One thing that really bothers me is waste or wasteful practices. Maybe because I grew up not having much money and we had to fix things up, make them do or simply do with out. I never had the coolest toys as a child or the latest in fashion. I had to work hard and save money to buy myself my first car. I worked hard in school to earn scholarships. I worked while in college to pay for other things like food. I did not like it when my money was ill spent or I was not careful. I still do not like that.
I realized long ago that we as a society, as a global community, produce a lot of waste. Recently I started thinking about heat as waste. I came to realize that a lot of the energy produced is wasted in the form of heat. For example, most of our modern electronics use DC power. Some use 12 volts, others 15 but they all use DC power. TVs, Computers, radios, cellphones, iPods, and the list goes on. The problem is that all the power must be converted to DC before being used and the conversion is, for a good device, 70% efficient. That means about a third of the energy going into the converter is lost and it is lost in the form of heat.
That bothers me a lot. So, I have spent some time chewing on these facts. I realized that if there was one efficient device in the home, it would cost more but you would only need one -- think of all the "wall worts" you have from old equipment and how much they cost in materials to manufacture and to you to purchase-- it could be placed in or adjacent to the water heater so that any parasitic heat is not completely lost. Then with industry defined standard voltage and standard plug the rest of the house could be wired. It could be low voltage and would thus be much safer than our current AC power in home electrical distribution. Coaxial cable could even be placed along the carpet/wall interface to minimize the cost to the home owner. The end result being that we would use less energy to heat the water and run electronics saving us much money.
Now, for those wanting to live off the power grid, with something like solar panels, it would be even easier. The energy from solar panels is DC and is now typically inverted to AC to be transmitted, even just around a house, only to then be turned back to DC to be used. This process means that about half or more of the electrical energy produced by solar panels is lost. That is all conserved by keeping the power as DC.