|English: The carbon footprint as it is understood by people. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
Recycling, re-use and environmental responsibly are now regular conversations around the dinner table. The evidence of those discussions have seeped their way into just about every aspect of daily life.
Don't get me wrong, there's no badge carrying tree hugger here just a pragmatic wife, mother and renovator who detests waste and senseless destruction.
There is a Native American proverb 'We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children'.
You don't have to be Einstein to work out that if our generation keeps chewing through our natural resources (including our ozone layer) at the current rate, there won't be a lot left for the next generation.
There is a lot of political mileage traded on the back of the green debate but at least part of the solution lies in exercising good old commonsense and granny's frugal ways not only save money, they also save the environment. You actually don't have to be a raging environmental evangelist to make a difference.
The outcome of one of our dinner table conversations on all things green was a commitment to audit the energy use of our household and reduce our carbon footprint. It was an interesting exercise as I made a couple of quite interesting discoveries.
1. It is quite easy to significantly reduce your energy consumption.
2. The idealistic environmental responsibility of a teenager disappears rapidly when the practical realities surface.
Lights are made out to be the villains of energy use given the legislation that has gone to converting the population to low energy alternatives.
In an attempt to support our crusade with some science I purchased a device to monitor our energy use and discovered that lights accounted for only 5% of our total electricity usage. Common household appliances such as the dishwasher, washing machine, oven and dryer used 200 to 500 times more power than a light globe. The other big-ticket item in the energy stakes is hot water accounting for 65% of total usage.
If you have ever read any of Tim Ferris' books, he talks about the Minimum Effective Dose, employing the smallest measure to make the biggest difference. This theory is very effective when applied to reducing energy consumption.
I made four changes that cut our energy consumption by 40%:
- Change the hot water over to solar
- Changed the air conditioning temperature by one degree ( up for cooling, down for heating)
- Keep baking for when the oven was already heated to cook dinner.
- Reduced the temperature of the water in the dishwasher and the washing machine.
These changes also produce a saving of $150 per month.
So, not only is energy efficiency good for the environment, it is also very good for the budget.
Bernadette Janson is the director of the school of renovating, for more information go to http://www.theschoolofrenovating.com.au
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