Some burning eco-questions – part 5

I thought it’s about time I posted other three eco-questions
here, after a long pause. I had to catch up with a big pile of journals on my
desk, which needed screening for the database among other work we do here at
Cabi

I’m sure these three questions are in many hand picked
readers’ minds…Read on to find out what they are.

If I turn my
appliances off but don’t unplug them will they still use up some electricity?

The simple answer is no. That also applies even if the plug
is switched on or if the socket has Electricityno on/off switch. There are exceptions though,
appliances with a standby mode, which include most battery chargers are still
using electricity. As a rule of thumb, if there is a light on, a clock ticking
or the transformer feels warm, it means electricity is being used and this can
be a substantial proportion of the amount the appliances consumes when in use.
For example, a TV set-top box, uses around 18 watts while it is on and almost
17 watts on standby, therefore, well worse switching off and saving some energy
and money. 

 

Is it better to buy
an eco-friendly car, with all the energy that is needed to produce it, or just
run my old banger into the ground?

According to the Environmental Transport Association-ETA,
by the time the average new car leaves the showroom, tHybrid cars2he whole process to take
it there, i.e. designing, manufacturing and marketing have amounted to 6 tonnes
of CO2 emissions. Nevertheless, it makes environmental sense to swap
a thirsty and polluting older car for a lighter, more fuel-efficient model,
says Yannick Read of the ETA. He also added that gains made from exchanging a
five-year-old family car with a similar-sized brand new model are likely to be
negligible. 

 

When I’m stuck in a
stop-start traffic jam, do I use more petrol turning my car on and off
repeatedly or leaving it running?

The UK Automobile Association (AA) says the tiny amounts of
fuel involved and the inconvenience make stopping and restarting the engine
hardly worthwhile. However, the AA recommends switcTraffic jamhing off the engine if you
are likely to be stopped for more than 3 minutes. Technology is already
providing a better solution, though. Recognizing that many hours of urban
driving are spent at a standstill, several car manufacturers have started to
introduce ‘stop-start’ technology. In fact, Volkswagen recently shelved plans
to invest in a hybrid car, preferring to invest in a stop-start technology on
its standard models to achieve fuel efficiency savings of between 10 and 15% in
urban traffic . See the AA
eco-drive advice here.

 

The CAB Abstracts database
has over 20 000 records on environmental impact.

 

Source: New Scientist, Vol 200, No. 2682

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