cars. For the three years I've had this onerous commute, softened only by the 1-2 days a week I work at home, I've cursed, seethed, sighed and thrown my hands up. Thing is, I love my job at Design News. The topics it covers are truly fascinating.
Our eneergy habits have to change and I'm trying to do my part. My global warming column in the 4/30 elicited more than 40 letters and they're still coming in, many of them disagreeing with my assessement of its true and present danger. One point made several times that really bothered me was that what I do to cut my own energy consumption is insignificant. That's a horrible cop-out. We all need to kick in here.
Festo's BionicKangaroo combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology, plus very precise controls and condition monitoring. Like a real kangaroo, the BionicKangaroo robot harvests the kinetic energy of each takeoff and immediately uses it to power the next jump.
Design News and Digi-Key presents: Creating & Testing Your First RTOS Application Using MQX, a crash course that will look at defining a project, selecting a target processor, blocking code, defining tasks, completing code, and debugging.
These are the toys that inspired budding engineers to try out sublime designs, create miniature structures, and experiment with bizarre contraptions using sets that could be torn down and reconstructed over and over.
PowerStream is deploying the microgrid at its headquarters to demonstrate how people can generate and distribute their own energy and make their homes and businesses more sustainable through renewables.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.