walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

chest freezer, UCS and _The Consumers Guide to Effective Environmental Choices_

In the course of shrinking the library, I hauled this out (published 1999, presumably purchased and read around then). One of the authors is/was "deputy director for programs at" UCS, an organization which I respect (and I show that respect, in part, with $$$).

I remembered their take-away basically being: focus on the big stuff, and that means keep your house and car small, drive less, when you replace stuff do so with more energy efficient, eat down the chain and try not too sweat the small stuff. A number of things have changed in my life since then, which made me curious. Did I remember the message correctly? And do I still believe the numbers, now that almost a decade has gone by?

First up: Table 3.4 Electricity Use by Household Lighting and Appliances

In addition to making abundantly clear why compact fluorescents became such a hot item (and they do describe and advocate CFLS later in the text), I took a look at the stand-alone freezer number: 1240 kWh/yr. Holy moly! Huge. Worse than an average refrigerator, second only to an average swimming pool pump (yet another reason for refusing to consider buying a house with a pool! As if the death rate on those suckers wasn't bad enough). But I knew that, and bought one with that in mind (shop off EnergyStar .xls available from the guvmint). Numbers don't always stick in my brain, so downstairs to see what ours is: 282. Geez. That's lower. Like an average dishwasher in this table. Sweet!

Great quote on p 93:

"One trick to motivate yourself to reduce your driving is to imagine that gasoline is much more expensive than it really is...that every ten-mile trip costs not one dollar but three, you may find yourself coming up with creative ways to reduce your driving."

*snicker* No imagination needed any more!

The message is as-I-recalled. The biggest thing I would expect a version of this published now to include that isn't here is the peak oil stuff, and the unbelievably high cost of energy that is resulting. Also, updated information in tables of energy use.

The epilogue is an interesting historical overview of anti-consumption/pro-conservation rhetoric over the last hundred or so years. Still worth reading.
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