We interrupt our regular programming for a brief rant.
UC Berkeley is taking some new steps to reduce energy consumption. This is great and I am very happy to hear it. Part of the program is real-time monitoring of electricity consumption by various campus buildings, which you can view on the myPower website. For example, I learned from this website that Evans Hall, of which the math department occupies the top floors, uses about 160 kW at night and a peak of about 360 kW in the middle of a weekday. (I am guessing that much of the 160 kW comes from IT servers in the lower floors of the building.)
The funny thing is that the lobby of Evans Hall now has a desktop computer attached to a very large monitor displaying the real-time power consumption graph for the building for the last seven days. I guess this is supposed to motivate us to try to save energy, although I don’t know why one couldn’t do the same thing with some posters. Anyway, based on unreliable internet research, I estimate that the computer plus monitor consumes at least 200 watts. That is, on the order of 0.1 percent of the electricity consumption of the building. This seems like kind of an inconsistent message, don’t you think?
In addition, because the monitor is widescreen and the energy consumption graph is a square, about half of the screen is covered by empty gray space.
Since nobody asked me, here are my top three suggestions for reducing campus (not coming for free out of the sky) energy consumption:
1) Install solar panels.
2) Install more solar panels.
3) Install still more solar panels.