Common Sense Solutions

Although I didn’t bother to watch Obama’s oil spill speech because I doubted it would be little more than political posturing, I did see a few seconds on the national news.  And that clip confirmed my thinking about political posturing.  Because in that clip Obama talked about energy conservation.  (Yawn)…….. borrrr-ring!

It’s been known since at least the late 70’s that the U.S. is way too dependent on oil. There’s been a lot of talk over 30 years about reducing that dependency.  Lotsa talk, but little walk.

We talk about energy conservation but then ride around in SUVs. Yep, that’s a real good way to conserve energy, isn’t it? And when gas hit $5 a gallon some folks reacted as if high gas prices were some sort of Bigfoot – just a myth that could not possibly be real.

Interesting what happens when myth becomes reality. Suddenly, gas efficient vehicles were in demand. Even scooters. But after gas prices dropped back down to “acceptable” prices, the SUVs literally came roaring back.

I miss $4 gas; it was the only time I ever regularly passed SUVs because they were trying to squeeze out every mile from a gallon by driving below the speed limit. But I know… we all know… that high gas prices will be back.  Just like the Terminator.  And everyone will be surprised…again.

About 50 miles from where I live is the world’s largest and most technologically advanced wood pellet production plant.  These pellets are burned in coal-based power plants, reducing coal consumption by 20% and thereby reducing C02 emissions that contribute to the greenhouse effect.

Guess how much pollution reduction this plant is achieving in the U.S.?  Absolutely zero. The entire production of the facility, which is owned by a Swedish corporation, is shipped to Europe.

Why are those pellets not used in the U.S.?  Because the U.S. did not sign the Kyoto Protocols and the Europeans did. So they need those pellets to reduce the C02 emissions. (Don’t worry, I’m sure the U.S. is taking up the slack in ensuring that polar bears become extinct.)

Some folks say that the Energy Star program is promoting energy conservation. But as one of the more gluttonous oil consuming countries, shouldn’t we be conserving more than others?  We are not.

In 2006, the minimum SEER rating in the U.S. was raised from 10 to 13.  Many other countries require a minimum of 18.  So who is serious about energy conservation? The U.S. or….?

With summer upon us unfortunate Floridians (who suffer both the heat and the humidity), my thoughts are on air conditioning.  Especially after too many days of consecutive temperatures between 95 and 100.

Coincidentally, a company involved in energy conservation with air conditioners is in my backyard. (Well, maybe 5 miles from my back yard.) Unsurprisingly, it is not an American company. It is a Danish and Australian venture which produces “inverter” compressors for AC units.

AC units with “normal” compressors are always running at a fixed RPM when they are operating.  While there are “variable speed” fans for air handling, that is not the case with the compressor. And since the compressor is the energy hog in an AC unit, that fixed RPM is expensive.

The “inverter” compressor which Danfoss-Turbocor produces can operate at variable speeds.  Anywhere from 0 to 40,000 RPM. And the shaft is suspended in a magnetic field so there’s almost no friction and it needs no oil. How cool  😉 is that?

Now, guess how many residential AC units in the U.S. have an inverter compressor? No surprise….none!  With commercial buildings, it is an underwhelming 10%.

You’d think that the company could easily sell its entire production to American companies. But half its production goes overseas.

In Europe, about 25% of residential AC units use inverter compressors and it is now the “standard” technology there.  By the end of this year, 30% of all commercial compressors in China will be inverter type.

So tell me, just how serious is this country about reducing oil dependency?  I’d say it’s lotsa talk and little walk.

And for the folks who think Obama has messed up in dealing the Deepwater Horizon mess, here’s where the disaster really originated:

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14 responses to “Common Sense Solutions

  1. You were right about the speech. It was (being kind)…insubstantial. It may not surprise you to know that I have a few (!) words to say on the subject myself.

  2. I’m too small to understand it I guess, cause it seems to me we need action now and rhetoric later.

    We can try the previous administrations who failed to enact energy legislation after we clean up the oil in the gulf today.

    But like I say its probably ok for leaders to go sailing and watch baseball games and get their lives back as long as they throw money at the problem and let the small people worry about the details.

    • > its probably ok for leaders to go sailing and watch
      > baseball games and get their lives back as long
      > as they throw money at the problem and let the
      > small people worry about the details.

      I am confident that the historical record will show that your statement has been the SOP in most cases. Why should it be different now?

      You do realize that the “small people” phrase was most likely nothing more than an innocent mistake by someone whose first language is not English?

  3. I am in agreement with Fakename. The speech was worthless. I am still trying to figure out what the hell al-Qaeda had to do with th oil spill.

    This is a great blog by the way. Did you see that Congressman apologize to BP for Obama’s 20 billion shakedown?

  4. > see that Congressman apologize to BP for Obama’s 20 billion shakedown?

    Yes; and then he apologized for apologizing. What a gutless jerk…

  5. “I am confident that the historical record will show that your statement has been the SOP in most cases. Why should it be different now?”

    It should be different now because centuries of previous mistakes should have heightened our awareness.

    We are now enlightened enough to provide healthcare to our citizens which we never even considered until the twentieth century. We should be enlightened enough to see that this oil spill is going to kill the gulf unless its removed and that at this moment in time is crucial to life on this planet. It is not rhetoric we need but action. Not blame, there is plenty of time after we clean it up to shoot all the perps, now we need to clean up.

    Next week I will go to Ft Walton and stay as long as I can help. Many are doing that. Talking is pointless.

  6. It’s been poor choice after poor choice on this.

    Sadly, no yachtsmen will suffer for this, though that is where the responsibility lies.

  7. “You do realize that the “small people” phrase was most likely nothing more than an innocent mistake by someone whose first language is not English?”

    You know, no one except Svanberg will ever really know what was in his head when he said that. Post screwup damage control is SOP.

    The thing is, Board chairs are supposed to represent their companies to the world and be good stewards of the company’s assets. They have zero wiggle room. If they can’t speak the language then they should be precisely scripted.

    He failed!

    • We get enough “scripting” from too many folks. I suggest they speak their native language and have a translator. Then, they can blame the translator if there’s a mistranslation!

      I saw Barnacle Bill’s here advertising 4 dozen oysters for $16.99. That’s a deal!

      Apparently, folks are afraid the Gulf seafood may be contaminated and are staying away. That’s certainly in my mind….

      How much do you think BP will pay Barnacle Bill’s for losses?

  8. He failed….after a 20 billion dollar ransom…..he’s toast……I think BP will fail too. I don’t see how they can survive. Remember you heard it here first.

  9. On an entirely different note yesterday I was driving past Caracolillo Coffee and stopped in to pick some up. It was fun and the coffee is good. I don’t know if its much cheaper than Gevalia, as I thought it might be, for its beans not ground (as I have been getting Gevalia) and would require more brain cells to compute than I care to spend on it.

    But my first cup of Sumatra Mandheling is quite good this morning.

    Thanks for the tip

    • You’re saving….

      Gevalia doesn’t have Sumatra, so I compared Kenya and Gevalia wants $7.55 for beans while Caracolillo wants $6.25. Plus, I suspect Gevalia shipping is more than sales tax you pay for purchase in Florida.

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