Thursday, April 19, 2007

Green with Envy

An Inconvenient Truth, a recent Netflix arrival, went into the DVD player last night. DW and I watched about half of it before we were called to other responsibilities. We were fortunate enough to see Al Gore during a teaching conference here in NYC in March. The movie so far has been almost identical to his lecture, with a few extra personal stories thrown in. He was great in person, but if you've seen him live or seen the movie, you can skip the one you didn't see without feeling like you missed anything.

DW came away from the conference a bit depressed, since Gore spent very little time on telling us practical next steps. One could have left thinking we're really up a creek, and one could be right. I've always been a little interested in reusable or alternative energy sources -- Wired had a great article about flywheels years ago that I never got out of my mind. Essentially they're green ways of storing kinetic energy (a spinning cylinder in a frictionless vacuum), which can then be tapped to produce electricity. It's the kind of solutions that we'll never see mainstreamed while there's money to be made in coal and oil. It's really pretty sick.

So what can/have we done to make our meager little apartment more green? Well, we have no outdoor space of our own to set up wind generators or solar panels, so our efforts need to be indoor solutions.

  • We have replaced two bulbs with Compact Fluorescents [popular mechanics compares CF bulbs and traditional incandescents] ... come to think of it, I need to put that other one in a socket! Right now it is saving us in electricity bills but emitting no light either. I'd like to change over more but so many of our bulbs cast the main light for the room, and we've not seen great things when put over our dinner table.
  • We did get a flat screen TV. Hey, less heat energy wasted than CRTs, right?? Heh... :)
  • We are both great recyclers (a good habit best started young)
Hmmm.. I thought we were doing more. Next steps for me:
  • I want to start looking at phantom loads in our house that we can get rid of. Like that DVD player that hasn't worked for a year but is still plugged in?!
  • Find out which alternate energy providers are actually supplying green power to con ed and switch.
  • I still want to find the solution to make energy via pedal power, etc. Why isn't this in our house already? You'd think someone would have created a TV that only powers on when you supply the juice! Are we really that lazy?
I always leave a light on for the kitties before I go to work, but now it's a CF bulb, which they don't seem to mind. Well, if they do, at least they're not telling me.

How are you "greening" your apartment or home? Please let me know in the comments.

No comments: