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Happy Earth Day – Storage in a Green World

Happy Earth Day – Storage in a Green World

Today is Earth day, and has given me cause to think about all things technical, and how we can better manage our lives and our consumption of natural resources in an increasingly power-hungry world.

I thought that, with it being Earth Day, I would take the time to share the story of my brother-in-law – Richard.  He and his wife live out in the foothills of California in a straw-bale house, and are not connected to a power line. So they never get a utility bill. So how do they do it?

First, you need to know that the entire environment was designed this way. The straw-bale house is one of the most insulated structures possible. It is a beautiful house, with lovely wood finishes and stucco walls. You would never know it was incredibly energy efficient just by looking at it.

And Richard has built his own power plant as well, He has enough energy on storage to power his house for three days without any sunshine or wind. Pretty darned good.

Now, you might think that with all this planning for energy efficiency that Richard and his wife have sacrificed on the luxuries of life. You would be wrong. They have a dishwasher, oven, stove, refrigerator, freezer, microwave, washer and dryer, televisions, stereos, computer and more! All the landscaping is on a timer drip system. They pump their own well water and store it in gravity feed tanks.  They are clearly not lacking in the luxuries of life in the United States.

So how is this all done? With very good planning. Planning for energy efficiency in all things.

For his computer requirements, Richard uses a notebook computer (lower power requirements, and can be run on batteries when the sun is not shining!), and for storage needs he uses a <a href=””>Seagate FreeAgent Go portable hard drive</a>. The FreeAgent Go can be powered by the USB port on the notebook, so it too can be battery powered. All this adds to an incredibly power efficient compute model.

The amazing thing to me is this: If you were to use a FreeAgent Go, and it was plugged in, turned on, and writing data 24 hours a day (the most power draw), it would only cost around $2.41 per year to run (at an average cost of $0.089 per kilowatt-hour). That is an incredibly energy efficient device!

This example shows that there is hope. With some planning… Initiative… And creativity… We CAN manage our power consumption and not drain the natural resources that are so vital to our existence!

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