At Last! - A Reasoned Counterweight to the Media Eco-Mafia.
Common sense at last! I remain concerned that the 'eco-mafia' - The highly eloquent, highly paid, arts biased opinion formers -Will pull out all the stops to obfuscate the truth and mislead the public.
At heart is a truth that many will not or cannot grasp elementary ideas in the sciences and much prefer a world in-line with their cherrished misconceptions.
Policy based on empiricism
All too often, policy is decided by group-think and because it's a vote winner. It's rare to see policy set using empirical methods to determine what works and what doesn't. This article (and numerous other serious attempts to quantify energy generation) show that nuclear power is the only possible way to meet the government's carbon emission levels target, even though there is no chance of achieving it by 2020. MacKay isn't the only person to state this, the environmentalist Sir James Lovelock has been stating that nuclear energy is the only way to save the planet since 2004.
I imagine that most readers on this web site are smart, technical people, probably with good science education. Therefore I implore you all to write to your MPs to debate future energy policy based on dispassionate analysis of data. Global climate change is a FAR bigger threat than global terrorism, lets get our political representatives to acknowledge that before it's too late.
The Nuclear Paradise Solution
"As he points out, with nuclear there is no energy shortage nor any need to be particularly energy efficient. Cheap lightbulbs and CRT TV's would heat our houses and also give off useful light and entertainment at night, and mercury poison filled CFLs could be consigned to a footnote in history." - Philosopher
So you intend to provide this solution globally do you? And build some 200,000 nuclear power plants to service the world's energy needs.
Iran and Iraq would get 400 each. Another 400 to syria.
Good luck with that....
CF bulbs are too heavy to lift and don't smell right
"As for the energy savers, I have electric water and space heating, reducing the power of lightbulbs is like pissing to put out a volcano." - JonB
Electric water heating will use about as much energy per person as lighting - depending on how much hot water you use. But the numbers are similar in magnitude.
If you have electric space heating then it's all over for you. Huge amounts of power there.
Clearly the primary thing you should change is your source of home heating. Augment with passive solar. Improve the insulation in the house (if not already insulated).
However, since replacing light bulbs is simply a matter of screwing in a more efficient one when the old one dies..... What's your complaint about doing so?
Are the CF's too heavy for you to lift?
Misconceptions and stuff
Pumped Storage: Pumping water up mountains to generate electricity on the way down is just a way of storing energy. You only get back as much as it cost to pump it up, minus a little bit to account for inefficiency (mostly, friction in the bearings and against the pipe walls). The advantage is that it's much quicker to *start* getting electricity out of a pumped-storage station than almost anything else. A sudden increase in demand can be met with stored energy, buying enough time to start up a conventional power station if the demand persists or not if it goes away. Think of it as being like a massive version of the capacitors found across the supply rails of CMOS logic ICs and audio amplifiers!
AC vs DC: In the time of Edison and Tesla, AC was indeed more efficient for power distribution than DC. What has changed since then is the invention of semiconductor electronics, and specifically the switched-mode power supply. Nowadays it's no big deal to change DC into AC at any frequency you like, and back, without losing much.
However, it's almost certain that the electronics industry would never have existed in the first place without widespread adoption of AC distribution. Nor, indeed, without the filament light bulb; from which the vacuum-tube valve is a direct descendant. And nobody would have invented the transistor if there had not already been valves to improve on .....
20% power loss due to wall warts
"I don't however go in for the extreme things promoted by the Greenies (shows bias) like turning off the TV at the wall etc. With modern appliances , the standby power use is bugger all -my TV is less than 1watt." - Bruce Sinton
I have measured the power consumption for various products available to me, and used in my home. TV stand by power utilization I have not measured - but I have measured the power used by various small wall mounted transformers that powre things like telephones, computer speakers, clocks, drill recargers, and other small, low voltage items.
In general they consume 9 watts of power - even when the device they are powering is turned off.
So if you have 11 of them in your home, you are consuming 100 watts of power continuously. 24 hours a day 365 days a year.
100 watts converts to 2.4 kilowatt hours per day.
My total electic consumption is 11 kilowatts per day.
So in my case (I have 9 of those pesky little transformers), about 20% of my power consumption is lost due to losses in the transformers themselves.
To some, common sense is Rocket Science.
""That's about 60 million miles. That's a lot of energy, not a little. Seems to me that if you can reasonably save energy, you should." If everyone in the UK saved 1kWh a year is that a lot of energy? It's over 200 TJ, which sounds like a lot, but it's 1/6000 of our total electricity output, so it might affect the fourth significant figure of our CO2 emissions. To quote Prof MacKay, this is "innumerate codswallop", I personally would use a pithier description." - Sam Tana
Saving 1KWh/year is equivalent to turning off 1 100 watt light bulb for 10 hours.
By switching to CF lighting, most people would save that much every day.
So instead of 1/6000th you save 365/6000ths, or 6% of the total generating capacity of the U.K.
It's not rocket science people....
At a Book on Global warming with Some Numbers
I started to read the article and had to download the draft of the book.
Absolutely brilliant. I've only got about 3/4 through part1 , but so far all the numbers seems to add up. They're all rough estimats, but that's explained in the Preface and it's important to find the order of magnitude of the problem rather the details.
I'm considering sending the link to the to my MP. I expect he believes that turning off al the phone chargers and pc's on standby are all that's required!
I agree with Vendicar, but...
... you've quoted me as disagreeing. I didn't make the "pithier description" comment you "credit" me with; it was Chris Miller - who reminds me of the man who would like to save up £100 but can only afford to put away £1 a week, so he doesn't bother because that's "only" 1/100 of his total goal.
Looking for instant, one-hit solutions to a highly complex problem such as this really is "innumerate codswallop". Clearly we're consuming more energy than the planet can, in the long-term, supply via the sources we're currently exploiting. We need to expand all kinds of supply methods, develop technology *and* reduced demand. If we all cut our individual demand a little bit - even if it's "only" 1/6000 of our total electrical output - that's a contribution to the cause.
It's not whether we should turn off our TVs at night rather than leaving them on stand-by that's the question. That, frankly, is a no-brainer. It's where to draw the line between economy/ecology and inconvenience.
The CO2 output from the prolific village/town home wood and coal fires in Africa, India and China are totally missing from the causes of a rise in CO2.
Giving a low CO2 output to large Asiatic/African countries seriously distorts the data and brings the rest of the information into disrepute. To simply blame the Western countries' Industrial Revolution for ALL of the given 0.00001% rise, (100ppm), since 1850 (See. Fig. 4), is to wear blinkers to what was happening in the rest of the world.
As populations and industrialisation have risen sharply in the above countries, then the use of wood/coal home fires rise proportionally and add to measured world CO2 rises, which some scientists attempt wrongly to apply solely to the US and UK.
A very modern political con trick is to pay a lot of scientists to produce page after page of confusing mumbo-jumbo on minuscule atmospheric changes and then have a hefty rise in taxes, government control and large fines for the crime of existing. A 0.00001% rise in CO2 is the equivalent to pulling a single blade of grass from a lawn and deserves the same level of interest.
20% (1.8m) of Sweden's population live in Stockholm. 15% (9m) of the UK population live in London, with almost as many again inside the M25. Do you still want to continue with your ludicrous argument that the population densities are roughly equal? The reason that there are large areas of Sweden that are lightly populated is not just because they're cold (Stockholm is often less than toasty), but because they're on the side of glacier-capped mountains. That's where the hydroelectricity comes from.
BTW the definition of population density is *precisely* number of people/unit area. If you want to use some other measure, I think you'll have to come up with a new name for it in order to avoid confusion.
PS You can safely ignore postings from Vendicar. S/he is (or has nicked the handle of) a well-known troll, as a Google search will reveal. Hi Scott!
One more try ...
@Sam, I initially said "This doesn't mean that saving energy is wrong" - it is wrong to waste resources, and that includes energy. But my point would have been more accurately represented as trying to save £10,000 by putting aside £1 a week. Now can you see that you'd never live long enough to achieve your goal?
Significant reduction in CO2 output is like trying to save £10,000 - we'll never achieve it by the £1 a week options of switching off standby devices or buying low-energy lightbulbs. We need to save £100 a week by other means - massive nuclear build, breakthrough efficiency improvements in photovoltaics, elimination of 90% of mankind - take your pick.
As Prof MacKay puts it (pithily): "if everyone does a little, we’ll achieve a little."
@Michael de Podesta
Epic fail sir. Epic fail.
You dismiss this fellow's work with just a few anecdotal statements.
But you fail utterly to consider the much broader picture that he is addressing. TOTAL energy consumption per person. That doesn't just include your nice CFFL light bulbs and low standby-power devices at home. Every single mile you travel in a mechanized form of transportation requires huge amounts of evergy. The products you buy,m are in a sense concentrated energy (mostly concentrated fossil fuels) The biggest point made here is that the electrical consumption of devices in our homes is so much less than other things. You have to stop thinking in terms of current electrical consumption and compare everything that consumes energy. Heating water electrically is expensive compared to everything else you run in your home except perhaps an air conditioning system. However compare that to the energy cost of moving yourself and your hunk of metal (car or motorcycle) and you find you're suddenly looking at a different equation. Even is you use public transportation the energy to drive that comes from somewhere. Then there is the industrial and agricultural use of energy in the production of all the products that we consume. The distribution of retail of those products costs energy. If you break everything in life down to it's energy costs (not how much CO2, not how much oil, or coal, or gas or electricity), just the pure energy cost they you remove all the arguments over what fuels to use. Since we know that oil and gas are running out, and will run out, it's fair and safe to assume a world without them.
So, now take present day energy consumption for the 6 billion on Earth and find a way to power just that without oil and gas. Project population growth, allow for marginal increases in energy efficiency and try again. If you want a true insight into what this work does, look at that. Forget the dogma of one fuel verses another and look purely at the energy consumption of everything humans do in the modern age.
In that context CFFL light bulbs are utterly irrelevant (not to mention a significant source of environmental mercury which is a nasty poison and unlike the spent Nuclear fuels, the mercury in CFFL lights largely ends up sitting in broken bulbs in landfill sites, or going through an incinerator and ensing up in the atmosphere. Yummy.
No, you sir have fail to read the article and operate in the same context. Saving a whopping 2% of present generating capacity sounds great until you remove oil and gas (which means some of your generating capacity just disappeared) and then remember that now your transportation network and industry has to run on electricity. The increased demand multiplies the generation capacity needed to sustain the current (not even future) demand for energy. Suddenly that 2% of current capacity looks a lot less significant when it's less than 1% of whatever ridiculous generating capacity is needed to power the UK via electricity.
But, hey, go ahead and dismiss the man and his work simply because you lack the imagination to think beyond your own electrical consumption and dogmatic views on the environment.
Show Your Work
>"If you want statistics, try this: without food imports, 1.6 billion Chinese people must subsist on their own arable land, 1 square foot of which must sustain 7 adults. If half of the Chinese population have a child, this would raise their population from 1.6 billion to 2.0 billion. That same square foot of arable land (nine months later) must sustain *9 adults*. "
Show your work. (No, no, not the having a child part, Paris.) Explain the piece where nine months pass and then there are hundreds of millions of new adults. No wonder they're having trouble feeding everyone...
10 times 1% = 10 precent.
"In that context CFFL light bulbs are utterly irrelevant (not to mention a significant source of environmental mercury which is a nasty poison and unlike the spent Nuclear fuels, the mercury in CFFL lights largely ends up sitting in broken bulbs in landfill sites, or going through an incinerator and ensing up in the atmosphere. Yummy."
Oh, don't worry about the environmental mercury... It's less than what would be emitted into the atmosphere with coal used to power a similar brightness standard bulb. So even when it comes to mercury emissions, CF is generally superior.
You are right on one thing though. CF lighting alone will not solve the problem. But then... WHo said it would?
CF lighting is just part of the solution.
As to transportation, I get from 51 to 70 mpg, depending On where I'm driving.
How about you?
Still to some it's rocket science
"Significant reduction in CO2 output is like trying to save £10,000 - we'll never achieve it by the £1 a week options of switching off standby devices or buying low-energy lightbulbs. We need to save £100 a week by other means - massive nuclear build, breakthrough efficiency improvements in photovoltaics, elimination of 90% of mankind - take your pick." - Chris Miller.
Gee.. How about making products that last twice as long - reducing the need of producing more products by half.
That improves their lifetime energy cost by 50%.
The face is, there are lots of ways to reduce energy consumption.
Reductions in energy consumption of 50% are trivial for most people. Reductions of the required 80 to 90% are going to be more difficult.
The nice thing though, is once you get to around the 70% mark, then dilute sources of energy - solar, wind, become capable of supplying the entire power demand.
It's not rocket science People.
One Chernobyl every 4 months
"Sure Chernobyl in USSR was a disaster, as was almost everything in that mismanaged empire." - Bruce Sinton
Given that a nuclear powered globe would require nations like Ethyopia to have around 400 ot the things, what reassurances does Bruce Sinton offer to convince us that Chornobyl like catastrophy would not also occur in the second and third world nations?
Crocker or Cracker?
"I remain concerned that the 'eco-mafia' " - Grahm Cracker
No doubt you also remain concerned about the saber toothed easter bunny and Santa and his murderous henchmen.
I on the other hand am concerned that the ignorant apes will for some reason choose to remain ignorant.
Already the next generation is lost.
Cement is quite porus Water quit liquid
"encase the fuel slugs in a layer of lead, then stack them down at the bottom of some of those empty oil wells. Once the stack gets within about 1000' (about 305M) of the surface, fill with concrete." - Gary Heston
Wells are wet, and cement is quite porus. The water in the wells will percolate into the cement, dissolve the lead, then dissolve the slugs and carry the waste into the water table.
There have been 160+ posts so far, but I haven't seen any that claim that leaving your TV on standby is a good thing. The siren voices claiming this exist only inside your head - just ignore them. OTOH I have read quite a few posts pointing out that, even if everyone in the world follows this good advice, the effect on CO2 emissions will be trivially small. So, if your goal is to achieve significant reductions in CO2, switching off standby devices is effectively irrelevant (NB this is not the same as saying that it is intrinsically evil, stay with me here).
A couple of tips for constructing future arguments:
a) try to read and understand other people's comments; and
b) try to construct a rational response without resorting to swearing and shouting.
You may then find more people prepared to listen to you.
All the best
>And by turning your TV off, rather than standby, what utility have you lost?
The ability to turn it on from the remote.
>So even if it saves you 1% of your power use
What fantasy land do you live in where standby mode on a telly is 1% of your energy use?
Are you forgetting the energy that you currently get from gas/oil perhaps?
Since, as I mentioned before, I'm 100% electric, going from off to standby isn't even like pissing to put out the volcano, it's like trying to extinguish it with a shake.
I value the 2W standby mode, to the point where I will pay 10p every 500 hours it's on, heck, I'd still pay 20p for it.
My 2p on all of this
To address some of the points made:
- stuff on standby. Yes it may save some power but I then have to switch it on physically at the device or the wall. May as well ask why people don't throw away their remotes and manually change channels?
-Driving. We need legislation on emissions. if the EU made it illegal to sell a new car that pollutes more than X g/km of CO2 then manufacturers would pretty soon make more efficient cars. This is certainly possible:
BMW 530i - 3L 6cy petrol - 182g/km CO2 - 0-62 6.3s 36.7mpg
BMW 535d - 3L 6cy diesel - 178g/km CO2 - 0-62 6.4s 42.2 mpg
Almost identical performance but 16% more efficient for the diesel. Oh and £5k more expensive to buy though.
-Renewables. OK, IIRC energy cannot be created or destroyed, merely transferred from one form to another. So if you take energy out of the wind, slow the streams, intercept sunlight before it warms the earth etc. then what is the long term impact? I don't know, but I am as sure as sure that if turning your TV off standby is significant then taking energy out of the environment must be also.
-Cost. I pay a premium for energy. I pay large amounts of taxes and duties which I am constantly told are to be used to offset the impact of the environmental effects of the fuels I use. I like to be warm, so I have central heating. I like holidays so I fly occasionally. I like to visit my poor, housebound silver haired grandmother who lives 60 miles away from me and I drive there. In short I pay the piper so I call the tune. What the piper does with the money afterwards is not my problem. It might be my grandkids, but I am sure they will turn out to be smarter than me...
I am reminded of one of the best quotes of all time:
"War, war never changes. The end of the world occurred pretty much as we had predicted: Too many humans, not enough space or resources to go around. The details are trivial and pointless, the reasons, as always, purely human ones."
Some fantastic examples of confirmation bias here.
Hundreds of scientists spend decades studying climatology and the geophysics of climate change and get articles published in peer reviewed journals.
But they are obviously part of (a) a government plot to raise taxes, (b) an eco-media-mafia, (c) some sort of green/communist plot to destroy our way of life.
One man writes a book and suddenly all truth and light is revealed. Clearly he has no personal agenda or bias. And obviously he has made no errors in his calculations.
The book is simply another useful (more useful than most newspaper editorials or Bush's mumblings) contribution to the debate on energy policy which, after all, is inevitably about what is politically and economically acceptable as well as the underlying science.
Having read through the downloaded book I don't think Mackay claims to have any unique insight or staggeringly original results, and he does say repeatedly that many of his numbers are estimates and likely to be in error -- and I don't think he shows any strong personal bias, except the one that much of what is said in this area is completely innumerate rubbish (save the planet by unplugging your mobile phone charger etc), which is difficlut to disagree with.
What it does do better than anything else I've seen is to put the whole thing in perspective and give a real insight into how difficult it will be to wean the world off its fossil-fuel tit, and how most of the supposed solutions put forward by governments -- and environmentalists -- don't even come *close* to solving the problem, at least not without implementation on a truly heroic scale.
And it's written in an accessible style which should make it understandable by not just the man in the street, but also journalists and even quite possibly politicians :-)
"- stuff on standby. Yes it may save some power but I then have to switch it on physically at the device or the wall. May as well ask why people don't throw away their remotes and manually change channels?"
A) Why should you? When it's ON you can use the remote to, oh, I dunno, CHANGE CHANNELS.
B) (and this is a particular gripe for me) more and more you can't get ANYTHING done on the front of the device, EVERYTHING useful is on the remote and the remote ONLY. So you should NOT throw it away
C) WHO THE FUCK SAID YOU SHOUD? I didn't. I just told you to get off your flabby pasty white arse and push the power button because all you'll lose is a little red (or worse, that freaking godawful blue) LED. Unless you're REALLY hard up for entertainment, I wouldn't count this as much of a loss of utility.
Re: Dear Mark
But saying it won't help much isn't a reason NOT to do it.
If I give £1000 to children in need, that money won't help much.
So I'll keep it.
If I see someone being mugged, I won't likely be able to help much.
So I'll let it pass.
You've even said yourself NOT "it won't help at all" but "it won't significantly change". But it IS a help. And have you done your calculations? 4W 24/7 compared with watching TV 4/7 means that your TV isn't running at 200W, it's really running at 224W. 10% worse.
How many things on "standby" do you have?
TV. Computer. Kids computer. Answerphone. DVD player. Amp. VHS (for the old stuff you can't get on DVD and for recording). Four or so wall-warts for charging things, alarm clock etc.
You're there in the house and awake 2 hours in the morn and 4 hours evening. Most of the weekend. 40 hours out of 168.
So those 44W are like 180W of useful stuff. Stuff you get use out of. Stuff that if you didn't have, you would see *some* *small* change in lifestyle.
Or 44W you can lose for ZERO change in lifestyle.
Multiply by 20 million housholds.
That's a fair sized power station you don't have to build.
How much does that cost to build?
All denied because it means you change something in your life.
I suppose you're the very model of the modern athletic man leaping from the sofa to change channel?
Why not rig the thing up to an exercise bike? Not doing that? Oh you fat lazy pig.
>If I see someone being mugged, I won't likely be able to help much.
I thought you were some kind of muscle bound He Man from all that leaping to and from the sofa each channel change?
>Four or so wall-warts for charging things, alarm clock etc.
Another superb Markism!
Lets all turn our frigging alarm clocks off once we've woken up then turn them back on and reset the time and alarm each night!
If you don't want to then you must be a lazy pig!
God what a witless twit you truly are.
"If you want statistics, try this: without food imports, 1.6 billion Chinese people must subsist on their own arable land, 1 square foot of which must sustain 7 adults. If half of the Chinese population have a child, this would raise their population from 1.6 billion to 2.0 billion. That same square foot of arable land (nine months later) must sustain *9 adults*. "
Ok, lets look at the maths: 1 square foot must sustain 7 adults, so to sustain 1.6billion adults requires 228571428.6 square feet. There are 27878400 square feet in a square mile, so to feed the entire population of china (not all adults, but we'll let that pass) we need approx 8.2 square miles of arable land. But wait, the population of china will suddenly be 2billion, pushing this requirement to 10.25 square miles of arable land. Hmm seems a bit small. Lets look up the geography of China just to be sure...
China has a land area of 9.5million square km = 3.6million square miles, of which a third is grassland (we'll assume that the grassland is available to be turned into arable land) = 1.2 million sq miles [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geography_of_China]. So just 1/100000 of this is required to feed the entire population.
Excellent, problem solved - according to your maths china could support up to 200 trillion people at 9 adults per square foot arable land, that gives us plenty of headroom.
Did you really mean square feet?
Give it up mate. Kevin and Mark don't do logic or arithmetic. Even when you point out the egregious errors in their rants, they just spout a different set of twaddle and probably call you a lard-arse into the bargain.
I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it.
George Bernard Shaw
Why the hell should I bother with logic when Jon's best argument for "why not turn the telly off" being "cos I can't turn it on with the remote"?
The TV still gets the same picture. Quality is unaffected by how you turn the frigging thing ON.
Given that a ZERO change in utility of the television can save, oh, 0.1% of your bill means a net profit of 0.1%.
It really would be bigger than that.
You're getting your Jon's confused.
>"Jon's best argument for "why not turn the telly off" being "cos I can't turn it on with the remote"?"
Functionality of a telly is more than just the picture, this is why people buy tv's with remotes in the first place, can you even buy one without?
The fact is though that you could recover all the energy ever expended by a TV over its whole lifetime on standby by simply missing one bath. That is the utter futility of your argument.
For my actual telly (A 32" Sony LCD):-
>Power Consumption (Standby) (W) 0.3
So, for that to be 0.1% of my energy consumption, that'd make my total consumption 0.3W * 24hrs * 365 days = 2628 Wh or 2.6Kwh
I pay around 13p average on my leccy so that costs me a whopping 34pence.
(Making the rather generous assumption that I don't turn it on)
Now, how much energy do you think it takes for me to heat enough hot water for a bath?
Now, I, personally like the added benefit of my TV being turn of and on-able from the remote and quite happily pay 34 pence a year for it. I'd happily pay a quid actually.
Shall we do the maths for cooking your dinner?
Perhaps we should all eat fucking salad to save the planet?
You're a freak.
I stated right at the beginning that you can just turn your TV off.
So I should just throw my remote away?
You aren't interested in thinking in case you find by investigation that you're wrong about something.
Your LCD screen may be 0.3 W, but why are you spending 13p just so you don't have to turn the TV on at the switch?
I bet yuo don't even HAVE that TV (it's pretty modern, you buy it a couple of months ago?). I bet you just googled for LCD TV's and got the specs of one that was low.
Even if you have, how many people have such a new TV?
How about your HiFi? CD player? DVD? Computer?
>you buy it a couple of months ago?
Yes, last month in fact.
>Even if you have, how many people have such a new TV?
I know a few people with modern TV's.
>You aren't interested in thinking in case you find by investigation that you're wrong about something.
That's you here isn't it?
The point I'm making (spelling it out now, because you're clearly vvvveeerrryyy ssslllooowww) is that the energy saved by turning the telly off rather than onto standby is so trifling that I've actually consumed more energy explaining it to you than leaving the telly on standby for a year.
My response is that it's so small it doesn't matter, only the truly f'ing stupid would think they're saving the planet by dropping 3kwh/year!
Prof *does* do the stand-by thing himself, and encourages everyone to do so.
Don't delude yourselves my little wing-nut enviro-skeptic geeks - every little DOES help.
Yes, that includes turning off your PC at night and having to reload your tabs (oh noooo! that's like almost as inconvenient as turnng off the power switch in my TV!) and choosing a webhost that is making efforts to reduce their consumption...
my own world
in my world I am living in a house built to the "top" UK standards of the year 2000. This house is conveniently placed on the "British Riviera" and so the climate here is VERY mild compared to the Scandinavian countries for example. Now for quite a few years I have made the rather annoying conclusion that the "modern" house I live in here in the UK actually requires more than three times the energy (heating and electricity) than a house built in the seventies I lived in ten years ago in Sweden. I really have to say that it is quite surprising especially if we remember that the winter in Sweden is not only longer but also significantly colder than the one on the southcoast of the UK. As there is no particular reason for why my current lifestyle would be using three times as much energy as the one I used to have when living in Sweden the main difference seems to be when it comes to insulation of house and central heating system (inclusive water). I am pretty sure that I used a lot of hot water for my bath and shower in Sweden and all the other luxury energy usage as now - also I did use the sauna in the swedish house on a weekly basis and I had eight computers running in a network a lot of the time (I used to do a lot of work from home) - today I only use one computer at home and not very often. I think I could go on and on about how my current energy usage should be much less than what it used to be - but the reality is that at the end of the day - the house I live in makes all the difference. The point is that I would definitively save a lot of money (energy) per year even if all I managed to do was to lower my heating cost to "normal" swedish levels. One would have thought that living in a climate where even the coldest winter nights barely touch freezing point would make it easy. But it seems that there is a systematic incompetence when it comes to building energy efficient houses in the UK. It turns out that the problem is not just insulation, but there are an amazing number of deficiencies in the building when compared to scandinavian built houses. So for example the central heating system is an amazing exercise where the tubes are going through walls uninsulated and in some parts heat the outside of the house - great. Then we have the latest water heating exercise - the hotwater pipes from the boiler - uninsulated through the house - it may be nice that the floor in the bathroom is warm when someone uses the shower but it certainly does not help to constrain the energy requirements for a hot bath... We could go on and on with these issues but as I see it the problem is not simple it is systemic and complex. But for a start it surely would have been nice to live in a house built to swedish standard.... or danish, finnish, norwegian etc...