Efficiencies of European Accommodations

Bored by the end of the title…we’ll call that a new first.  Throughout our travels, both this year and last, we’ve encountered a few unique features related to personal energy and water usage that could really be handy in saving the world a bundle in wasted electricity.

Eerie feeling when this trained on you, and watching for when you leave…

Motion sensor in the bathroom.  How many times have you ever gone in the bathroom, have a seat to drop a deuce, and have the lights go out.  How about having to flail your arms wildly in the hopes that the line of sight from the sensor will just happen to pick up on your franticness?  Showering seems to be OK, but any activity in the bathroom that results in very little movement, such as Melanie putting on a little makeup, can result in the room going dark.  I am just trying to figure how much energy that glowing red eye mounted above the shower might be saving over the course of a year.  How about removing a few of those twelve bulbs and call it even?  By the way, I am fairly certain it’s a sensor and not a camera…only because the cloud on the lens would make it far too difficult to entertain anyone on the other end of that feed.

Keycard to the room, also required to trip main suite switch.  This one I like, where the RFID card issued at reception needs to be inserted into a glowing slot inside the door in order to trigger power to anything in the room.  The idea being if you aren’t in your room, why would you need electricity.  If that laptop or phone need charging while you’re out of the room…maybe you should have just charged the unit overnight.  It does make me wonder if the mini-fridge is on a different circuit though.  Further investigation required.

Maybe overkill for home use, but not a bad idea

15amp breakers as standard.  Not sure why an apartment would be limited to just that, but with our last place the heat was essential to keep our digits mobile to type up drivel such as this.  Cooking may have not been essential, as we could have just gone to the patisserie on the corner and grabbed a few overpriced biscuits to warm up over the warm air from the heating unit, but we attempted to heat up a few frozen meals and found that two burners plus heater on results in power outage.  Various combinations also result in the breaker being blown, such as lights and TV on…then turning on the stove.  Even lights and heater on after a shower when the hot water tank was recharging.  This forced conservation isn’t my idea of fun, especially if resetting the breaker requires walking across a courtyard in near freezing darkness, then descending two flights of stairs into a basement area or flipping of what you hope is the right breaker and not the neighbour’s.

Small hot water heaters.  If you don’t go easy on the hot water, well you better hope you’re travelling alone.  We found that one shower was all you could squeeze from the tiny tank before having to wait 4 hours for decent water temperature again.  Experiencing the wrath of ‘You used up all the hot water, again!’ is enough of a reminder that couples likely become more energy conscious just to avoid any heated discussion…oh yeah, this is Italy.  If the showers were big enough, then we might be able to squeeze in there two at a time to do a little ‘water conservation’, but no luck here.  I just couldn’t imagine having you average pasta and salsiccia lover squeeze into one of these stalls and wash out a little of that excess hair product.  It must happen, unless that is the whole reason for excess cologne.

These are just a few simple efficiencies.  The easiest is to just limit the number of electrical outlets to a room, and make sure the flat panel TV advertised on the website is just big enough to call itself a TV and not a digital picture frame.  Next time I am bringing an extension cord.

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