Time flies while technology evolves

Posted on Dec 21 2023 in Fulton County REMC
COO and Energy Advisor

How has another year almost come to an end?

When I was younger and someone would tell me how fast time goes as you get older, I would just laugh and think to myself, “Whatever, old-timer.” Now I’m that old-timer who apparently makes it my life’s mission to tell young people that time goes faster the older you get. (I also find myself telling my daughters about how things used to be.)

Some things change in a different way. As a child, the Sears Christmas catalog really got me excited for Christmas. My sisters and I would take that giant catalog and mark a page or circle anything we thought we “needed” for Christmas. We always knew that we wouldn’t get everything we circled or marked, or sometimes even any of it, but just dreaming about those items made Christmas more exciting.

My daughters still have that same feeling. Only now, instead of a catalog, they create a digital Amazon Christmas list. While I’m a little sad they will never get that 500-page catalog, I’m still happy that they get to have the same excitement as I did, just with new technology.

Technology is not only changing the way we make lists for Christmas; it is also changing and improving things when it comes to home energy efficiency. I remember when CFL light bulbs came out, and I, like many other people, ran to the store and purchased as many 100-watt incandescent bulbs as I could find. Why did I feel the need to purchase as many old bulbs as possible? Because I was skeptical of the new technology.

That’s because when new technology comes along, you could experience a few problems with it. I’m going to call those CFL lights “the problem” in this example. While they worked and did use less electricity, it wasn’t until LED lights came out that I really embraced the change. Going from 100 watts to 15 watts without sacrificing any brightness changed the way we light up our homes.

Here’s another example: Until heat pump water heater technology entered the picture a few years ago, an electric water heater always worked the same way. When the thermostat cooled off, it would turn on one of the elements and run until the thermostat was satisfied, then shut off. Many of these elements ranged between 4,500 watts and 5,500 watts. When you have multiple people using hot water in the home, you can see how the use reflected on your electric bill. The heat pump water heater has changed all of that. Instead of 4,500 watts, the heat pump water heater uses a compressor to heat your water using only about 500 watts while heating. The recovery time is a little longer but it still keeps up with most demand without turning on the 4,500-watt element on the tank.

This Christmas, I urge you to embrace new technology. Maybe you should get rid of that box of incandescent lights or even do your research to see if a heat pump water heater is right for you.

Though I miss the days of the Christmas catalog, I also enjoy so much of the new technology that I’m not sure I would want to go back to the good old days. However, I would like time to slow down a little because I know that all too soon, the girls will be out of the house and not making their Christmas lists anymore.

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

by TJ GarnerCOO/Energy AdvisorFulton County REMC