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Home Power

Date: 08-26-03
Host: George Noory
Guests: Richard Perez, Scott Rubins, Evan Shapiro

"Technology has given us the ability to make electrical power anywhere, on any rooftop or in any backyard," said Richard Perez, the publisher of Home Power(1). Perez, who was Tuesday's main guest, has been living off the grid since 1970, in a remote mountainous area in Oregon.

The current power grid is an overtaxed and aging system he pointed out. Rather than sink more money into it, he argued for the use of home power through solar panels. These panels, either mounted on a roof or the ground, produce energy through their photovoltaic cells that is stored in large batteries. Interestingly, when the batteries reach capacity, the power can be fed back into the standard electrical grid, and a residents' electric meter will actually spin backwards, Perez explained. Another bonus of this situation, he said, is that the excess power can be distributed locally to neighbor's homes, alleviating the expensive process of sending electricity long distances along power lines.

While not everyone may be ready to convert to solar power, Perez advocated for more efficient usage of home appliances. For instance, he pointed out if your refrigerator is more than five years old, a newer one would use up only half as much energy, because of the Energy Star regulations that have gone into effect on newer models. Incandescent light bulbs can be replaced by compact fluorescent bulbs which burn cooler and have a far longer life span, he noted. Perez also discussed "phantom loads," i.e. electronic devices with remote controls that are always on, thus sucking up small amounts of power. While the cost per household is small, on a grand scale across America, if these were turned off when not being used "we could eliminate 4-6 coal plants," he said. He suggested plugging such items into a power strip that could be conveniently turned off when not in use.


Bumper Music

Bumper music from Tuesday August 26, 2003

  • Layla
    Derek & The Dominos
  • Layla
    Derek & the Dominos

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