Power to the people.

Author:Cassell, Merrill
Position:Letters - Letter to the Editor
 
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"Precious joules" (February) gives great illustrations of what companies can do to reduce their energy costs. The problems in the Middle East are forcing the industrialised world to think hard about reducing its consumption of energy and seeking alternative sources.

A recent article in Business Week ("Taming the oil beast", 24 February) cited other strategies worthy of mention. United Technologies saved $100,000 in one facility simply by turning off PC monitors at night. Food Lion used sensors to turn off lights in bathrooms and loading docks, and installed better insulation on freezer doors. These initiatives saved it millions of dollars a year, reducing energy consumption by 5 per cent. 3M has cut its energy costs by 60 per cent since the arab oil embargo and is still improving by about 4 per cent a year. A recent innovation at 3M has been to use adjustable-speed factory motors that do not require energy-sapping brakes. The efficiency gains have helped the company to reduce its emissions and operating costs.

The New York Power Authority installed a new system that allowed it to transfer 192 more megawatts of electricity--enough power for 192,000 homes. Energy experts have stated that replacing the antiquated US electricity grid with a digitally controlled network would reduce the amount of energy required to produce $1 of GDP by as much as 30 per cent and save the country up to $100 billion a year. Such action would eliminate the need for...

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