Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

November 23, 2016

As Walter Cronkite Said, “And That’s the Way It Is”

Category: Little Things – Tom Harrison – 6:01 pm

This blog was a labor of love for 5 years, a personal endeavor, and way to learn. My last post was 2012.

Please don’t bother contact me asking for links.

If you would like to buy the blog content and domain for $200,000 please feel free to reach out :-)

January 16, 2011

A New Time For Green

Category: Climate Change,Companies,Energy Independence,Little Things – Tom Harrison – 10:33 pm

Green is alive and kicking. But it’s in a very different state than just a few months ago. Actually it’s not in a different state, it’s in different countries. All but the US. You know: Denmark, and China.

When the climate bill was killed in the Senate, they world changed. Important incentives that affected consumers, home owners as well as businesses expired at the end of 2010. Cancun was hobbled from the start. Don’t invest in clean energy for now (unless you’re shorting).

So now in the US we wait to see how the rest of the world will Raymond lunch. All we can do is take a different tack.

The EPA has teeth and has bared them several times, this week vetoing a previously approved mountaintop removal coal mining permit, for example. I am glad they have these teeth, but it’s not a solution, just a firewall.

In an odd paradox, the tool left to the EPA after the climate change bill was scuttled by Republicans not wanting regulation was an EPA whose only weapon was regulation. At the same time the business friendly, conservative created Cap and Trade approach, which would have provided predictable, incremental change was killed. So the more fickle act of regulation is now what businesses got.

Massey Energy and I are both sad about that outcome. Strange bedfellows.

Meanwhile, our old friend, oil prices, are sticking over $90/bbl and gasoline prices continue to creep up. Weather events continue to be extreme and unusual, consistent with predictions of climate change science. GM and Nissan have electric cars for sale. We continue to subsidize mortgage interest, but have revoked incentives to make homes more efficient. Odd.

Business is back to usual. Let’s hope the true believers in market forces are right. All indications are that they are wrong, but don’t let the facts get in the way of political expedience and dogma. If they are wrong, the dogmatists, we will have caused the US to lose an edge that will be hard to regain. To China!

Irony? More like stupidity

September 27, 2010

Mac Sleep Problems Resolved (and Explained)

Mac Won't SleepSay it isn’t so — my Macbook will not sleep! When I abandoned Windows for a Macbook, I hoped I would resolve a problem with not sleeping (entering sleep mode) that I have posted about before — my Windows XP Sleep and Hibernation posts continue to generate thousands of views, but alas, Snow Leopard, OS X doesn’t always sleep, either.

I have done a fair amount of research and think I understand why my macbook will not enter sleep mode, and how the OS X sleep process works. And importantly (and unlike Windows): what you can do to resolve the issue. The short answer is: there’s no built-in way to ensure your Mac goes to sleep automatically, but there’s a great bit of free software you can install, which in my tests works perfectly: PleaseSleep. (more…)

October 31, 2009


Category: Little Things – Tom Harrison – 6:05 pm
Wind Turbumpkin

Wind Turbumpkin

January 13, 2009

Not into RSS? Subscribe to Post Comments by Email

Category: Little Things – Tom Harrison – 11:28 am

I finally got a WordPress Plugin working that allows readers to get notified by email to comments made on posts. I hope it’s useful.

December 7, 2008

Should I Really Replace My Holiday Lights with LED?

Category: Household,Little Things,Save Electricity,Tips – Tom Harrison – 3:11 pm



We’re putting up our Christmas tree today and thought about using LED lights this year — many eco sites recommend that you replace holiday lights with LEDs to save electricity, and this may be good advice … or not.

But before I get too complicated, I think it’s safe to say that if you don’t have working lights now, and are buying new ones for decoration, LED is definitely the best choice.

So go ahead and replace your lights, right? Not so fast. By “replace” do you mean get rid of the working ones you have now and buy ones? It’s a bit trickier in this case, but here are some facts that might help you decide. (more…)

August 16, 2008

How To Clean Your Dryer Vent

Category: Household,Little Things,Save Electricity,Tips – Tom Harrison – 3:53 pm

As I watch my new PowerCost Monitor, we can tell when the dryer is running; our normal $0.08/hour of usage spikes to $1.25 to $1.50/hour. Whoa. I will work on making line drying some our wash a possibility, but sometimes you need to use the dryer. I have seen two separate instances where cleaning a dryer vent speeds up drying time significantly, and therefore uses less electricity.



When the vent is clogged, or even a little obstructed with lint, or by a sharp bend, the fan in the dryer cannot push out the damp air as quickly. The dryer will seem to be working, but in one case took almost twice as long to dry a similar load. (more…)

August 15, 2008

Change: There’s No Place Like Home

Category: Little Things – Tom Harrison – 9:29 pm

Have you had a vacation this summer? When I go, away, it’s usually exciting, different, fun, and interesting for a while. Maybe I’m just getting old and set in my ways, but after a while, a week or two, the novelty wears off and I start missing the comforts of home. Nothing beats that first night back in one’s own bed.

Change can be good, and exciting, and interesting, and beneficial. And it’s often a little painful. Some of us work in jobs we dislike, or accept marriages in which we’re unhappy, or accept other bad situations for years, even lifetimes, fearing change. Others tend to embrace change: thrill seekers who need to have their lives shaken up a little — I tend to change jobs, or change my role in a job frequently, lest I get complacent. To be honest, in the first few years of my marriage, I wondered if I would feel the same and decide to change, but it turns out that our marriage is a wonderfully changing and evolving relationship (we’re lucky, I guess).

But change is hard; you could see it as a fearful thing, or as a challenge, but either way, it’s hard. As we prepare for our vacation, I know I’ll be glad to be back to my regular bed when I get home. (more…)

Windows XP Standby and Hibernate Problem (Update 5/2009)

Category: Conservation,Little Things,Save Electricity,Tips – Tom Harrison – 11:24 am

No Standby

No Standby

In June I wrote about how I had solved my problems with windows XP not going into stand-by or hibernating. That post is a good overview of the problem, with suggestions on how to diagnose and narrow down the problem. There is also a good thread of comments there.

Judging from the traffic I have been getting on that post, it seems that many others are having the same standby issues as I. And there are some other standby solutions I have found since then. I’ll try to keep updating this post, and I encourage anyone with other findings or questions to comment.

Update History

  • (edited 9/7/08, added test methodology)
  • (edited 9/9/08, added suspected Google Reader issue and 5 minute test period)
  • (edited 9/14/08, results of testing free utility, Smart Shutdown — it works! It used to work :-( )
  • (edited 10/21/08, some XP SP3 Hibernate problems and possible solutions)
  • (edited 11/17/08, added firmer “shut down everything first” to test procedure)
  • (edited 11/18/08, added “verify manual standby works” to test procedure)
  • (edited 12/13/08, clarified case where iTunes causes problems
  • (comment #17 on this post, 1/1/09, Java QuickStart
  • (comment from other post, 1/29/09: Symantec AV suspected
  • (comment from other post, Installation of SP3 kills hibernate option; see below)
  • (comment from other post 2/26/09: Adobe Type Manager causes Keyboard error entering standby, confirmed by Microsoft)
  • (additional bolding of some other solutions in comments, 5/22/09): Spamblock Plus, VOIP connection, MSN, others suspected.


August 12, 2008

A Little Sprucing Up at FivePercent

Category: Little Things – Tom Harrison – 8:50 pm

Tom\'s Gravatar

Tom's Gravatar

If you noticed something different, I did a little housework today. WordPress 2.6 is installed, all my plugins are up to date, and I widened the view a little (less than 3% of readers have the old 800×600 screen size). I also moved things around in the sidebar. Oh, and comments have support for Gravatars now, which is a free service that lets you upload a picture that you can link to your email address. Thrilling?