Wednesday, May 23, 2007

On the Road

Shooting StarI am in Denver sitting in a hotel as I ride out a storm. The picture to the right is a Shooting Star I found at Daniels Summit on US 40. The trip was a bit hurried, due to the weather.

I am traveling with Coco, and find myself tripling what I would usually spend on a trip to make sure the dog is happy. A bivy sack is good enough for a human, but I don't like having Coco wandering around at night barking at other campers; So, I've been staying in tents and hotels.

Staying in hotels brings up an puzzling issue. Every hotel I've stayed in the last several years has had a refrigerator. Both the cheap and expensive hotels are equipped with the fool things.

I've wondered why they do that. Refrigerators are expensive to operate and loud. My guess is that having a fridge in a room costs the hotel a buck a night. Add to that cost the taxes and need to maintain and clean the fridge. They probably charge me $2 for energy consumption I do not desire.

The reason I mention this is that a great deal of our individual energy consumption takes place beyound our personal choice. In this case, I have zero desire for a fridge (although I am paying for it). The energy consumption is built into the system.

It is the systemic energy consumption that really gets us.

Think of hundreds of thousands of fridges idling in empty hotel rooms. Our real problem is that we consume so much without thought. The challenge of our day is not in elimating luxury, but in finding a way to match the luxury with our desire.


Charles D said...

Good point. The last time I was in Europe (about 4 years ago) there were no fridges or microwaves in hotel rooms and in most modern hotels, the lights were on a motion sensor and went off if you left the room for a period of time. The US is so used to cheap energy that it will be a long time before we start getting our consumption in line.

y-intercept said...

The proliferation of fridges is relatively new. The brunt of the problem happened in the last 4 years; So, it is possible that Europe caught the same disease.

Of course, the old hotels near European train stations would not have fridges because they have crappy wiring.

BTW, the proliferation of wireless internet in hotels is also new. In judging technologies, it is difficult at times to determine which are wasteful and which are not. I find the fridges wasteful, but think WiFi is a great improvement.