Monday, October 13, 2008

Carbon footprint FAIL

I like a leaky house. That is to say I don't mind some drafts from improperly sealed windows and doors. I did spend an evening caulking around the living room and dining room floors because there was actual COLD AIR that I could feel on my ankles, and I installed backer rod outside on my south-facing but unsunny part of the house as a draft sealer as well. It works pretty well.

My complaint is about my carbon footprint, according to various websites I've plugged my numbers into.

Yes, I drive an older car---about once a week for less than 30 km (that's about 19 miles in US gallons) each trip. I've filled the gas tank twice THIS YEAR. My car also passed its biennial (every two years in US gallons) emissions test, with almost no emissions registered on the test equipment. Every four months I drive to the dentist for a cleaning, which since I'm diabetic is essential---and yes, I floss! It's a 35 km round trip that takes about 40 minutes by car and over three hours by public transit, usually in a diesel-smoke-belching bus. I drive to the beer and liquor stores to turn in my empties and get full ones, about 3.5 km round trip (which I often do by public transit). And once or twice a year I drive to my mom's, a 1250 km round trip.

I also have an older house (ca. 1925) with an older furnace. However, I got my electricals updated (from 60 to 100W) when I moved in, and shortly after replaced the water pipes with copper. In 2007 I got "water remediation" done, which meant replacing the big pipe from the street to the property line by the city for free, and from the property line into the house for somewhat more, and included a water meter. This means that my water bills are no longer calculated by the number of faucets in the house and I'm billed on actual usage. My first bill was minus $150. My next bill was minus $94. I expect my next water bill to be about $14.00.

October 31 update: My latest water bill was minus $42.32. I'm sure some day I'll be billed for water, but the next bill will have a $10 rebate because I chose the smallest garbage bin.

I ordered the smallest recycling and garbage bins. I got a downspout disconnected and use the waterbarrel. The only non-CFLs in the house are in the kitchen. Using a laptop and multiple power bars I use about $6 of electricity a month (<300kW in two months). I have low-flow faucets, shower, and a high-efficiency toilet (HET; 4.6 liters for the full flush and half that for the half-flush).

I guess I do need 4.3 planets to support my lifestyle. What less can I do?

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