Hidden Energy – The Energy Footprint of Everyday Objects

We all tend to want to ‘do the right’ thing and not stomp a massive footprint into our planet. But, there are so many unknowns when it comes to our impact. Do you know how much energy is consumed to bring a brand new bottle of glacier water to your lips? Or what it takes to keep your iPhone humming? There’s an almost invisible grid of energy being relinquished each day, from you, your family and your neighbors. We’re all culprits of energy consumption. Though, once we know more, we may be able to decrease our footprint and let go of energy-use guilt.

A few things you may not know about the ‘costs’ of hidden energy:

Bottled Water is full of H20 and, uh-oh

Okay, okay, we all love our alpine water from Canada, Alaska or Nepal, but as a consumer, it would be prudent to know what it takes to get it to our palates. How much energy is used to quench our thirst? By the time your delicious bottled hydrogen and oxygen mix makes it to your mouth, it has had a long travel full of energy use. Our bottled water habit has a huge environmental impact—think about how much energy it takes to make the plastic bottles, fill them and ship them all over the world. According to Live Science:

“An estimated total of the equivalent of 32 million to 54 million barrels of oil was required to generate the energy to produce the amount of bottled water consumed in the United States in 2007, according to the study, detailed in the January-March issue of the journal Environmental Research Letters.”

What can you do? You can get yourself an awesome, re-useable bottle, fill it with tap water (use a filter if need be, though we are spoiled with wonderful water in Colorado) and drink.

Your iPhone may be awesome, but she’s kinda’ greedy

If you were asked: What takes up more energy annually—your iphone or your fridge—how would you reply? Well, if you happen to have an Energy Star medium-sized fridge, the answer would be your phone. According to Mark Mills, the CEO of the Digital Power Group, “a medium-size refrigerator that qualifies for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star rating will use about 322 kW-h a year; the average iPhone uses about 361 kW-h a year once the wireless connections, data usages and battery charging are tallied up.” Whoa. And your phone doesn’t even keep your milk and cheese cool! Once your phone is charged, unplug it. Close apps you aren’t using, and turn your phone off completely when not in use.

Whether a Mac makes your world go ‘round, or your PC pleases you…both are hidden energy suckers

Did you know a typical desktop computer uses about 65 to 250 watts? That’s just the computer itself, add another 20-40 watts for an LCD monitor, or about 80 watts if you have an old-school 17" CRT. And who just has a computer? Most of us have related devices to put our machines to best use for us. For example, a cable modem uses 7 watts, a D-Link DI-604 router uses 4.5 watts, and a Motorola phone box for use with Vonage uses 2 watts while idle (3 when you’re actually on the phone).

To conserve some energy, using a laptop is a better bet. Most laptop computers use about 15-60 watts, which is far less than desktops. And, when your devices are in sleep mode, they use even less. The best way to reduce your use is to unplug devices when they aren’t in use. Or, plug them into a smart power strip.

As consumers become more aware, we can modify our behaviors to reduce our energy use. Now that you know the cost of hidden energy consumption, you can be even smarter with your smart phone.





City of Fort Collins Announces Winner of the Innovate Fort Collins Electric Vehicle Charging Challenge in Collaboration with Innosphere and CSU

FortZed_Innovate-Fort-Collins-Logo-outlined_Final_07-19-16Qmulus Wins Inaugural City of Fort Collins Innovation Challenge

The City of Fort Collins, Colorado State University, and Innosphere, Colorado’s leading technology incubator, have announced the winner of the first Innovate Fort Collins competition. This technology competition was focused on solving electric vehicle (EV) charging challenges because as more people buy electric vehicles, the pressure on charging loads can affect the reliability of the electric grid.

Qmulus, an emerging technology company with a solution for a plug-and-play adapter, was announced the winner on September 26th at Colorado State University’s 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium. The Qmulus adapter connects between the electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) and a plug-in electric vehicle (PEV). For this competition, applications were collected from companies and entrepreneurs that focused on data acquisition from vehicles, installed metering or monitoring, or advanced meter data.

“Innovate Fort Collins is specifically designed to help innovators bring relevant technologies to market that are going to help communities like Fort Collins meet its climate action goals,” said Mike Freeman, Innosphere CEO. In future Innovate Fort Collins competitions, Innosphere will continue to help the City with technology scouting in order to find new innovation to meet their Road to 2020 goals concerning water, buildings, mobility solutions, energy and waste reduction.

As the competition winner, Qmulus will be able to test and demonstrate the technology solution within the Fort Collins Utilities electric grid. Qmulus’ adapter gives users with low-end charger stations the ability to network their charge sessions without going to the expense of upgrading their EVSE. “The adapter will allow conversion of a dumb station to a smart station at a substantially lower cost than replacing the EVSE,” said Matthew Raymond, co-founder of Qmulus. “The adapter will allow residents, communities, workplaces, fleets, multi-unit dwellings, retailers and utilities to gain more detailed information about PEV charging behavior. Utilities can also use the adapter for load control and metering.” Raymond accepted the award at the event and gave a presentation on why Qmulus’ emerging technology is ideal for a test and demonstration project with City of Fort Collins utilities.

The competition began with Innosphere collaborating with the City of Fort Collins to help implement the goals of the City of Fort Collins’ Road to 2020 plan. The Road to 2020 plan sets new goals to reduce carbon emissions 20 percent below 2005 levels in 2020 and 80 percent by 2030, with a desire to be carbon neutral by 2050. The theme of this first competition was focused on electric vehicles because the City wanted to better understand and quantify future mass electric vehicle charging patterns in Fort Collins. “This will help us manage our core utilities distribution system while making progress toward a carbon-neutral City,” said Jackie Kozak Thiel, chief sustainability officer for the City of Fort Collins.

"We are excited to work with the City of Fort Collins and Innosphere on this challenge," said Maury Dobbie, assistant director of CSU's Center for the New Energy Economy and symposium chair. "Our 6th annual symposium is all about finding solutions related to the energy transition of our country, and one of the ways we’re doing that is through collaboration with industry and government."

For more information about the City of Fort Collins’ implementation of the Road to 2020, go to www.fcgov.com/climateaction.

For more information on Innosphere, or how Innosphere’s program can support your high-impact science or technology startup, please visit www.innosphere.org and apply to be a part of the next cohort of client companies.

CSU’s 21st Century Energy Transition Symposium event continues through today, September 29th, and live streaming is available for all panels and sessions at http://energytransition.colostate.edu/live-streaming-2016/

About Innosphere:

Innosphere is a non-profit technology incubator accelerating the success of high-impact science and technology startups. Innosphere has two physical locations in Fort Collins and Denver, Colorado to support entrepreneurs building potential, high-growth companies in the industries of health innovations, life sciences, software, hardware, energy, and advanced materials. Innosphere’s incubation program focuses on ensuring companies are investor ready, connecting them with experienced advisors, and making introductions to corporate partners. Once accepted into the program, companies receive customized development plans and ongoing support to ensure they’re getting the know-how to raise the right kind of capital, and all the resources to grow. www.innosphere.org.