Friday, December 28, 2012

Hot Water's New Normal

Opalco is San Juan County's electricity provider. Opalco is one of the most progressive utilities in the country. A recent triple rebate program allowed the Garden House to purchase a heat pump hot water tank.
In this system, hot water is created by extracting the heat in the air and pumping it into the tank's water, which is 60% more efficient than just heating the water with a large electric coil. If every household in America switched to heating hot water via a heat pump hot water system, 118   500 mw coal fired power plants could be taken off line. You get the same hot water, while America sets a leadership bar for the world to follow.

Washing clothes in cold water is a fast, zero cost way to start. Clothes washed in cold water last longer, smell just as clean, and retain brighter colors than clothes washed in hot water, since hot water, along with soap and agitation, is much more abrasive. Clothes washed in cold water use 90% less electricity; 10% of the electricity runs the washing machine, while 90% heats the water. All that hot water is waste, since it buys you nothing but a larger electric bill, clothes that wear out sooner and look faded, and much more carbon in the sky. If everyone in America just pushed the "cold" water temperature setting when washing his/her clothes, sheets and towels, (figuring 4 loads a week at 4 kilowatt hours per load just for the hot water) 32   500 mw coal fired power plants would not have to run 24/7. They would not have to run at all. They could go in the "old technology" museum, along with rotary phones and horseshoes.

Habits are hard to change, especially when they never went through a conscious process on the way to becoming automatic. Next time you are running a load of laundry, stretch that mind. Press the cold water option and live on the new, wild, 21st century side.

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