As we make our way into the second half of the semester we find that living sustainable is becoming easier every day. This month I was in charge of monitoring energy used. The numbers have been going down by 1 kWh per person per month. Why is this happening? Perhaps it is because we know that we don’t need to have every light on in the house when we aren’t there, is it because we aren’t washing a few pieces of clothing at a time, or maybe it’s a different combination, but the one thing that is happening is that we are using less energy every day and every month.
With the turn into the new semester, we also welcome colder temperatures. We know with these colder temperatures we are going to have to turn on our heat, especially if this winter is like last winter! The other day we went and looked at our heater and saw that it was gas fed. Upon noticing this we wanted to find a way to monitor our gas use. We could not find a meter outside or inside the house so monitoring will have to be done through the gas company. This begs the question why aren’t these meters in the house. I have noticed that by having monitors around the house you become more consciences about how much gas, water, or energy you are using.
Along with energy consumption going down, we are seeing a decrease in trash and water consumption. Each week we try to set new goals for ourselves. With the water we have been trying to use less by taking shorter showers, combining small loads of laundry, and making sure all faucets are turned all the way off; these simple changes have help reduce our water usage every week. Trash has been lowered by simply reducing the amount of food brought in to the house. Since we are all college students on a budget, we have been buying only the essential food that is needed. Most of the food bought is juice, chicken, dairy products and some fruits and vegetables. Many of these products have little packaging and can be composted or recycled, and reducing our trash output.
One goal we want to accomplish by the end of the year is to start having the other houses on campus more aware of their gas, water, trash, and energy. We want to accomplish this by having a recycling competition among the house. We hope that this competition would allow the other house see that simple changes to everyday routines can have a huge difference in consumption uses. We have seen this in our house and we hope to continue to see changes on a much larger scale.