Five Percent: Conserve Energy

Climate Change Is Important: Energy Conservation is the First Step

September 16, 2010

Review: SodaStream Gets Fizzy Water Right

Category: Green Reviews,Household,Organic & Local Food – Tom Harrison – 2:42 pm

sodastreamI continue to be stunned when I am at the market and see people buying bottled water, soda, flavored seltzers and other such products. They are heavy. They use plastic or aluminum containers. They are expensive. In short, a huge waste of resources at every level. And if you like soda (pop) it’s the same deal.

So make your own seltzer and soda at home — it’s easy, convenient, and saves money, and may also be good for the environment.

Not Your Dad’s Old Seltzer Bottle

I used to buy flavored seltzer in one liter bottles — lime, orange, and other flavors and fizzy water (no sugar). Then I recalled that when I was a kid, my dad had a seltzer bottle — one (CO2) charger would make a quart — a while back, I bought a Liss Soda Siphon and would regularly order packs of 10 chargers in the mail — I think they were about 50 cents a liter, which compares favorably to the 99 cents a liter at the store.

But the big wins: no bottles to lug, and as much water as you needed when you wanted it (as long as you keep chargers on hand). And no bottles in the landfill or to recycle. It was a reasonable solution, but after a year or so, a couple of the parts on the bottle started failing so that gas would leak out. I could usually make it work, but it was always a bit of a hassle to make a new batch. I think repair parts are available, so it’s still a pretty good option. (more…)

April 5, 2009

Things That Last: Does More Expensive Cost More?

Category: Conservation,Household – Tom Harrison – 2:17 pm

Yesterday I wrote about our frying pans. I am thinking about the things we have today that have been with us for a long time.

dead_electronicsI have behind me a pile of dead electronics. A printer, computer, monitor, iPods, headphones, wires, keyboards, mice, phones. None of these is more than five or so years old. In my basement, there’s another pile of old devices (stereo receivers, another printer, etc.). The list would be bigger if we didn’t do our best to pass along the stuff that is still serviceable.

We have been replacing pottery with new sets from Pottery Barn as needed — we’re pretty careful, but it’s all chipped on the edges, and many pieces broke. We got some wine glasses from Crate and Barrel and others from there, too. The wine glasses are etched (from the acid in the wine). our set of glasses is the remains of several attempts to restock. Yet the porcelain pottery we got when we were married have not a single chip, and we use it frequently. (more…)

March 27, 2006

Eat Your Veggies, But Not Just Because of Mom

Category: Household,Organic & Local Food,Take Actions,Tips – Tom Harrison – 9:20 pm

A brief check-in on our progress with perhaps the single most important change we have made, or should I say “we are making” as we proceed to adopt an energy-efficient, yet pain-free lifestyle. Not, not changing light bulbs, or even our Prii (we have 2, count ’em, Prius’es). Vegetables! (more…)

January 1, 2006

Why I Am Scrooge

Category: Companies,Cool Sites,Fun,Take Actions,Tips – Tom Harrison – 2:14 pm

Christmas has passed. And so have many, many goods.

Our two kids, 4 and 8, got a few gifts, but certainly not as many as I know many other kids got. Most of the gifts are now “put away”, meaning they are probably only going to be used a few times more, if ever. Some will last, but I think they are the exception. Gifts came by UPS and FedEx, box after box. (more…)

October 29, 2005

26 Million Tons of Food Trashed

Category: Big Things,Conservation,Economics,Organic & Local Food – Tom Harrison – 3:29 pm

Check out this statistic: 164 million tons of trash are thrown away each year the US. OK, well, hard to deal with out of context, but consider this: about 15% of our garbage (nearly 27 million tons) is food. Compare this to about 8 million tons of junk mail, newspapers, magazines and books (the share that is not recycled), and food is 3 times as much.

So considering the amount of energy used to produce food, this number seems staggering. (more…)