Saturday, October 15, 2011

Power Outage: Using less electricity...

If you've been following my Belize saga, let me report that the train stopped, this time, and fortunately.  The wind came up and blew in colder water which drove down the water temperature to the high 80°'s.  Then it started raining (we're in the middle of a large low pressure system that is leading to periodic downpours and squalls).  This has further cooled the water and the coral bleaching has stopped--for now.

But then again, so has the electricity made by our solar panels!  This morning the power went out.  

The marine lab has both a wind turbine and a number of large solar panels to generate electricity.  As we were introduced to the place by the station manager he told us about their conservation ethic.  There are few lights (all compact florescent or florescent) and no hot water (it's not needed).  Fans are used sparingly.  

We did however bring a lot of iPods, speakers, and computers (all required for research--several of my student groups are doing playback experiments to lizards and birds to study communication and predation risk assessment) and some more fans (to keep us cool) and somehow, for the first time in recent history, used up all the power!

Ironically, we're really doing a good job conserving power (using fans sparingly--OK not that sparingly when it felt like 100°F, but generally sparingly, using few lights) so this is a real wake-up to me and is a wake-up call to the power that computers and fans can use!

Discussion Topic
What, if anything, are you doing to conserve power?  What can you easily do to use even less?  Have you thought about solar panels?  How would they work to help you generate power?  How would you use power if you were generating it all yourself.

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