Eco-Living Magazine

Abstract II: At Home - Complementing Solar Energy with Sustainable Behaviour

Posted on the 28 February 2013 by Derick Ajumni
Abstract II: At Home - Complementing Solar Energy with Sustainable Behaviour We may agree that there are two distinct types of individuals. Those with 'rule based thinking' and those with 'associative thinking'. Both thinkers work in parallel; but do not agree at the same time -- tricky right? Let me explain: the rule based system of thinking is slow and makes decisions based on careful consideration of facts while the associative thinking system is unconscious behavior - such individuals arrive at decisions much more quickly through impulse. The process to install a solar system may be a rule based thought…but it would be really awesome if humanity could follow the below household sustainable practices as associative thinking.
Saving on water 
Insure that your water tank is up to date and inspected every year. Insulating it with a thick blanket to prevent heat from escaping will go a long way in increasing its efficiency hence reducing carbon emissions downstream.
  1. When heating water for numerous activities in the kitchen, always try to heat just the required amount so as to save on energy usage. 
  2. Fix that dripping tap – it may not cost you much but if the water dripping happened to be hot water, this will have a dramatic impact on your carbon emissions as energy is used constantly to heat this water and also remember the energy used to process this water. 
  3. Ensure that you stop the tap occasionally when brushing your teeth, and make sure your toilet doesn't hold more than 6 liters of water for flushing. 

Food sustainable behavior 
Shop locally for groceries helps break the carbon emissions chain. Weekly farmer’s markets are an excellent example of areas to shop which help curb the long distances traveled to bring food and other consumable commodities to you. This also supports local farmers and improves the local economy. Remember to ask yourself if you really need this or if you are going to prepare this as soon as possible before it rots. What is called ‘rampant consumerism’ plays a huge role in carbon emissions as one of the by-products.
  1. Buy and consume locally grown stuff. Organically grown foods support the local market and cut the long hauls in refrigerated trucks to your supermarket. 
  2. Reduce the amount of red meat you consume. Studies show that the livestock industry produces a high amount of carbon and other chemicals such as methane which is released into the atmosphere yearly. 

Appliances (Fridge) 
  1. Location is very important when it comes to appliances in the kitchen. Keeping you fridge away from direct sunlight keeps it at room temperature optimizing its performance. 
  2. Remember to defrost your fridge constantly, and also to keep it only as cold as you need it. Don’t leave the door open for long periods of time to prevent its cold air from escaping making the fridge use more energy to cool down after being closed. 
  3. It’s important to avoid placing warm food in the fridge for the same above scenario will occur. 

Source: Psychology of Sustainable behavior' by Christie Manning, PhD (2009)

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