The Competition Between Man and Machine

Mike Loughery

Mike Loughery

Do you ever follow one of those folks that drive a Prius and wonder why they’re going so slow?  I never did until last week.  CertainTeed was fortunate to co-sponsor a luncheon event at the Greenbuild Convention and Expo with Gerding Edlen Development , a leading developer of sustainable investment properties from Portland, Oregon.  Dennis Wilde was our featured guest and speaker and he gave an interesting and very thought provoking presentation on how his firm is working on retrofitting existing building stock to dramatically improve energy and water consumption.

During the conversation he started talking about the Toyota Prius and asked us if we ever wondered why drivers of these very innovative cars drive slow?  “Because it’s a competition between man and machine,” quipped Wilde.  What, you say?  The Prius, for those of you not familiar with it, has the ability to instantaneously give you your current mileage rating based on your speed.  The slower you go, the better the mileage, the faster you go, the worse, etc.

His point was, if we were all able to, in real time, monitor our energy consumption, we may be a lot more diligent about conserving.  It’s true. Some of us really make efforts, like turning lights off when not in use, unplugging appliances, etc.  But, how much do we really save?  We’re never quite sure except our heart quivers with excitement if we see a lower energy bill.

Here’s a nifty trick.  We presented Dennis with a Kill-A -Watt as a modest token of our appreciation for supporting our event.  What’s great about this device is that you plug your, say, computer into it, and then plug the Kill-A-Watt into the wall.  With the computer on, it tells you how much energy that computer will cost you that month.  Now, turn the computer off and leave it plugged in.  The Kill-A-Watt will now tell you how much energy you’re consuming with the device off, but still plugged in.  AHA!  Now you have a real-time way of calculating savings. 

This seems so simple, but the lesson is bold and telling.  We now all have an easy way of monitoring our energy usage and subsequently reducing it through a simple, inexpensive tool.

Many thanks to Dennis and the folks at Gerding Edlen for an outstanding presentation and a real treat for CertainTeed and our customers.

Mike Loughery is Director, Corporate Marketing Communications at CertainTeed Corporation.

Comments
  • Our house in Oregon has a huge deck, which definitely has to have mnnctenaiae every few years. I love wood, so would not consider anything else, but it’s good to have this info on hand for the day when it has to be replaced. So far the only major repairs needed were when a friend’s son rode a tricycle into the railing. Sadly, he was about 16 at the time, so a bit big for the trike and the rail!

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