Michael Broadbent’s Efficient Dorm – Week 1

Seven days have passed since I first began my goal: to reduce my energy usage in my college dorm.  It started easily, of course.  I began by unplugging everything that wasn’t currently in use – my microwave (which I almost never use anyway), printer, phone charger, etc.  At first, I felt pretty good about that, until a little thought in the back of my brain spoke up:  “Michael!” it said, ” You have to do more than that to save the world!  A few unplugged appliances aren’t going to save the Earth!”  I nodded in agreement with my own brain – it made a good point, after all.

My dorm is littered with used water bottles – the water that comes from our sinks in our bathroom is… less than drinkable, so water needs to be purchased from stores and brought here.  Normally, I’d buy water bottles in bulk and use them whenever I get thirsty, and recycle them after I was finished.  However, plastic water bottles, even when recycled, are terrible for the environment.  At this point, I have two choices – both of which involve reusable water bottles in some fashion.  I could use reusable water bottles to get water from the sinks in the bathroom.  This is probably the most environmentally-friendly of the two options, though it would turn drinking water- one of my favorite activities – into something horrible indeed.  The other option would be to buy large 1-2 gallon containers of water from a store to fill my reusable water bottles.  This would still create plastic waste, but a lot less of it.  Hopefully, there’s a third option somewhere that I just haven’t discovered yet, which is better than either of the two options.

Sadly, that’s all the real progress I’ve made over the past week – not much (at all), but it’s a start.  Remembering to keep things I’m not using unplugged is slightly tougher than I expected.  Forming new habits is never easy.  Hopefully I’ll be able to make more significant progress in the future.  I’ve got a lot more research and brainstorming to do!

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