August 27, 2011

Being green without seeing red

Filed under: Uncategorized — by xrematon @ 8:44 pm
Tags: , ,

What's the answer?

Making progress in leading an environmental friendly lifestyle oftens seems to involve taking two steps forward and one step backwards. Why do I say this?

Well, take the most basic of human activities: eating. Doing this in a ‘green’ way is not straightforward. The more you get to understand about the decisions you are making, you realise there are no simple choices. I have written on this at greater length elsewhere.

Or moving onto another day to day task – washing and drying clothes. Though the following may seem all very prosaic, when it is an activity you do at least three times a week, it starts to matter. In my previous house, I used our airing cupboard to hang-dry clothes (making myself feel smug that I could use the ‘spare’ heat coming from the hot water tank). Our new house also has an airing cupboard but for some reason, clothes take 36 as oppose to 24 hours to dry. It turned out this was because the previous owners, who incidentally had started up their own green company , had insulated the hot water pipes and tank very well, reducing the loss of heat. So I face a paradox: saving energy here, do I have to succomb to getting a tumble dryer, using up lots more energy, and then even more to iron the crumpled items? There is, of course, a very simple solution: just to be patient and wait longer between washes!

My dilemma reminded about the findings of a study which discovered that new, more effective and efficient forms of lighting often stimulate greater energy consumption, rather than less. Basically, once it becomes easier and cheaper to get light, you have more of it as it allows you to do more stuff.  The article goes on to highlight the below:

Even now, the interiors of homes and workplaces are typically lit at only a tenth of the brightness of the outdoors on an overcast day, so there is plenty of room for improvement. And many outdoor areas that people would prefer to be bright at night remain dark because of the expense. If money were no object, some parts of the outdoors might be illuminated at night to be as bright as day.

So it seems that being green will also come to mean resist seeing the light.


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