The life & times of an HVAC Engineer

{March 28, 2011}   It’s not easy being green

Earth Hour 60 at the Eiffel Tower - Credit: © WWF / Nina Munn

Last weekend I took part in Earth Hour. We had a fantastic time throwing a ‘pot luck dinner’ where everybody brought a dish, and we ate dinner, drank and chatted all in the warm, flickering glow of candlelight. Now I give you, though we weren’t using the lights or the oven during Earth Hour we had used the oven to cook the food earlier in the day and paraffin candles are not exactly a ‘green’ alternative given the amount of carbon they release and given they’re made using oil. So we probably did little, if anything, to reduce our carbon emissions for the day, and it’s likely that no-one else did either. This is a topic that had gained a certain amount of bad press for Earth Hour, with bloggers like Ross McKitrick writing about why they’re not taking part in Earth Hour because it ‘demonises electricity’. I have to say though, that I really don’t think that’s the point of Earth Hour.

In fact, going without electricity for an hour or so, and thinking about all the places that cannot possibly do so (like airport runways or life support wards in hospitals) is a fantastic way of celebrating the importance of electricity. When you realise how vital electricity is to maintaining our quality of life then you realise why it’s so important to ensure our power sources are sustainable. I for one certainly don’t want us to run out! The purpose of Earth Hour is to make us all more aware of sustainability issues, and make our voices heard when it comes to telling global leaders that we want them to address environmental impact. With millions of people taking part each year it just goes to show how many people think that these topics are important.

Power is not the only important aspect of sustainability though, and last week also saw World Water Day take place, as designated by the UN. The purpose of World Water Day is to communicate the important of the clean water supplies that so many of us take for granted. So many people are still living without easy access to clean water and sanitation. Again, this is a topic that individuals need to care about before our governments will pay attention to them and assist those that need it. It’s still an important topic in our own homes as well with the increase in water metering and the financial & environmental costs of water treatment. Perhaps with a little thought as to those who have no clean water at all we’ll stop pouring so much of it down the drain and start thinking about recycling water or just using less of it.

Sainburys certainly seem to be thinking about that this week as they’ve taken World Water Day and Earth Hour to heart by handing out free Littlefoot Energy & Water Saving Packs. These contain flush bags to put in your toilet cistern to reduce the amount of water per flush. They also contain a widget to reduce water consumption by your shower thus saving both water and the energy used to heat it up and pump it. I’d love to see more companies helping their customers to think green, but hopefully most of us will be able to take the initiative and reduce our energy usage without that push.


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