From: "Prime Minister/Premier ministre"
Dear Mr. Tung :
How to reduce household emission?
Kyoto accord also requires household to reduce emission. Each home nowadays gives burden to the hydro company without knowledge. For example, manufacturers want people to have a little convenience to use the remote to turn TV on and off from the couch instead of walking a few step to turn it off by hand. This TV is at low power mode when it is at off state. It looks like completely off, but it isnít; there is a small computer running year round just for a little laziness of people. Follow the same pattern are your VCR, DVD, satellite receiver, radio, computer, monitor, printer, lamp, microwave, security system, fax, telephone, refrigerator, air-conditioner, range, and etc and etc. Scientist said in the near future, thousands of Internet IP numbers would allocate to every square meter of the earth surface. Manufacturers are putting lots of unnecessary feature that wonít serve much purpose to attract purchaser. For example, an Internet accessible refrigerator, would you really need to access your refrigerator through Internet? Auto feature is always on standby mode. It is not a true switched off feature. Lots of these little convenience accumulated will consume lots of power without noticing. This unnecessary power consumption is continues year round. It eventually gives burden to the electric companies by every household.
Many office buildings do not turn off the light at night. It is a waste of energy. Many birds killed by hitting their glass windows.
On purchasing a new house, builders usually include a cheap gas furnace and a rental gas water heater. Air conditioning is not included. The water heater belongs to the gas company. They collect a small rental fee monthly. Many new-home owners have no objection because they do not understand that they are paying a much higher bill in the long run. This kind of underground deal between builder and gas company does not obtain consent from new house owner. The builders get free installations from gas company can reduce his building cost. The gas company obtained a long-term rental contract with little effort plus a sure client. The end users donít know what the consequences are anyway. This kind of business ethics is unfair to consumer. It is one of the main reasons of contributing high carbon dioxide emission.
In the 70ís when I join Ontario Hydro to work in the Dobson Research Laboratory, they were researching many state of the art environmental friendly devices, such as heat pump, solar energy water heater, solar battery, wind turbine, and many nice things. These things cannot put into practical use is not because of inferior quality. It is because of unfair competition offered by gas companies. Below is my own experience:
Ontario Hydro told people installation of heat pump would pay installation cost of $3000 on money saved in 6 years time. Then the rest of its life will be savings. Hydro assumes heat pump has a life expectancy of 15 years, which is later proven under estimated. Heat pump is a zero emission device. In winter, at temperature above minus ten degree, the atmosphere contains quite an optimal amount of heat, which can be extracted to heat up the house. At temperature below minus ten, auxiliary heating is required. This circumstance happens only a few days per year. Heat pump is a heat-moving device, which can bring the heat from outdoor to indoor. It is, in fact, is an air conditioner working in reverse mode. In summer, it automatically switches into an air conditioner. It is more efficient than a furnace because it does not generate the heat, it just move the heat around. There are different types of heat pump, some of them use ground water to heat up or cool down the house.
When I purchase my new house in 1980, I notified my gas company to remove my rental. I installed heat pump in 1982. It has been working fine for twenty-four years with only minor repairs. These minor repairs were later proven to be design flaw. My heat pump has exceeded its life expectancy by 9 years by the time I wrote this article in July 2006. I expect it would serve me another fold of life. Heat pump gives very gentle temperature. It does not give you the burning heat as furnace does. Once you programmed the temperature setting, it will give you year round comfortable temperature with no attention. The comfort you can experience is superior. The price difference of manufacturing heat pump compared to air-conditioner is about 30 dollars. Heat pump has a reverse switch, and an outdoor temperature sensor which air-conditioner does not need. Most manufacturers want unreasonable price on heat pump, because it is not a standard feature under mass production. Manufacturer explains heat pump cost more money because it requires a more rugged compressor. This explanation convinced consumers. Many installer advised customer avoid using heat pump is influenced by price, and myth. You might think I am absurd if I advise you that a car driven year round would need a more rugged engine than a car driven only in summer, or if I tell you a car have a reverse gear will be double the price of a car which can driven only forward. Heat pump has been well accepted in the commercial sector, because corporations are more aware of operating cost. Heat pump gives less trouble than air conditioner because it does not sit idle in winter. Anything that sits idle can rust out quicker.
Government is subsidizing consumers to replace their air conditioner to models which use new type of Freon, on finding old type of Freon is environmental harmful. I seriously advise government of Canada to stop this subsidizing immediately, because it would encourage consumers to replace their air conditioner prior to failure. Old type of Freon is enclosed in the air conditioner cannot release to the atmosphere to do harm. There is no immediate danger. Disassembling of compressor would release some of the gas to the atmosphere no matter how careful you are. 90% of airs cooling equipment failures are not on compressor. It fact, compressor has a longer life than you can expect. Many failures are on contactors, timers, fan motors, computer and etc. Premature replacement will create more garbage. Replacement of minor parts to extend life until compressor failure is most environmental friendly.
If the gas furnace and water heater is not standard in the purchase of a new house, the purchaser could have the option to purchase heat pump, solar water heater, and solar battery as his option. These products do not sell in the consumer sector has the following reason:
Putting green house, garden, planting trees, install solar panels can make indoor cooler in summer, warmer in winter. Installing water solar panel is like wearing a water jacket on the roof. Solar battery panel can absorb sun energy and convert it into electric energy. All of these nice features could co-exist in the same building. Existing roof design is non-environmental. Asphalt shingle has a life expectancy of 20 years. Re-roofing generate lots of building material garbage. Poor roof insulation makes air-conditioning difficult in summer, and heat lost in winter.
There is law that rental apartment must set temperature above 23 degrees. Many old apartments are too warm because they do not have separate temperature control. Tenants simply open windows to let cool air in. It is a serious waste of energy. Government should change law to lower the temperature to 20 degrees. Three degrees difference can save lots of energy. Old building must renovate to have separate thermostat on every apartment.
To reduce these non-visible emissions at home is beyond the ability of individual. If emissions are caused by ethics of merchants, it must be the duty of government to regulate them. The following are some suggestions: