Energy Efficiency and Phantom Load

Energy Efficiency and Phantom Load

A few weeks ago I attended the ORNL Sustainability Summit with the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and agreed to participate in the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation’s (TDEC) Office of Energy Programs (OEP) new outreach and awareness campaign designed to reduce unnecessary “phantom” plug loads. To read more from the E.D.G.E. program, visit the Tennessee Energy Education Initiative’s page on the program. If you don’t know, “phantom load” is otherwise known as “vampire power” because it comes from your appliances, lamps, or other electrical appliances that are turned off, yet still “suck” power and increase your energy bill in the process. It was a pretty simple process. I was given a Kill-A-Watt meter and asked to record five different household devices while they were in standby mode. I chose things that were the most convenient to unplug and plug, such as my Iphone 5 charger, my VOX Guitar Amplifier, Mr. Coffee Coffeemaker, Samsung Clothes Washer, and a Sony DVD Player/Stereo. I have to say that was pretty shocked the most by the VOX Guitar Amplifier. The VOX on standby used 31.2 watts, equaling to 273.31 phantom kW hours per year (8,760) and equaled almost $30/year in energy cost. Considering that I have two guitar amplifiers plugged in at all times, I was wasting around $60/year just on those two devices. That’s $5/month and not even accounting for how much they use when I’m playing them. My full results were as follows: In one year, taking this into account and then just adding in the other guitar amplifier, I was throwing $6/month down the drain. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, consider the fact this is for devices that I’m not even using. They aren’t even on. Now add in all my televisions, my computers, my refrigerator, dryer. Can you imagine what the total amount could be? The amplifier led me to direct a question to a friend at the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), who said he wasn’t shocked because guitar amplifiers are small niche that currently don’t have standards like most appliances, but that external power supplies might help. I’ll admit that I have worked on energy efficiency issues for more than 6 years and I’ve always been a bit skeptical about some claims. I’ve also been skeptical concerning the upfront costs that a lot of efficiency programs require, and have always pushed for policies that help those most effected by high energy bills, but don’t have the capital to do anything about it. Focusing on phantom load requires no cost at all and I was completely shocked at the amount of money I was wasting. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) says that on average, 7.5...

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Tennessee Democrats need to look to past and future…change

Tennessee Democrats need to look to past and future…change

As October rolls upon us, so does the next Tennessee election cycle. Most notably, a U.S Senate race, a state gubernatorial race, and numbers of additional state and local seat races. In recent years, the Tennessee Democratic Party has suffered crushing defeats in relevant races. Is the party willing to change? Are there new Democrats out there that need to be brought in? What do Democrats need to do to reverse the current “losers” label it now projects, or even worse, as J.R. Lind points out in his post, Weekly Obsession: Lowe Finney and tales of future past. The Tennessee Democratic Party is such a desolate wasteland that its future has now become its past, and its past is now its present. And its present is about as exciting as a rewrapped package of socks under the Christmas tree. Pretty harsh, but if recent elections are any indication, very true. The South for Democrats is a different place now. Many so-called Reagan Democrats have left the party for more moderate Republicans like Senator Corker or are waiting for a Tennessee Democrat who shares their values. It’s the new politics of the South and Tennessee Democrats have had a terrible time adjusting.  Tennessee Democrats learn to become Tennessee democrats. Big T, little d! An article in the the Chattanooga Times Free Press, “Tennessee Democrats ready to rumble but unclear of target: Republicans or fellow Democrats” highlighted the current division in the party. Current Democratic Party Chairman has been chided by many for being “too conservative”. The label of “too conservative” has caused divisiveness among some state party leaders it appears. During the meeting, the Finance Committee chairman, Jerry Maynard, of Nashville, and vice chairwoman, Mary Patterson, of Mount Juliet, resigned, citing disagreements with Herron. And just yesterday, Kevin Teets, the executive director of the party stepped down. Democrats currently are at a 13-20 seat and 34-64 seat majority in the state legislature. That isn’t even close to a working minority. Do folks chiding current Chairman Herron’s new way or new perspective realize that while they might have kept raising money, they weren’t winning elections? Moderate or conservative Democrats aren’t engaged. They don’t become involved in local politics more and more because it appears that they don’t have a place or say in the current state or majority of local party matters. Moderates see a Senator Corker and believe him to be a sensible and smart Senator for the state, so with a lack of viable Democratic candidates, they turn to Republicans. Do moderate Democrats agree with a majority of these moderate Republican’s views or votes? No. But therein lies the point, the Tennessee Democratic Party is filled with those who...

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Senator Jay Rockefeller: A Great Man

I spent the greater part of my time on Capitol Hill, 4 years to be exact, working for whom I consider one of the great Senators of my time. Was he largely outspoken and on the cable news networks every night railing or supporting the political policies of the day? No, but what he was doing was working for the people he represented and making the best decisions he could for the people of West Virginia and the people of this country. I started in his office in 2004 and as most new hill staffers do, got to tag along with him on many trips to his house and to the Capitol and White House. His name aside, what I came to know was a genuine good and caring man and someone I felt honored to work for and be around. He was good to me and he was good to my family. I hate to see him leave, because there aren’t many like him left in the Senate that make the best decisions for their constituents and not what is necessarily politically expedient. Jay Rockefeller, likely the last of a political...

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Shelton Group: Open Letter to Environmental Activists Regarding Utilities

If you follow me on Twitter and get through the tweets about Tennessee football, you will often find that I am very critical of the strategies carried out by most environmental activist with regard to climate change and clean energy. I continue to maintain that a lot could have already been done if activists could get out of their own way, learn how to talk to and NOT AT everyday people about climate change, and recognize the challenges that everyday people face in order to figure out a way to work together. A path forward does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach, in fact, small, incremental steps should have, and could have, already been made. Nothing touches on this more than this open letter to environmental activists from Knoxville-based Shelton Group. It is required reading of anyone interested in seeing a real, constructive path forward toward more clean energy and energy efficiency, especially in the Southeast. Let’s talk to and not at each other, so that everybody wins. An Open Letter to Environmental Activists Regarding Utilities...

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Knoxville News Sentinel: Carly Harrington: SRW adds a male affiliate to its ranks

Eight years ago, a half-dozen women in public relations joined forces to launch SRW & Associates, an association of independent professionals working together. While the faces over the years have changed, its affiliates have always been female. Until now. Clay Crownover recently moved to Knoxville with his family from Washington D.C., where he spent the last decade working in the political, nonprofit and government relations arena. “We liked him, but more importantly we thought he was a good fit with what we do,” said Susan Williams of SRW, touting Crownover’s experience on Congressional Hill and his background in clean energy. “We’re continuously looking for people who complement us and who don’t compete against us.” Crownover, an Auburn University graduate who describes himself as a moderate Democrat, aims to provide strategic communications and political consulting through his business, CFC Strategies. The 33-year-old hopes to focus his work on energy efficiency and education as well as obesity and physical fitness in Tennessee. “I knew there was a connection in the way we saw things despite the gender and political affiliations,” he said. This is Crownover’s second time around in Knoxville. Read the full...

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Crownover Joins SRW

Crownover Joins SRW

Knoxville, TN, June 12, 2012- SRW & Associates – an association of independent public affairs, government, and media relations professionals today announced that Clayton Crownover, owner of CFC Strategies, had joined the firm as an affiliate. Clayton comes to SRW & Associates from the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance and the Alliance to Save Energy in Washington, DC, where he served as the Policy Manager and Government Relations Specialist. During his time at the Alliance, Clayton provided consultation on messaging efforts surrounding federal energy efficiency legislation and successfully advocated before the Legislative and Executive branches on energy efficiency issues, as well as led multiple coalitions. Prior, Clayton served as a Legislative Aide for the then Chairmen of the House Natural Resources Committee, Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.V.), as well as for Senator John D. Rockefeller IV. During this time, he was responsible for a variety of public policy issues, most notably, energy, telecommunications, transportation, and housing issues. “We at SRW are ecstatic that Clayton has joined SRW & Associates,” said Susan Richardson Williams, founder of SRW & Associates.  “Not only is he the first male to join our ranks, but a Democrat who brings a wealth of national experience to the table that will allow us to serve an even more diverse and bipartisan group of clients.” “When my family and I moved back to Knoxville last year, we did so because we felt like it was home for us,” said Clayton Crownover.  “I never expected to be given this type of opportunity once I left Washington, but I knew immediately that SRW was a place that would give me the ability to make not only the city better, but the state as well.” ## SRW & Associates is an association of independent public affairs, government and media relations professionals. We provide consultation and services in a variety of capacities from image management to awareness campaigns, government and community relations to strategic planning, media relations to crisis communications and more. Find more information online (www.srw-associates.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/SRW-Associates/147485238655719?ref=ts), and Twitter...

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