Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Powerplug turn-offs ineffective, possibly unsafe

Posted by Dave Bath on 2008-07-16

Any recommendations to the public about lowering carbon emissions by turning appliances off at the switch will have limited effect until this becomes practical, and there is an easy way to achieve this akin to phasing out incandescent light bulbs, so there is nothing novel in my following suggestion:

Require all appliances to have an easily accessible on/off switch near the front of the device rather than merely a "standby" button.

How many powerpoints are inaccessible because they are low and tucked away behind TV cabinets and/or bookshelves?  Most of them.  This is a good thing, because the most environmentally-aware group in society are children, who should not have ready access to powerpoints.  Can the proverbial little old lady with a bad back or multiple hip replacements get to these powerpoints?  No.

The other child-safety issue is that TVs are the most dangerous items (from frequency of severe injuries) in most households because they are so easy to tip over – something that will only become more common if children are steadying themselves on the TV or cabinet with one hand while reaching around the back with the other to get at the switch.

It’s not as if power to clocks inside TV’s, video recorders and digital set-top boxes cannot be powered (at least for quite a few weeks) by a simple capacitor, and configuration settings stored in flash memory.

It’s not as if power switches on appliances are bleeding-edge technology, expensive, or will meet customer resistance.

It’s not as if governments have any legislative, philosophical or political difficulty banning energy-hungry products… even the Howard government acted on light bulbs, and will require greater efficiency of TV sets (which will promote LCD screens rather than plasma pigs).

It’s not as if such regulations take any time to develop – it’s not difficult to develop the wording.

It’s not as if manufacturers are loath to introduce new features into electronic gadgetry.


2 Responses to “Powerplug turn-offs ineffective, possibly unsafe”

  1. zombinol said

    It’s not as if the majority of power consumption does not occur in the domestic market.

    It’s not as if Industry could use electricity more efficiently.

    It’s not as if the insane proliferation of energy hungry computer servers and storage arrays could be controlled by responsible buyers like government.

    It’s not as if more consumption services the national debt.

    It’s not s if we really need to burn brown coal.

    It’s not as if any government any where ever cared.

  2. Dave Bath said

    Any government???

    Ahem…. This points to data (much of it from the CIA) indicating ONE country (and only one) meets both UNDP minimum human development and environmental requirements. Data a bit old, but this the following speech is more recent, and less data-intensive….

    Take the following snippet from “New Economics Foundation”, part of this speech….
    "We can learn from Cuba, nef tells the UN"
    Cuba has already faced the energy, climate and credit crunch, and we can learn from their experience nef policy director, Andrew Simms, told a special session of the UN on the impact of climate change on human development.

    The success of small farms, and urban farms and gardens was at the heart of the transistion after 1990, when Cuban oil imports dropped by more than half, and the use of chemicals and fertilisers dropped by 80 per cent. Immediate crisis was averted by food programmes that targetted the most vulnerable, and a rationing programme that guaranteed a minimum amount of food to everyone. The threat of serious food shortages was overome within five years, demonstrating that is it possible to feed a population under extreme economic stress, with very few fossil fuels.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: