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Solid woodblocks for relief printmaking, in various hard & soft woods, hand made using traditional skills using mainly hand planes etc., by David Rodgers in the UK.

Reviewing Studio Energy Usage

> Blog > About Me > Studio > Reviewing Studio Energy Usage
Thu 22nd Apr 2021

We live in a world where the planet and it's resources can't be taken for granted. Resources are not infinite - we need to look after what we have, by considering what we do and use.

LED Light Replacements

I've recently reviewed and renewed my lighting (replaced completely with efficient LED lighting), and all other energy use, when making my blocks - which I have always done using hand tools such as hand planes mainly. Exact figure still to calculate, but it averages around 120w when working - equivalently of 2 old style bedroom lights - not very much. In winter time, this will be more, due to heating.

I was sceptical about LED lights initially, concerned might not provide enough light, but been proved wrong. Two double LED strip lights provide considerable quantities of light, with optional extra LED lights I can add when necessary (wattage figures above assume all lights on).

Wooden planes in use
I use a variety of hand tools, including some wooden planes for the rougher work (planing some English Cedar here) - they are lighter and therefore require a little less energy from me to use, although I do like the mass a heavy plane offers in later & more delicate stages of planing

120W of energy isn't very much (2 old style bedroom lights) - no large machines whirring away. I could say 'just my arms whirring away' but that would do an efficient technique an injustice - working with hand tools isn't about sweating away as if I were training in the gym for some new personal best. It's about tuning the tools to their best and using with least physical energy, not the most.

Considering I have rare health conditions, however, this isn't done lightly. However, the health conditions mean I couldn't use machinery day in day out any way.

Wooden Coffin planes in use
I find a coffin smoother harder to hold due to muscular issues, however set with an 8" crowned blade, it is a useful addition, and hope to try on my Japanese Planing beam soon

Indirect power usage - internet streaming

Streaming videos, and to a lesser extent, sound, on the internet uses energy - not just at home, but to power the servers where video/sound is stored in data centres, and path data uses to get to your tablet/phone (routers/ data cables etc., path could be from USA to UK as one example). Then add air conditioning throughout that whole path to keep computers cool. Then add in the auxiliary machines. And add energy cost to make all that equipment. It all adds up.

It's been suggested that the views on a very popular video on YouTube could potentially use same power as a small country in Africa (timescale not quantified). If so, that is huge, and a significant high energy cost that we all can contribute to, or reduce.

Until I realised this, I was guilty of listening to Radio 3 'online' - now I plug a speaker cable in my phone, and use a native radio app to listen on 91.3Mhz via traditional air borne radio waves, not the internet.

Put another way, all very well making our directly visible working environment energy efficient, but if we then just stream videos, or sound, all day long, then what's the point?

For sake of completeness...

Note 1: for sake of completeness, I sometimes use a few 18v battery tools and others to aid my work, set to work quietly. These however compliment hand tools, not replace them, and are used for a small proportion of total time spent. Batteries currently charged few times a month, power consumption in charging these included in figures above.

Note 2: Power consumption does not include security systems on studio / house, or LED security lighting. Unfortunate to need it, but we do. Most LED security lighting is solar powered, however had to add additional recently.

Wooden planes in use
My main 2 wooden planes



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