You Don’t Know Green!

From cleaning yogurt off your counter to building a house, the “greenest” option isn’t ever obvious.

h/t: The Daily Dish

5 thoughts on “You Don’t Know Green!”

  1. She should have just licked the yogurt off of the counter-top and thus realized a net gain in the energy ‘consumed’.

  2. What a relief, I am not the only one obsessed with embodied energy! I use a different approach which is probably less accurate, I take the purchase price and divide it by the number of days I use it and try to amortize my purchases down to a dime a day. The outcome is similar, minimizing ones impact on the planet. Of course, I also have some elephants in the room like my hot tub and flying. Ouch! In my defense they are well calculated abuses.

  3. This is an interesting way to look at environmental trade-offs, but it is not the only way, nor does it seem remotely comprehensive. If one is only concerned about energy, then this seems a reasonable trade-off method. However, what about all of the other environmental dimensions that deserve/demand attention as well? This method appears to ignore many other impacts: toxicity, human health, ozone depletion, eutropication, acidification, resource depletion, and land use, among others. If this list looks familiar to anyone, it should – these are among the basic impact categories of a method of analysis known as Life Cycle Assessment. Even with LCA, it is dangerous to compare two different systems or products because of how difficult it is to draw the boundaries equally for each system. Where do you stop counting the impacts of the paper towel or the house? At the wood yard, the factory, or the forest? The point is, embodied energy is a neat idea, but the use of it as the end-all-be-all tool to me is also suspect, as she claims other methods to be.

    At least she is using a method with data instead of just taking someone’s word for it – that’s a great start! I think our best bet at choosing environmental alternatives is to use (third party) certifications as a guide, although they are not all created equal – caveat certificatum!

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