Posts Tagged ‘green watch’

Resumed green watching. Not easy for an overworked blogger like me. Green awareness has fallen at the bottom of my list. At the same time, I am so busy working, that I have little time to consume energy, other than the electricity to power my laptop. No driving, minimal grocery shopping, making do with whatever is in the fridge, and hardly any cooking, have translated into minimal energy use. Of course, it helps that I work from home, and that I have been biking everywhere.

The lesson. I do not recommend everyone works as much as I do. But there is something to be said for getting lost into one’s work or passion. A state of flow, such as I have experienced lately, does not leave room for consumerism.

Read Full Post »

Day 5 of green watching. It ain’t easy. Thank God, for the startling noise of the fan yesterday. That, I did notice.

Through this green watching exercise, I am realizing the difficulty of noticing even when one consumes energy. Again, this is a problem I had encountered during Daily Footprint Project. The car, the dryer, these are obvious ones that cannot not be noticed. But how about the silent fridge, the TV, the computer, the electric toothbrush, the microwave, the dishwasher? All the appliances that tend to be turned on 24/7?

And even if I did notice, I’m not about to keep on running the house to plug and unplug those energy suckers. There’s got to be a way to have them turned off when not in use – with the exception of the fridge, of course! . . . After all, standby power, otherwise called vampire power, or phantom load, represents between 5 and 10% of home electricity use, and 1% of world co2 emissions.

Read Full Post »

Fourth day of green watching. My recent car trips, driving my daughter around, have brought home a new reality. I no longer enjoy being in my car. How else can I explain my rush to get home? Speeding way past the 65mph limit on the freeway, whenever I could. And getting in touch with the unpleasantness of being boxed in, and at the mercy of traffic. Not being able to do much else, other than tune in to NPR. And then, what do you do, when the program sucks?

Nearly a year ago, I wrote emphatically:

The truth is, I looooove my car. What is there not to like? The immediacy, the convenience, the privacy, the spaciousness, the experience of moving around in my little cocoon. I can get on the phone while I drive, listen to NPR, spread my stuff on the passenger seat. I don’t have to worry about the other cars so much, I am not as invisible as on a bike. I can cram a lot more activities in the day. I am free to go wherever, freeway if I please, don’t have to plan. No need for a disgraceful helmet. I can wear a dress without having to worry about it flying off. I had never thought about all the advantages, until now. Ask my sixteen year old daughter, car = freedom. Not what the green people want to hear, but the truth nevertheless.

I can’t help but notice the change. As convenient as my car is, let’s face it, it pales in comparison to the pleasure I get from riding my bike, or working on my laptop when taking the train. If only, we had a better transportation infrastructure! More trains and buses, more frequently, and cheaper. And environments, designed to enhance riders’ experiences.

Read Full Post »

Yesterday, was my first full day of green watching.

When I asked hubby Prad, whether I should include the energy to filter water in our pool, his thought was no. Our house has solar, and we are energy neutral. I say, that’s cheating. The whole point of “green_watch” is to see how energy reliant my life is throughout the day. That we were able to afford solar is besides the point.

For all the publicity surrounding solar, here are some sobering statistics from TriplePundit– as of 2007 :

Photovoltaic cells, most of which are made from silicon, have exploded in use around the country over the past five years as once-prohibitive costs for home use of the technology have declined. Between 2002 and 2006, the number of new photovoltaic systems installed in U.S. homes nearly tripled to 7,446 from 2,805, according to the Interstate Renewable Energy Council in Latham, N.Y. Industry officials say that such installations are expected to top 11,000 this year.

To put this in perspective the United States has about 70 million single family detached housing units. The yearly installation rate would have to go up by a factor of over 6000 to reach 1% of the existing single family home housing units per year (more for attached townhouses, apartment buildings, and other housing structures).

This is why energy efficiency and conservation, the two low hanging fruit in energy reduction, need to become both personal and national priorities. This starts with monitoring, of the kind performed here, with “green watching”.

Read Full Post »