University of Otago physicist and energy management
specialist Associate Prof Bob Lloyd reflects on popular
myths involving kettles and other home appliances. Photo by
Many myths about energy use in Dunedin households, and
elsewhere were exploded in a lively discussion at the
University of Otago yesterday.
Associate Prof Bob Lloyd joined forces with Tim Bishop, of
the Sustainable Habitat Challenge, and fellow Dunedin
resident Chris Freear, of Ethical Power Consulting, to give
short talks and take part in a question and answer session.
About 20 people attended the event, which was supported by
the university Centre for Sustainability, the Otago Climate
Change Network, the Otago Energy Research Centre and
Prof Lloyd, who heads the Otago physics department energy
studies programme, urged greater alertness about the
realities of household energy use.
''The main message is to think about what you're doing,'' he
Avoiding ''myths'' over energy use would result in money
being saved, and energy being used more wisely.
Two key energy-saving moves which Dunedin householders could
make were to improve overall home insulation, and ensure hot
water storage cylinders were properly insulated, he said.
Many people believed that it was cheaper to run appliances,
such as washing machines, at night rather than during the
But this was true only if the householders concerned were on
night rate tariffs and their washing machines connected to
outlets that used that tariff.
Mr Bishop talked on the amount of energy used in a range of
household activities, and highlighted the relatively large
amount of energy involved in the manufacture of portable
computer systems and other advanced electronic items in the
Mr Freear took issue with claims nuclear power was ''cheaper
than other low-carbon sources of electricity''.
This was clearly false, particularly if wider risks and
long-term costs were included, he said.