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Trends and Outliers

TIBCO Spotfire's Business Intelligence Blog

12/16
2009

Waste Not, Want Not, But Know More Through Analytics

j0409647 150x150 Waste Not, Want Not, But Know More Through AnalyticsFrom auto tailpipes to stoves to lightbulbs, every day we use more power than we need and waste the excess heat that’s generated.  And you can imagine how much extra heat is lost from industrial-strength facilities and large offices.  But analytics and computers are coming to the rescue.  One federal estimate says as much as two-thirds of the energy we produce is actually wasted.  For instance, more than half the energy it takes to run a car engine just blows out of exhaust pipes and heats the engine compartment.

Power plants emit more waste heat than actual produced electricity.  And the same thing happens at home when heat leaks out or cold air blows in. But even at the family house level, analytics and tools such as Blue Line Innovations and Power House Dynamics are creating opportunities to know more about your energy use.  Monitoring and computer analytics that run on your home PC can identify and analyze power use room by room, even device by device.  Using a sensor that is attached to your electric meter, the gear records how much power is used by always-on items such as refrigerators or water heaters.  It can also spot “phantom power” – even if you think your house isn’t haunted.  Up to 8 percent of a home’s electric bill can be the result of standby power – “zombie-like” devices still drawing current even though they’re turned off.  Some call this “phantom power.”  Examples abound in the LEDs that show your electric toothbrush is charged.  Or how about constant-use in clocks on stoves, wireless phone chargers left in the plug, microwave ovens, VCRs, cable boxes, computers or peripherals in standby mode.

Check out this report by the Federal Energy Management Program on power used by idle electronics – it is great food for thought.

David Wallace
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art

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