How to win friends and influence people

August 26, 2008

The other day I was walking past this apartment block near my home. Dublin City Council has a policy of limiting the number of parking spaces allowed in new developments to “encourage” residents to use public transport… and then… people ignore rules and park on the footpath. While I totally understand why people use cars (I have one myself), it does show a problem with using legislation and government policy to change people’s actions. Ideas on a solution?

How clean is your car

August 21, 2008

SEI has a fairly excellent system developed for checking out the emissions from your car, or if you’re buying, seeing which car is best…

Check it out

How to read a Natural Gas Bill – Bord Gais – Ireland

August 15, 2008

Following on from posts on how to read an electricity bill, and how to read an oil bill, here is a short post on how to read a natural gas bill, specifically Bord Gais.

Interestingly while gas is measured in M3, it is charged in kWh, so the complicated, and the bit that most people have trouble with, is the conversion that is done on the bill, so here we go.

GPRN – Grid Point Registration Number – This is the national registration number of your connection point.   This is unique to you, and will remain being yours even if you change gas supplier (which you can do – in theory). 

Meter No. – This is your meter number. Why is this different to your GPRN number… Mystery to me.

Meter Readings – These are the critical thing. They measure how many M3 you’ve used since the last bill. The “E” refers to the fact that they have to send someone along to read it, and when they don’t they estimate the number. Hopefully Bord Gais will follow the lead of ESB and push for smart meters in the future.

Conversion Factor – This relates M3 of gas to kWh of energy. Depending on where the gas has come from (North Sea, Russia etc) this number changes from constantly, but is generally in and around 11. I assume that the powers that be do a test on a sample of gas every day or something like that.

Tariff Type – This is a “Standard Tariff” bill. Other options are “No Standing Charge – no standing charge but at a higher rate – suitable for really low users” or “Winter Saver Tariff – an odd saving scheme whereby you pay a higher standing charge, but it is returned to you as credit during the winter, suitable for… people without bank accounts?????

Barack Obama reads this blog

August 7, 2008

Well good reader, it appears you are in good company. Barack Obama seems to be basing his energy policy (well part of it anyway) on the posts here. It’s true, the part of his policy getting the most coverage by the yanks – pump up your tires, save 3%, as suggested by this post in May.

And for those of you who are not convinced by the significance of this check out this article here, which compares the significance of this simple measure, to the off-shore drilling plan currently being touted by George Bush. Just by optimising all the tire pressures in the USA, you could expect to save double the amount of oil, not even counting the waste from refining etc. Also these benefits could be felt tomorrow, offshore drilling could taking 2-20 years depending on who you listen to.

So, as we don’t want this to be a partisan blog, I am now formally inviting John McCain to also make use of the wisdom to be found here, to beef up his own policy. Indeed he can even show his superior courtesy by mentioning us as a source…

Wind energy is good news for… the wind…

August 4, 2008