Does it really matter?
Saving one drop of water, turning off one light bulb— does it reallymatter? Consumption is easy, conserving is much harder. We all have hectic lives. Do small actions have any impact? One drop of water a second does not seemlikemuch. But this seemingly little thing adds up. Per the USGSWater Science School, one drop a second adds up to 5 gallons a day, 2,082 gallons a year, over 20,000 gallons a decade. This is a modest-sized swimming pool of water literally going down the drain.
One standard incandescent 60-watt light bulb left on overnight consumes .48 kWh of electricity or about a half pound of coal. Per theUnion of Concerned Scientists, the production of 1kWh consumes 1/3 to 2/3 gallon of water. Over a year this equates to 175 kWh, about 87 pounds of coal and consumes somewhere between 50 - 110 gallons of water. Over a decade this equates to over 1,750 kWh, or about 870 pounds of coal and consumes somewhere between 500–1,000 gallons of water depending on how the electricity is generated (coal, nuclear, gas).
The above does not take into consideration the pollution created by the generation of this power which will last for years, long after you have turned the light bulb off. These small inactions consume many precious resources.
Over the holidays we should take time to reflect on our actions. It is time to celebrate life and loved ones. It is also an appropriate time to ponder what we want our impact and legacy to be on our community and in the world. We can all change to have a little less negative impact. We can consume a bit less, we can conserve a bit more, and we can help others save. Saving water and energy is a gift that rewards everyone.
Giving gifts that can save water, energy, and save on utility bills may bemore appreciated than ever this holiday season. Treat yourself, a family member, a friend or a local charity with one of the below.
• Give a pack of LED light bulbs. These save tremendous amounts of energy and water.
• Give a hi-efficiency shower head. These pay for themselves in just a few years.
• Donate to a local charity like the Santa FeWatershed Association at santafewatershed.org.
• If you live in the City of Santa Fe, download Eye-On-Water. It is a free smartphone app to monitor your water usage. Find out more at - http://savewatersantafe.com/eye-on-water
• Become smarter about your energy use, attend an online class at the Santa Fe Community College – House as a System (ENEF 114)
Little acts do add up. This holiday season help yourself and someone else re- duce their water and/or energy footprint. These seemingly small savings add up over time to have very large impacts.
Doug Pushard, founder of the website www.HarvestH2o.com, has designed and installed residential rainwater systems for over a decade. He is a member of the Santa FeWater Conservation Committee, a lifetime member of the American Rainwater Catchment Systems Association, and an EPAWaterSense Partner. He can be reached at doug@HarvestH2o.com.