Status Quo Tax

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Maybe some examples will help. Consider your electric bill. How much money do you put towards lowering your electric bill? For me, that 20% funded replacing all of my incandescent bulbs with CFLs. And then again funded replacing all of the CFLs with LEDs. At this point I was worried that I would start chasing shadows, wasting my "status quo tax" money on pointless feel-good changes. So my next purchase was a Kill-a-Watt meter and a generic IR thermometer. I began letting the data find the problem areas. Some of them were surprising. I had plenty of "free" computers and monitors rescued from the trash. They turned out to be power guzzlers, each consuming $100 per year! They were replaced with $40 ARM boards that only use $5 of electricity per year. I did still need a real desktop, and for that the biggest improvement came from replacing the traditional PSU with a PicoPSU. Before buying a new $600 "power efficient" fridge, I metered my old one for a month. It was only using $60 per year, modern fridges aren't really better than that. If your old fridge meters high, try cleaning the dust off the radiator elements. It makes a big difference. (I have been experimenting with a converted chest freezer. They really do only sip a few dollars of electricity per year.)

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