Simple, inexpensive things you can do to help the planet
Posts Tagged ‘Energy’
Over-illumination in the workplace not only wastes energy, it can lead to headaches, fatigue, and stress. Using natural daylight whenever possible is good for the environment and may just make you more productive to boot!
So, pull back those curtains, raise those shades, and let the sun light your room!
Ah, the dog days of summer (well, in the Northern Hemisphere, anyway!). What better time to reduce your use of the electric clothes dryer and go au naturel? We don’t mean you should run around nude (though that would certainly reduce the need for doing laundry!). We mean you should consider using sunlight and wind to dry your freshly washed clothes.
Good Magazine (where ITLT’s designer, Su Yin, works) estimates that a year’s worth of hot water laundry plus tumble drying produces 213.3 kg of CO2 per year. The same number of loads washed in cold water and line dried produces only 16 kg!
In the United States, nearly 6% of residential electricity is consumed by clothes dryers. The good news is that in the last 3 years, the number of Americans who consider a clothes dryer a “necessity” dropped by 17%.
Willing to give it a shot? TipThePlanet lists more different types of clotheslines and drying racks than you ever thought possible.
If you can’t avoid using a dryer, consider purchasing one with an automatic shut-off feature. Also, the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy recommends drying similar fabrics together, drying multiple loads in quick succession (to take advantage of residual heat), and making sure to clean the dryer filter after each use.
Ask anyone, they’ll tell you, the first step to making change is to admit you have a problem.
If you’re reading this, chances are your activities produce more carbon and other greenhouse gases than the average human being. If you don’t know how much more, now’s the time to find out.
The truth shall set you free
The simplest way to calculate your carbon footprint is to use an online calculator. Here are a few of our favorites.
If you live in the United States, one of the best is the Cool Climate Carbon Footprint Calculator by The Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Another excellent calculator for Americans is provided by The Nature Conservancy It takes into account home energy, transportation, diet, and recycling habits. Also USA-centric, Yahoo! offer an easy to use calculator, though it’s perhaps a bit too simplistic.
Our UK readers may want to try the Ecological Footprint Calculator by Best Foot Forward, winners of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development in 2005.
For the rest of us, the calculator at Carbon Footprint lets you choose the country in which you live. It requires entry of specific amounts of different types of energy used to calculate household use, which can be tedious, but should give accurate results.
Resurgence Magazine offer both quick and detailed carbon calculators, developed by Mukti Mitchell, designer of zero-emission yachts. The quick version lets you calculate the carbon produced by your energy use by asking you how much you spent on different types of energy over the past year while the detailed version asks for kilowatt hours used.
We’ve talked before about the importance of eating less meat to the environment. The Low Carbon Diet Calculator helps make our point by showing the relative impact of different kinds of food. (Of note is the fact that tofu is not much better than beef or lamb in terms of carbon produced!)
A quick and easy way to compare the carbon impact of different modes of travel is to use the CO2 emissions calculator from Transport Direct.
Lastly, if you’re an iPhone user, there are several applications (several of which are free) that can help you calculate and track your carbon emissions, such as Carbon Tracker. Go into iTunes and search for “carbon calculator” for more.
Knowing how much carbon dioxide is produced by what you do every day is the first step towards reducing your impact. Best of all, it’s free to find out.
Do you have a favorite carbon calculator that we missed? Link to it in the comments!