22 October 2009

Energy - No Impact Project


According to the EPA the average CO2 emissions per person per year are about 20,000. When I used their carbon calculator to figure out my yearly usage, I came in at about 7,000. (I'm not the average household. I'm single, like in a small city apartment, and am home on average of eight hours per day.) My survey results are below.

Individual Emissions - Household Emissions Calculator | Climate Change - Greenhouse Gas Emissions | U.S. EPA

Today's challenge asked us to take a quick audit of or energy usage at home. I went around the apartment making note.


Fridge - stays plugged in at all times
Stove -I don't even know what the back of my stove looks like but I'm assuming its plugged in.
Microwave - stays plugged in at all times. (I could unplug this. I rarely use it. For a long time I didn't even use one. There are creative ways to heat everything up on a stove and its probably healthier for you anyway.)
Blender - never plugged in. Only when used.
Coffee Maker - never plugged in. (The price tag is still on it. Anyone want a free coffee maker. I'll gladly ship it to you. Its brand spanking new! Why give it away? Because we have over 10 coffee machines at work..the real ones. Like the ones starbucks have or something. I can make any drink on Starbucks menu at my job!)


Printer - stays unplugged unless it is in use
Table lamp - stays unplugged unless it is in use
Floor lamp - usually stays unplugged unless it is in use. (Last two weeks, I've been lazy)
Laptop Power Adapter - stays unplugged unless it is in use.
Speaker Power Adapter - stays unplugged unless it is in use.
Blackberry Power Adapter - stays plugged in.


iPhone Power Adapter - stays plugged in.


Air Conditioner power cord - stays plugged in.

The items in green are easy fixes. I can just unplug them. I think its a great idea to keep things unplugged until you actually use them. And as you can see, I don't have many electronics. Not sure what to do about the fridge and stove. While Colin's suggestions in the how to guide to combat fridge usage are creative, I don't really care for them.

  • I do not own a television intentionally. (I use my laptop to watch any and everything I want. Multi-Functional devices are great. Less clutter. Less things. More green)
  • In my bathroom...there is no blow dryer, curler, flat iron. (Please, I don't even own a comb or brush. I wear my hair naturally...which aides in my living a more sustainable life. But I do style my hair in many creative ways)
  • I am one of those that only like specific lighting and not just general lighting. I like as little lighting as possible. I like natural light. I like candles. And I pretty much keep my lights off. During the mornings I wash my face and brush my teeth with the lights off. Usually there is enough natural light seeping through. Besides I don't wear makeup, so I don't need extra light for all of that fluff fluff
  • I have yet to turn my heat on this fall. My bed has many blankets and pillows. When I'm cold I put a sweater on or socks on. I drink tea or hot cocoa. 
  • Since I'm rarely home...I average about 8 hours a day and I keep most things unplugged and even when I'm there, its such low usage..my electric bill and gas bill are pretty low. My People Gas bill and ComEd Electric bill have been around $20 a month. I've lived in my apartment since May. I think that's pretty good. (When I lived with roommates this was not the case. Sometimes our electric bill was over $130. Freaking Crazy! It was a constant battle between how high or low the air or heat should be. There were TV's, Wii's, laptops,...things were always on all the time. And now, I pay $20 each for both those bills. Crazy)
  • I have other things that plug in but they are stored away until I need them...such as my camera power cord, external harddrive power cord and etc. For those with a billion cords, I recommend Smart Power Strips. I think they are creative and extremely innovative. Also, the prices are pretty reasonable...especially for the savings you will rack up.

So look, I'm just going to toot my own horn and say that I do pretty good with my energy consumption. There are a few areas of improvement. I could be more intentional and unplug those last few things that I keep in. But what I want to try are a couple things....

In the guide, Collin suggest using your laptop/computer for only work based reasons...perhaps for a day or weekend. And then...turning it off and living. Instead of facebooking everyone, call a friend. No, don't call. Go visit them. Go outside. Write in a journal. Read a book. Turn your computer off. I'm going to try this. Keep my laptop off for an entire day. Although I once went two years without a laptop..while stage managing. So I know its manageable.

While I can't do it during a production, I also want to go back to turning my phones off for designated times. I used to keep my phones off on Sundays. So much more peaceful that way. I want to find more moments to do this. It gives you the freedom to be a bit more present.

On that note, I once read an article in a magazine where a woman when off the grid for an entire weekend. I mean she didn't turn lights on, no cell phones, no tv...no nothing. (She did use her stove though. One creative stove use was to boil a stained shirt in hot water to remove it!) The article was two pages long, I have it filled away and will scanned it in. I've held on to that article for many years now and it was so beautifully written.

Perhaps I'll take an entire weekend and go off the grid. Maybe I'll try doing it once a month.

Having listed my granola tendencies in regards to energy usage, do you see other areas where I can improve? I am all ears!!!

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