A friend of mine is an engineer. And a physicist. He is very clever and always does his calculations about everything. I admire him greatly. Being a mathematician, I cannot always follow his procedures, but I am sure he always does his calculations correctly.

A short time ago, he annoyed me. He showed me his calculation proving you need less than the amount of petrol that fits into a schnapps glass in order to accelerate a big BMW from zero to 150 km/h. Which is basically negligible.

Now, however, he showed me a totally different calculation. He added up what energy his family consumes. They are four: parents and two grown-up children. To be sure, they have three cars, but other than that, they live relatively reasonably. The result of his computation showed 0.1 gig watt hours per year. It came as a surprise for him, as well.
Now I find it hard to imagine what exactly one gigawatt is. Also, I do not know if the computation is correct. For me, this is a little like the billions for the banks.

However, it sounds like much, probably far too much. Above all, my friend was disappointed when he realized how little of all these 0.1 gigawatts are used for illumination. And that economizing in that area by outlawing conventional electric bulbs will have practically no effect at all with respect to his consumption.

Incidentally, he, too, believes that banning conventional electric bulbs is a step in the totally wrong direction. Energy saving light bulbs will soon be substituted by LEDs, anyway.  They are produced by the semi-conductor industry who have now really woken up since conventional electric bulbs were banned on an EU-wide scale.

Now they will really jump into the breeches. In the long run, they will damage the business for all European light production companies.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
We have already published two other articles about the ban of conventional light bulbs in the IF blog. One by Edwin and one by me.

8 Kommentare zu ““0.1 Gigawatt Per Family!” or “We Economize on Light Bulbs””

  1. Chris Wood (Friday January 29th, 2010)

    Roland, I was also a mathematician. But it is still instantly clear to me that “0,1 Gigawatt pro Jahr” is nonsense. You have surely added “pro Jahr”.
    I pay about 14 Ct/kWh for electricity; (industry pays less). So it is easy to calculate that 0.1 Gigawatt would cost about €24*365*14*1000 pro Jahr, if it were all electric power (=€122640). Of course gas and petrol are less expensive power sources. You did not make clear whether food (and clothing), and the cost of delivering them to the shops, were included in his calculation. Or perhaps he forgot about heating?
    Even if he included everything, 0,1 Gigawatt seems a bit high to me.

  2. rd (Friday January 29th, 2010)

    Hi Chris, verstehe ich nicht. O,1 Gigawatt sind 100 Mega oder 100.000 Kilo. Und 14 Cent pro Kilo ergeben 14.000 Euro pro Jahr. Und das ist doch für einen wohlhabenden Mitteleuropäer mit Familie ganz plausibel.

    RMD

  3. rd (Friday January 29th, 2010)

    Ok, jetzt verstehe ich. Ich hätte formal korrekt Stunden hinzufügen sollen und nicht den volkstümlichen Gebrauch von Kilowatt für Kilowatt/Stunde etc. nutzen sollen. Schon in der Schule sind wir vom Physiklehrer getadelt worden, wenn wir schlampiger Weise von Kilowatt gesprochen und Kilowatt je Stunde gemeint haben. Mea culpa.

    Aber ich glaube, jeder weiß was gemeint ist.

    RMD

  4. Chris Wood (Friday January 29th, 2010)

    Roland, I always thought that these things like kilo, mega, giga, etc go up in 1000 factors, not 100? But, being in the IT business, perhaps you know better.
    In fact my electricity costs over twice as much as 14 cents. I was looking at an old bill, and forgot about the base price and tax.

  5. rd (Friday January 29th, 2010)

    Natürlich ist der Faktor 1000.

    1 Kilowatt(stunde) entspricht 1000 Watt(stunden)
    1 Mega entspricht 1000 Kilo
    1 Giga entspricht 1000 Mega
    0,1 Giga entspricht 100 Mega
    also
    0,1 Giga 100.000 Kilo

    Notabene:

    1 Kilogramm entspricht 1000 Gramm

    Zu den 14.000 EURO: Vielleicht sind die KW aus Diesel billiger als aus der Steckdose? Wie gesagt, von 0 auf 150 km/h mit einem (kleinen) Schnapsglas.

  6. wl (Saturday January 30th, 2010)

    http://leifi.physik.uni-muenchen.de/web_ph08_g8/umwelt_technik/04huber/huber.htm
    eine nützliche Quelle aus der Schule “Familie Huber” berechnet, dass ihr Stromjahresverbrauch ebenso hoch ist wie ihr Energieverbrauch bei der Flug-Urlaubsreise.
    Auch alle anderen Fragen zu GWh und tSke werden da geklärt. 0,1 GWh per anno sind für große Famlien schon möglich. Allerdings ergäbe sich bei 0,1 GWatt auf einer Freileitung von 380 kV noch eine Stromstärke von 260 A und das wären etwa 10% der Leistung vom KKW Gundremmingen.

  7. Chris Wood (Sunday January 31st, 2010)

    If I make sarcastic comments, I should be careful to get them right. I made as many mistakes as Roland. He has now changed “Gigawatt” to “Gigawatt(stunden)” in his posting. Being better at science than at bookkeeping, I find the unit “Gigawatthours per year” as perverse as yards, feet and inches. That’s why I did not realise what Roland meant.
    He still needs to clarify whether heating, food, clothing, etc. were included in the calculation. Perhaps even more significant is the energy unavoidably lost in the power station, (which is the main reason why electric energy costs more than diesel). Also what about the energy needed to build the three cars?

  8. rd (Sunday January 31st, 2010)

    Hi Chris,

    mein “Ingenieur-Freund” hat ganz gerade aus den Verbrauch seiner Familie von Energie (Elektrizität, Öl, Kohle …) berechnet, also Dinge wie Verkehr (individual und öffentlich), Heizung, Haushaltsbedarf usw. genommen. Die Resultate hat er in Anzahl Kilowattstunden umgewandelt und dann summiert.

    Er hat aber keinen indirekten Energieeinsatz zur Erzeugung von Kleidung, Nahrung, Verpackung, Transport, Wohnungsbau oder ähnlichem oder auch Transportverluste von Energie (Strom durch Leitung) in die Rechnung einbezogen.

    Wenn man das machen würde, käme man wahrscheinlich darauf, das wir in Europa den überwiegenden Teil unseres Einkommens für Energie (und da wiederum vor allem für fossile) ausgeben würden. Das ist Ausbeutung von Natur und dritter Welt.

    Ich mache Euch gerne mal bekannt, ich glaube, Ihr würdet Euch sehr gut verstehen.

    RMD

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