Getting Used to Some Forced Change

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Several commentators have recently touched on the subject of healthy changes to lifestyle and whether these changes will be accepted. A post a couple of months ago even asked the question directly: “Will Green Changes Stick?”

Well some changes will stick whether people like it or not. One example is the utility company ability to have some control over the energy usage inside your home. There is a new term used in energy conservation, “Daylight Harvesting”. In this plan your lights would be somewhat controlled by the amount of ambient light entering your home. If a room was very bright with daylight, the lights would automatically dim. As it got darker, lights would brighten incrementally. This would be set by you and I suppose could even be overridden under normal circumstances. But the utility company would have some control.

If there was a power shortage, the utility would have the ability to increment lighting and power usage levels down a little bit. There have been similar recent stories about utilities being able to remotely turn your thermostat down a few degrees. This would be used when the utility needs to reduce power usage to prevent brown or black outs. If it seems a bit unsettling to allow some utility company control over your energy usage, I understand. It seems weird to me also. But when you hear how a little change of only a degree or two of temperature or a slight dimming of lights, applied to thousands of homes, would make a big difference, it is hard to argue that this will never be allowed.

Surprisingly there are still many people that spend a lot of heating resources to heat their homes to 70 degrees in the winter and cool them to 70 degrees in the summer. I know our home probably averages 60 degrees in the winter. In the summer we do not use central air conditioning, resorting only to a portable window unit in an upstairs bedroom and the occasional fan elsewhere. We are lucky to live in a hot, but dry climate. If we lived in a humid area like Florida in the summer, we would have no choice but to use central air.

This is why I really do not object to the idea of limited utility company control. The idea is that usage would be lowered a bit across the board. For heating and air conditioning, it would be done without regard to your original setting. If your house was kept at 70 degrees in the winter and your neighbor’s was at 65, they would both be reduced by a small amount. I think this is better than being told today the max you can heat your house to is 63 degrees today, and 62 degrees tomorrow.  Of course once people caught on they would just adjust the initial setting accordingly so once the utility company did its thing, the temp would be right where the homeowner wanted it.

Are you comfortable with relinquishing some control over your household energy use to the utility companies? On first glance it is concerning, but I think we will quickly adjust and warm to the idea once these programs start to be implemented.

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Will Sig
1 nigel

I have to disagree with you a little bit here Will. While I love the idea of self dimming lights, I don’t believe that any utility has the right to control what goes on is your home. What do they do when they have enought power to go around? Turn up you lights and the heat and charge you more money? Keep in mind I live in BC, and our power comes from renewable sources, but what they have done here is brought in tiered rates, so the more you use the more you pay.

Btw, did you get my email?

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2 Bob

Green is here to stay, it has to be, it is getting the big push from all major corporations like the one that owns our mall as well as BOMA.

I have no problem whatsoever in relinquishing some control over to the utility companies, after all it is for the greater good.

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3 Swubird

Will:

It is an irony that making healthful changes in our lifestyles is so difficult to sustain. Personally, I resist the over use of the air conditioner in summer, and the over use of the heater in the winter. As a result, my utility bill is lower than my neighbor’s bill. It’s good for me and good for the planet. Changing things such as a healthy diet is another story all together. Why that is so difficult is a mystery to me. My suggestion, however, would be to address the issue in elementary schools. Schools still teach our kids the basic food pyramid which anyone with the ability to read and think knows is BS at best, and down right life threatening at the other end of the scale.

Happy trails.

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4 Will

I hear the utilities and the lawmakers talking more and more about this idea. I wonder if they made it a voluntary opt-in choice, how many would allow it? So far in this comment thread it seems to be 2 would and 1 would not, with one undecided? 😉

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