Recently, a local school district decided to start charging teachers for personal use of “refrigerators, microwaves, coffee makers, pizza ovens, toaster ovens and toasters” in an effort to save over $12,500 per year in energy savings (read full story).
The cost for using a coffee maker? $10. While this is a seemingly small fee for a convenience, maybe there is an alternative solution to help save money (and energy) and keep everyone happy.
Energy Efficiency: Not all coffee makers are created equally in their energy consumption. Why not choose an energy efficient model? A thermal coffee maker (like the Cuisinart DTC-975) uses less energy than a standard coffee maker, as the brewed coffee is stored in an insulated carafe. Thus, there is no energy wasted heating a burner underneath a glass pot.
Economy of Scale: Why not consolidate a few coffee makers into fewer, more centralized pots? On my floor alone, there are at least 3-4 coffee makers that are used daily and often make only half pots each. Having fewer pots that make a full pot at a time would reduce multiple uses of heating elements. It makes sense to avoid single-cup brewing machines.
Opportunity to Learn: Combining both of these ideas could even turn into a class project, where students could use wattage meters (like the Kill a Watt meter) to monitor coffee makers to identify the most energy efficient models and brewing practices.