Sunday, June 22, 2008

Conservation

I'm not really the tree hugger type, though I do like to do my part when I can.  Is that bad?  No, I don't think so... if you do what you can when you can, I think that's good enough.  Not many people are able to go out and buy the new Honda Civic NGV (natural gas) or use solar panels or wind turbines, especially if they rent... but buying weather stripping for your windows and switching to CFL's is a nice start.


So, with that said, let me tell you about my latest project.  Conserving energy and reducing my carbon footprint. 


About the carbon footprint thing, that doesn't mean that I'm going to crazy and make sure I do every little thing no matter how expensive; like I saw this website where you can buy carbon credits or something that will offset your lifestyle and how much carbon you use.


Like, you type in your cars miles per gallon and miles per year... your house or apartment size... stuff like that and it calculates how much you should buy.  Well, I did that and I have to pay a little over $600 to offset everything.  Yeah, that's what I said.  Also, who does that go to?  I don't know!  Someone could have just made a nice website with a PayPal donate button!


I also may have said this before, but I do the normal stuff... like buy a pair of "green" eco friendly Simple shoes*, recycle my glass and plastic bottles (I don't use a lot of paper), and turn off lights when I leave the room.


*See, I'll only buy a pair of shoes, not like a whole wardrobe change!


But now that we moved and we are at a place that is super close to my work, (about half a mile) I can walk or ride my bike.  I also bought some CFL's and put them around the house.  There are also some lights in the hallway and living room that have dimmers, so I have just been keeping them off or on low.


I'm also trying a new thing of turning off my electronics when I leave or I'm not using them.  I'd like to know how much power they use when I'm not using them.  Like my XBOX, my speakers (small) my TV (only 32 inch LCD).... stuff like that.  You know that your stuff is still using power if its plugged in right?  Yeah, you have to turn either unplug them or turn the power strip off.


How much does all of this help?  Am I really helping the environment or am I just helping my wallet?  I think a little of both.


What I would love to do is setup some solar panels on the roof or my windows that could power my TV and other entertainment items as well as keep a battery charge for when the sun isn't shining.


I don't think that will really work, not for now at least.  We don't have direct light except for the light in the morning.  Plus I bet it's expensive.


Though I did see an ad for Radio Shack on the back of my Popular Mechanics that showed some guy made a solar charger for his iPod on the back of his backpack.  How much did that cost?  I'd love to make one for mine!  


You know?  Hmm... yeah, it may work... what if I built something with solar panels that would be able to charge/power my laptop as well as my cell phone and iPod?  I wonder how much it would cost... I'd also have to get a soldering iron I bet...  


So how much do you do to "save" the environment?  Do you carpool?  Do you just turn off lights around the house when you aren't using them?  Do you have a natural gas or hybrid vehicle?  I'd like to hear about it.

2 comments:

Onesimus3 said...

Well-for what it is worth- I am convinced that most environmental issues are over-blown by the media. I'm not sure who funds the emphasis, but for the past 40 years I have noticed fad after fad come along in the area of environment, energy savings, etc.
The issues that are being featured today were mentioned in the same crisis format as when I was in high school a long long time ago. 40 years ago we were told that we were running out of fuel, speed limits were dropped to 55mph, daylight savings was mandated by law for the entire year round. And not only did gasoline shoot up to 79 cents a gallon- you had to wait in line for 2-3 hours to get a 10 gallon maximum and only on odd or even days. The same stuff just seems to cycle back around. I give up!
Onesimus3

Michael said...

The carbon-footprint is Al Gore propaganda. He didn't make it into presidency, so he had to voice himself elsewhere.
I think recycling is a good idea, but to recycle, industries are using a ton of natural resources to melt down the plastic and metal. But we never hear about that.
I think CFL's are a fad. They are a gimmick to get people feel like they are helping out the environment, but do people really know what they are buying? I hope you don't break any of the ones that you bought.
Watch this video to find out why. (it's rather humorous.)
http://youtube.com/watch?v=e-LOtKIIKcg
As far as what am I doing...Sarah and I use the re-usable bags for grocery shopping. I am planting a few trees this year to help shade my house in a future years as they begin to grow. This will cut on my a/c bill.
I think that is it.