Zero Waste

Boy Scout Patch, image courtesy of Wikimedia
Is it a good goal to have "zero waste?"  I hate goals that are unattainable.  We have a goal in our home to have less waste: to consciously choose consumables that don't come with extra packaging, or that come only with packaging that can be recycled.  Also, we try to be less consumerist in our behavior.

Funny, with Christmas coming up, huh?  But what if gifts were experiences, like tickets to a park, the zoo, or for a visit?  What if they were handmade?  What if they were trees that could grow in our yard?  It's something to consider.

Some people don't think zero waste is an unattainable ideal.  Check out this project featured at Sunset Magazine.

Net Zero Energy

NET ZERO = Producing as much energy on an annual basis as one consumes on site, usually with renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaics or small-scale wind turbines.

This is a fantastically cool idea.  Of course, with enough money, anything is possible, right?  Bill Gates can probably afford enough solar panels to provide enough electricity for his enormous mansion-home, right?

Illustration courtesy of University of Wuppertal, B+TGA via Wikimedia

But that's not the point.  The point is to FIRST REDUCE CONSUMPTION.  And even though I admire those people who can just do without, that's not me and I'm pretty sure that's not most of us.  However, with the right BUILDING SCIENCE, buildings do not need to consume as much energy as they do.

"Greater building efficiency can meet 85 percent of future demand for energy in the United States." -- U.S. Green Building Council

What, really?  This is true for new buildings and to a lesser degree, renovated older buildings.  We know so much more than we did just 30 years ago about keeping buildings comfortable and healthy.

After a building's energy needs are minimized, it is a small (not all that expensive!) thing to provide enough energy to meet those needs.


p.s. I like the doggie Zero from Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas; but, unfortunately he has nothing to do with this post.