Tag Archives: water conservation

No Impact Experiment: Energy and Water

I’m rather insistent that Bug’s summer vacation be educational as well as fun. I’m one of THOSE moms. This week, we’re taking part in the No Impact Experiment, a 1-week carbon cleanse, and learning (hopefully) why it’s important to be more conscious of the environmental impact of seemingly mundane daily decisions. 

We fell a bit behind on our experiment over the weekend because Bug had some social engagements that kept him out of the house. Since this is his educational activity, I decided to wait until he was back home to continue. But to make up a bit for lost time, we decided to do two days’ challenges in one: energy and water.

For the energy portion, we wrote down every item in every room in the house that is using energy (electricity, gas, batteries). I’d show the list here, but it’s long and, really, not that important. Next, we starred those items that we would normally use in the remaining days of our experiment (which was pretty much all of them). Then we decided which items we would eliminate and which we would mitigate. Interestingly enough, it was my iPod I missed the most. I hand-pounded pesto with a mortar and pestle in order to avoid the food processor, and still it was the music I missed the most. Bug reports missing his DS the most. (No surprise there.) We didn’t do anything terribly unique in order to cut back on our energy usage, we just…. used less. It was warm and sunny, so Bug was outside most of the day while I worked. Hand-pounding pesto is about as exciting as we got on this one.

As for water, we practiced our usual conservation techniques: collecting water from the tub faucet while waiting for it to warm and using it to water plants and flush the toilet, letting it mellow when it’s yellow, using the low-flow feature on the showerhead, washing pots and pans by hand so there’s more room for other dishes in the dishwasher, washing only full loads of laundry (which takes no effort, since there’s always plenty of laundry with Baby Jupiter around), reusing the same dishes throughout the day so the dishwasher fills less quickly… again, nothing particularly out of the ordinary for us on this challenge. I did introduce Bug to the water footprint of our food, which he found mildly interesting, and we opted for chicken instead of beef for dinner, but we rarely eat beef anyway. (I could go vegetarian or nearly-vegetarian  myself, but Mr. Legume – a former vegetarian himself – finds that he’s always starving without meat in his meals.)

So, as I write this, I’m realizing we could’ve challenged ourselves more. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I see that we kind of regressed today. Poor planning on my part led to a trip through a drive-through for lunch (which is something that very rarely happens around here even when we’re not in the middle of a no impact experiment) and more poor planning had our garbage production up as well. Maybe we’ve hit mid-week fatigue?


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Change the World Wednesday: Water conservation

I recently discovered the Reduce Footprints blog, and decided to join last week’s Change the World Wednesday Challenge. The challenge: take only showers for the week and limit them to five minutes. I thought this would be an easy challenge for me since Baby Jupiter generally sees to it that I never have more than five minutes to do any one thing anyway. I’m also a habitual over-sleeper, so I’m extremely experienced in the fine art of a speedy shower.


It finally decided to be sunny in Seattle this week, so I shaved my legs. Five-minute shower fail. And then Mr. Legume and I shared a shower, and that always makes them last longer (though not for any of the steamy reasons you’re imagining, much to Mr. Legume’s chagrin). Five-minute shower fail again. I think I’ve come in at the five minute mark once out of four attempts. But I have been using the low water flow setting on the shower head, so surely that counts for something.


To make up for my (so far) epic fail, I thought I’d share a water-saving shower tip with you. If your house is old an inefficient like mine, a fair amount of perfectly good water goes straight down the drain while you’re waiting for it to warm up to a suitable temperature. Stick a bucket under the faucet to collect the water (remove the bucket before you start actually bathing so that you don’t end up collecting soap suds as well). You’ll be amazed (and shocked and dismayed) at how much water was previously going down the drain. Use your bucket o’ bath H20 to water house plants, soak dirty pots and pans, add it to your rain barrels, or use it to flush your toilet (pour the water into the toilet bowl – carefully, until you get the feel for your toilet’s “flush point” – and it will flush without using the water from the toilet tank).

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