Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

A Tale of Two Molecules

Week seven of the Slate/Treehugger Green Challenge has arrived and this week’s topic is water. Specifically hot water since water don’t heat itself. Once again, the quiz reveals we’re already pretty green regarding the relationship between CO2 and H2O.

Short showers? Already doing it. It’s really simple. Short shower = longer sleep. ‘Nuff said. Low flow shower head? No. Here’s where I’ll play the hey-I-have-a-hybrid-card. Boil only the water I need for my tea? Check. Run dishes when the dishwasher is full? check. Keep the water heater at 120F or less? Probably. Mine has low-med-high with little hash marks in between. It’s set one hash above med as near as I can tell. It’s hard to get to and checking it would require backing the car out, which would require starting it and adding needlessly to the CO2 in the atmo.

For extra credit, I pledged to do things I was intending to do anyway: replace the water heater with a tankless model when it needs replacing and replace our current Energystar dishwasher with another Energystar when it dies.

The results page says this:

  • Installing a low-flow shower head saves an average of 507 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
  • Running the dishwasher only when it’s full saves about 50 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
  • Setting your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees Fahrenheit saves about 275 pounds of CO2 emissions per person per year.
  • Insulating your hot water heater saves about 500 pounds of CO2 per person per year.
  • Installing a solar water heating system reduces your CO2 emissions by about 360 pounds annually per person.

The last two I won’t be doing at this time.

So, this week we shed some water weight and reduced our carbon load by 911 lbs or .09 cars. This brings the total reduction to 7881 lbs or 43% of my original total of 18274 lbs.

Saving cold water also helps as well, which reminds me of my grandmother’s admonition: ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown flush it down.’ She lived her whole life in the deserts of Arizona. We won’t go that far.

1 Comment

  1. As far as the flushing thing goes, we definitely followed that saying one really lean summer, but we had a slight addendum. If one of my sister’s friends came over, I flushed, and she did the same for me if one of my friends came over. Regardless of how tight the pursestrings are, you can’t have your friends noticing the color of your toilet water.

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