Friday, February 29, 2008

Dark Green

For some reason, there was a whole heap of green in front of me today. I was doing my normal check of blogs this morning, when one of my co-workers made some remark about Tree Hugger, which prompted a conversation about how most environmentally friendly advice is based on living in a house rather than an apartment.

He, being a darker shade of green than myself pointed out a few things which I found interest: There's a place in the East Village that does a much better job with recycling your waste than the city can do (yes, you have to pay them and bring your recyclables to them, but at least that way you know it's being done right). Also, he reminded me of switching to green power, as generation and delivery are now separate services you can choose you provider and there are some offering only sustainable energy. Lastly he reminded me of the evils of bottled water (which we have everywhere in the office). While I'm inclined to look into carrying my trash halfway through the city, and already have green energy, this last point gave me something to think about.

It was mere moments later that I came across this illustration:


And this prompted me to action. Yes, I admit it's not the biggest move I could have made, but I starting looking for a better way to keep water on hand. It's been shown time and time again that tap water, especially in developed regions, is as good, if not better than, bottled water. So I figured this is as good a source for water as any. This raised the next problem, transport. I've repeatedly read that nalgenes leach unwanted chemicals into water stored in them. This led me to Sigg bottles, which apparently don't carry this risk (correct me if I'm wrong). Anyway, we'll see how it works once my impulse purchase arrives.

After all this, Tom posted a note on his savings with a programmable thermostat. While I have Manhattan Steam to heat my apartment (which lacks any of the luxuries of control a thermostat brings) this on/off notion did make me connect a dot to another post I came across today: Vanessa Farquharson finished a year of small green changes today, one of which was to stop using a fridge. While I still need a fridge, I am going to push that thermostat higher (ie less cooling) and remove some of the things in it like condiments that don't need refrigeration (ie less volume to keep cool) and maybe achieve some savings that way - we'll see where I go with that.

In sum, while I started today complaining about not being able to undertake a lot of these green ventures in an apartment in a city, there is actually quite a bit that can be achieved through small changes if one is aware and acts consciously. To finish my day, my co-worker reminded me to turn out the lights, a simple act which often goes undone in apartment building hallways - maybe I'll try and convince my co-owners that we should put some timers on those as well...

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