среда, 26 сентября 2012 г.

Don't Do Stupid Things When Trying to Help Protect the Environment

Everyone is trying so hard to help the environment. Energy saving there, recycling here. Soooo green...

...and sometimes so stupid. Look at Nokia chargers initiative. Newer chargers will consume less than 30 milliwatts in standby mode which is excellent. And each time a phone finishes charging there's a message saying that charging is complete and you'd better unplug the charger to help protect environment.

This message is brought up as a very clever step that makes every Nokia phone user responsible for the green future....

Well, no. The message about charging completion was always there, just the part about the environment was added at some point.

There's something weird in here, isn't it? It's Nokia charger consuming power in standby but the user has to make extra effort. Why?

The real reason is that those chargers are damn efficient already. Making them more efficient would require better electronic components that are more expensive and that would drive the chargers price up and guess who would have to pay for that? No, people don't like to pay more for greener chargers.

So the pseudosolution is to change the "charging complete" message to contain the word "environment" in it. Does nothing, still puts extra burden on the user but now allows him feel better because of "doing something green". Plus Nokia can now run a PR company full of impressive numbers on energy saving and reducing the environmental effect.

Yes, impressive numbers. To actually estimate anything you have to run the numbers.

Numbers don't lie.

Suppose we have a Nokia charger in standby plugged in for a full year and consuming 30 milliwatts. Just the worst case waste scenario.

Every day the charger will consume 0,03 watts by 86400 seconds (number of seconds in a day) which totals 2592 joules.

Now when you multiply that by the number of days in a year and then by the estimated number of chargers out there the result is very impressive.

Except that the number alone is meaningless. You have to compare it with something and see if it makes any sense.

Let's pretend that each day you will take the stairs instead of using an elevator. Let's assume your weight is 60 kilograms and you go three meters up. This makes you spend at least 3 meters by 60 kilograms by 9,8 meters per second 2 (gravitational acceleration) which totals 1764 joules.

You see, the elevator will not need to use that energy because you took the stairs.

Climb up two floors up and you totally offset the energy saving of the unplugged charger. Plus now you've got some physical exercise and you have better chances of not needing a heart surgery and a ton of drugs which are not that environmentally friendly.

Which will you choose – to do something stupid and protect the environment or to do something useful and protect the environment?

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