Save Energy. Save Money.

Archive for November, 2008

WattzOn badge for your blog, aka Widgety Goodness

Several people have asked us both for a way to list their power prints on their blog, and also suggestions on how help spread the ideas behind WattzOn. To that end, this Thanksgiving, we’ve turned on the blog badge system. When you log in to your WattzOn account, on the top right, visit your account page and follow the link to “Blog badge” to get the code to paste into your templates. We’ve tried to write it in pretty unobtrusive HTML and Javascript so that it will work with any blogging system as it requires no server-side plugin.

Please drop us a line if you have any problems, suggestions, etc. — we’re actively looking for ideas on what else to add to the blog badge. Do you all want to have a breakdown of the different slices of your pie? Do you want to see how your power print changes over time? Do you want to have control over the “tagline”? All of the above?.

Read Article     

Buy a traveler’s coffee mug

Paper cupTravel mug

I frequent this amazing coffee shop (within walking distance of Synthesis), and just watch paper cups leave that establishment in pounds. Every once in a while somebody (hopefully me) shows up with a travel mug — a reusable mug — and asks for coffee in that instead.

Its a simple question — which is “worse”? A paper cup, or a travel mug?

You can easily go either side on this debate: the paper cup is cheaper to manufacture, therefore it probably “impacts” the environment less; more paper cups are made every year than travel mugs (probably), so the impact of the paper cups as a whole are probably more; the travel mug is made of aluminum, whereas paper cups are just paper — mining aluminum seems more intensive than cutting down trees, the mug must be worse. What I think is missing from all these arguments is time.

Take a look at WattzOn‘s energy labels for both of those: the paper cup and the travel mug. The travel mug clearly has more embodied energy in it — almost 30x the amount, in fact. In other words, it probably took 30 times the energy to get all the raw materials together for the travel mug when compared to the paper cup. But, your paper cup is disposable: a paper cup’s lifespan, while in your possession, is probably on the order of days whereas the travel mug, will stick around for years. Think of it this way – drink coffee five days a week? That’s about 250 cups a year, or 2500 cups for 10 years, the lifespan of that travel mug. Just looking at it that way, we’re talking about 90 times more energy in those paper cups over the 10 years. That 30x for the embodied energy is starting to look good, isn’t it?

This is why we use watts. We’re introducing time into the equation to give you a real way to compare these objects, services, and activities together. Watts give you a real and measurable way to have conservations about power usage and conservation. Crunching the numbers, and the labels show, the paper cup is 8.3 watts compared to the 0.06 watts of the traveler’s mug. The less powerful the better: buy yourself a travel mug and use that religiously instead.

This simple life cycle analysis is what WattzOn is good at right now (contribute by editing the paper cup or editing the travel mug, or creating a new item in the EED) — but it does bring up questions of how much water is being used to wash out that mug, the manufacturing processes involved in those two cups, and the shipping, marking, and distribution methodologies that are not being well accounted for now. But, these are all part of WattzOn’s mission. We want to give consumers the ability to ask these questions, come up with conclusions, and make informed choices that can affect change.

ps. Zing, the aforementioned coffee shop, kindly gives you a discount if you show up with a travel mug. Tell them Raffi sent you.

Read Article     

WattzOn of Solace

We have a new user here at WattzOn to help us celebrate the newly added support for international government data!  Let’s all give Mr. James Bond a warm welcome to the community!

Although there are numerous books and movies featuring James Bond, it would be insane to try to piece together a consistent lifestyle from all these sources.  So, let’s estimate his entire profile based on the actions of this film and this film only.


If you haven’t seen Quantum of Solace yet, please read no further – important plot points will be divulged in the name of power estimation!

Read Article