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January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

Checklist Toward Zero Carbon

Ways of living more sustainably can take many forms: 1. Reorganizing living conditions • ecovillages • transition towns 2. Reappraising economic sectors • art • advertising • architecture • business • consumerism Achieving sustainability will enable the Earth to continue supporting human life as we know it. The concept was first proposed as an international endeavor in 1987 when sustainability (as sustainable development) was formally defined by the United Nations as development that "meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs." http:// There is now abundant scientific evidence that humanity is living unsustainably. Returning human use of natural resources to within sustainable limits will require nothing less than a major collective (global) effort. The transition required to reduce global human consumption to within sustainable limits involves much larger changes, at all levels and contexts of society.

• fashion • industries • landscape architecture • packaging • procurement • tourism • transport 3. Reappraising work practices • sustainable architecture 4. Using science to develop new technologies • green technologies • renewable energy


- nuclear energy

The single most impactful jobs in the future will contribute towards global awareness, development and implementation of ongoing sustainability measures. A career in any of the following fields would be a lifelong commitment to Planet Earth and the survival of humanity.

- bio fuel

There are indeed many more items that should be in the rather basic list below. Note the distinction between 'old-school' traditional disciplines and the new 'green' career fields; each and every field (which meets the criteria of sustainability) can and should be made 'green'.

- biomass - geothermal power - hydroelectricity - solar energy - tidal power - wave power - wind power


January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

5. Adjustments in individual lifestyles • Population control - Birth control


- Family planning



- Overpopulation


00.1 Foreword

- Zero population growth


00.2 About the Checklist

• Energy conservation


01.0 Your Food

• Recycling


02.0 Family Planning & Health

• Housing


03.0 Money and Stuff

• Mobility


04.0 Waste

• Employment


05.0 Driving & Flying

• Consumerism


06.0 Playing & Pets

• Food


07.0 Your Home

• Leisure


08.0 Work

• Health


09.0 School

• Education


10.0 Renovation/Construction


11.0 Calculate Your Footprint


12.0 Consider Carbon Offsets

• Atmosphere


13.0 Conclusion

• Land


13.1 Epilogue (get political)

• Fresh Water


13.2 Science & Skepticism

• Oceans


13.3 Checklist Sources

• Cultivated Land


14.0 Climate Change 101 – a short reading list for everyone

6. Managing Environmental Resources

• Extinction • Energy • Food • Minerals • Materials • Pollution • etc. The scope of the problem involves many aspects of social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues. One hardly knows where to begin! We can all start by taking a step in the right direction, as the compiling editor of this exciting and comprehensive checklist, Ken Levenson, has done. Ken helps us to sort out action from the overwhelming evidence that otherwise would occupy the mind in tragic idleness. The time to act was yesterday. We have some serious catching up to do. Ted Ollikkala ( Singapore 12 January 2010

00.1 Foreword Source: January 12th, 2010

In 2005 the eminent climate scientist Dr. James Hansen said, “We are on the precipice of climate system tipping points beyond which there is no redemption.” Just a few years later, we are now crossing some of those tipping points. It’s time to stop talking. We must reduce now. Read the checklist. Download it, edit it, make it your own and distribute it. Melting polar ice will soon disintegrate, raising oceans to threaten the existence of Miami, New York, Shanghai, Jakarta, Calcutta, Lagos, London and other cities. The polar bears are going to die. And 20 to 40% of animal species will be extinct by mid-century. The tropics are turning to desert. Monsoon rains will cease. There will be drought, famine, and millions of refugees. We could be among them. Hundreds of millions of lives will be at risk, quite possibly billions. Yes, billions. We face these consequences not in 1,000 or 100 years, but in our lifetime. We face an emergency, the likes of which civilization has never seen. What is to be our legacy?

Cover Collage: Ted Ollikkala, Photo by Ken Levenson 2

January 12th, 2010

The tipping point for atmospheric CO2 concentration is approximately 350 parts per million (ppm). Past it we are on the road to catastrophe. It’s now 383ppm and rising 2ppm per year. We need to take immediate action. We must halt the building of new coal and gas power plants that don’t capture the CO2 they produce, and require the conversion of all existing coal power plants to capture CO2. If the power plants cannot be converted, let’s shut them down. There’s no “silver bullet” to fix the problem – we must also massively invest in clean energy sources, forest restoration, public transportation, and in building a carbon neutral society. We need to elect leaders who are serious about this emergency to every level of government and educate the ones who are not. Let’s examine our own lives and make them as carbon free as possible. This checklist is a simple way to get started. As the dynamic of climate change feeds on itself, shocks lie ahead. The previously benign Siberian soil, locked for ages in permafrost, is now melting, releasing greenhouse gases (GHG) that exceed the total output of U.S. manmade emissions.

Published by: teducation

Ken Levenson is a principal in Levenson McDavid Architects P.C., and a concerned father, living in Brooklyn. The header picture is of our eldest daughter – and I’m hoping we can ensure she’s walking toward a better future. Let’s get to zero now.

01.0 Your Food Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Don’t eat beef - or at least much less beef. Going vegetarian is best, but less is a start. (If you do just one thing, do this.)[1](high impact) 2. Chicken in lieu of beef is better too.[2] 3. Stop eating all that processed food – or at least eat much less. (high impact) 4. Read by Michael Pollan. (Quick read. Very informative.) 5. Don’t eat fish or eat significantly less. Buy sustainably harvested wild fish when possible.[3]

The oceans – now absorbing 2 billion tons of CO2 annually – are becoming acidic dead zones. Eventually if they tip they’ll switch to being massive CO2 emitters, radically raising atmospheric temperature and sea levels.

6. Find out which fish are sustainable and which aren’t at Fishonline.

While the challenges are enormous, let’s start with what we eat and how we live and work. Let’s begin by eliminating our personal carbon footprint.

8. Buy organic when possible. [5] See Organic Food Info.

Please read the lists. Think about it. Let’s all do what we can. Ken Levenson

10. Find local farmers and consider a community supported agriculture subscription (CSA) at Local Harvest.

Feb 29, 2008 (edited 2009)

11. Shop at the local Farmer’s Market.

7. Monitor what you eat and don’t eat.[4](high impact) 9. Become a locavore and buy regionally grown food.[6] (high impact)

12. Consider joining the Park Slope Food Coop.

00.2 About the Checklist Source: January 12th, 2010

13. If you can’t get it locally buy fair-trade food.[7] Find out more at Fair Trade Resource. 14. Grow your own food if you have the space. Some if not all. The more the better. Read Food Not Lawns by Heather C. Flores. (high impact) 15. No decent soil? Use pots.

The checklist is a step-by-step guide to comprehensively reducing your carbon footprint now. It’s a cut-and-paste job, compiled by Ken Levenson. It is hoped that people will download the checklist, copy it, edit it for their local conditions, and make it their own. Sensing many want to start fighting climate change, yet aren’t sure what the options are – a Park Slope Civic Council forum on sustainability provided the deadline to make the initial checklist.

16. Drink tap water, not bottled water. Tap water is safe, clean and just as good for you. If you have concerns, filter the tap water. [5] Note that while studies show GHG is lowered for some organic products such as wheat and potatoes, for others such as eggs, milk and chicken the GHGs can actually be greater unless additional mitigation is utilized in their production. [7] Commonly found fair-trade foods include: coffee, tea, chocolate, cashews, olive oil, rice sugar, hearts of palm, salmon, honey, salsa, jam and syrup.

Launched in February 2008, the checklist was fine-tuned with the help of many. To acknowledge a few: Eric McClure’s proofreading/editing, Ellen Honigstock’s springboard of initial sustainability lists, and my wife Katherine’s essential support.


January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

02.0 Family Planning & Health

03.0 Money and Stuff

Source: January 12th, 2010

Source: January 12th, 2010

2a. Family Planning: Global overpopulation is the single biggest contributor to the climate crisis we face. While perhaps an uncomfortable subject to speak of, it must be if we are serious about saving the planet as we know it. 1. Prevent unplanned pregnancies. (high impact) 2. Plan in a way that makes sense for you – but plan. Two, of many, possible sources for guidance: Planned Parenthood , The Catholic Church 3. If you’re thinking about having a second child, consider adoption. 4. If you’re thinking about a third or fourth child, really, really consider adoption. 2b. Your Health: The U.S. spends 16% of its gross domestic product on health care, the highest percentage in the world. Needless to say, health care in America has a massive carbon footprint. 1. Don’t smoke. 2. Reduce sugars[1], high fructose corn syrup and sodas. 3. Reduce white flour and white rice. 4. Reduce fried and processed foods. 5. Eat and drink in moderation.

1. Every consumer dollar spent on new stuff puts approximately .5 lbs of carbon into the atmosphere. The average American spends $10,000 per household, per year on consumer goods. (Things like gifts, toys, music, books, tools, household goods, cosmetics, toiletries, paper goods, etc… But not including things like mortgage, health care, debt service, car payments, etc…) A 90% cut would be $1,000 per household, per year.[5] 2. Watch the online video “The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard”. And monitor what you buy. (high impact) 3. Give special attention to major purchases. 4. Purchase recycled products.[6] 5. Purchase green products and avoid “green-washed” products. They say they’re green but the labels may tell a different story. 6. Shop locally at locally owned businesses. Invest in a vibrant local economy – so you never have to drive. 7. Purchase natural products.[7]




8. Buy Green beauty products.[8] 9. Use organic dry cleaning. 10. Or avoid buying clothing that requires dry cleaning. 11. Consider natural, organic-fiber clothing.[9]

6. Get a regular medical check-up.

12. Use Freecycle – people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own towns.

7. Get enough sleep.

13. For fashionistas: Clothing Swap and Swap Style.

8. Exercise and control your weight. (walk, ride your bike and take the stairs instead of the elevator!)

14. More green wardrobe choices.

9. Practice good dental hygiene. 10. Keep yourself healthy with preventative care with all the above. (high impact) [1] Sugar can cause or make worse: diabetes, obesity, immune system suppression, hyperactivity in children, alcoholism, arthritis, asthma, heart disease, gallstones, osteoporosis, some types of cancer and cataracts.

15. Reuse construction material and equipment. Reuse.


16. Online vendors in green goods: Make Me Sustainable. 17. Rediscover your local library. 18. Buy staple items in bulk or in the largest size possible. 19. Don’t buy over-packaged items. Avoid individually wrapped single servings. 20. Buy fresh foods instead of canned. 21. Buy music downloads and avoid the packaging altogether. 22. Say no to Styrofoam. 23. When shopping, bring your own bags to use. 24. Employ a mix of the above strategies that work for you. (high impact) [2] McKinsey Global Institute reports that with targeted annual investment of $170 billion, investors could cut by half the rate of projected global energy growth over the next 13 years – while earning an average annual return of 17 percent. 4

January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

[3] While all oil companies are problematic, ExxonMobil is alone in denying the urgency of the problem and is actively undermining the public’s understanding of climate change by funding bogus front groups and think tanks. Exxpose Exxon.

04.0 Waste Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Audit and reduce your garbage.[1] (high impact) 2. Work to reduce your waste a little bit more ever day: EcoCycle can help. 3. Recycle paper, metal and plastics per NYC law.[3] 4. Consider recycling the plastics NYC won’t accept at the Park Slope Food Coop.[4] 5. Opt out of mail order catalogs you don’t want through Catalog Choice. 6. Stop junk mail. Go to Eco-Cycle. 7. Donate or sell your castoffs: Freecycle, Exchange, Clothing Swap, Swap Style.

NYC Stuff

[4] The Coop has three collection days each month, and best of all, they accept plastics from any neighborhood resident (excluding businesses), not just Coop members. [6] If you forgot your bag and need to choose between paper and plastic, while debatable, the carbon reduction advantage goes to paper as it is more easily reused and recycled.

05.0 Driving & Flying Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Set concrete goals for reducing your travel. (high impact) 4a. Driving: 1. Walk, ride your bike, or take public transportation instead. (high impact) 2. Get a hybrid. 3. Trade in the SUV or truck for a higher mileage car.

8. Sell it on EBay, Craig’s List or on the stoop.

4. Get a diesel engine and run it on local used cooking oil. Check out Tri-State Biodiesel, Fill Up for Free and Grease Car for more info.

9. Recycle what you can’t sell or give away.

5. Use bio-fuel with caution.[1]

10. Cell phones[5] and rechargeable batteries – Call 2 Recycle.

6. Consolidate trips: don’t drive until you’ve got a few errands.

11. Shoes – Reuse a Shoe.

7. If you drive to work, share your commute.

12. Carpet – Carpet America Recovery Effort.

8. Maintain your car’s fuel efficiency. Tune it up. Change the oil. Fix a cracked or missing gas cap. Strip the rack when not in use. Unload the trunk. Maintain recommended tire pressure.

13. Computers – Electronics Take Back Coalition. 14. Building supplies – Habitat for Humanity. 15. CDs & DVDs – Green Disk. 16. Say “No” to disposables.

9. Drive the speed limit.[2]

17. Use reusable shopping bags. [6]

10. And stop driving like a maniac – those abrupt starts and stops can cost you up to 37%in fuel efficiency.

18. Use cloth napkins.

11. Use cruise control on the highway.

19. Use dish towels instead of paper towels.

12. Avoid excessive idling.

20. Don’t use disposable plates, cups, or silverware.

13. Don’t top off the fuel tank.

21. Use rechargeable batteries.

14. Need a car service? Try NYC Green Car.

22. Compost! If you live in an apartment, compost at your nearest community garden. A great source of nutrients for plants and gardens. 23. Place a water bottle in your toilet tank and reduce the volume of water you use. 24. Your laptop is about five times more energy-expensive to make than a car or fridge. So upgrade first before you replace. Install more memory or faster processor. Reuse. Give your PC away. Recycle. Many manufacturers will take your machine when you buy a new one. 25. Feeling like no matter what you do it’s just not enough? Install an Envirolet composting toilet!

4b. Flying: 1. Don’t fly.[3](high impact) 2. Take a train instead of flying. 3. If you must fly: Book direct flights. One stop-over on a 3,500 mile trip will produce 25% more carbon dioxide than flying direct. Fly in a newer, more fuel-efficient plane.[4] And consider buying carbon offsets to balance specific trips. 4. The best frequent flier miles are those unspent. Donate your miles to the Red Cross, Make a Wish Foundation, the National Marrow Donor Program or a charity of your choice.


January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

[1] Biofuels, — made from surgarcane, corn, palm and soybeans — were once thought to be a miracle, reducing greenhouse gases and employing farmers. Recent studies in Science and Nature conclude that whenproduced on converted lands, biofuels will effectively emit more GHGs than the fossil fuels they displace. Where farmers have changed from growing feed corn to fuel, no such problem exists. So the trick is to get your biofuel from properly managed land. New land use regulations will be required to insure that the use of biofuels fulfill their promise of net reductions. [2] The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that for every 5 mph above 60, the decreased fuel efficiency costs $0.20 a gallon. [3] Air travel currently contributes about 3 percent of global carbon emissions as well as nitrous oxide which has double the impact of CO2. Air travel is set to triple by 2030. [4] Such as the Airbus A340 or A380 or Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Two people in a Prius is actually 33% less CO2e/passengermi than taking Amtrak (120g/p-m vs. 180g/p-m). Not all public transportation is efficient. If it electric (trolley, light rail, BART), it is probably efficient. If it is diesel, it may not be (it depends on whether it is full or not).

06.0 Playing & Pets Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Remind yourself what it is you’re trying to save: the environment we’ve got. Get out and enjoy: City parks. State parks. National parks. 2. Carry it in, carry it out. 3. Observe wildlife, don’t disturb. 4. Hike, row, sail, ski, or paddle – don’t motor. impact)


5. Don’t Cruise.[1] Or consider a sailing cruise. 6. Take vacations close to home. (high impact) 7. For green vacation tips check out Green Globetrotter, The International Ecotourism Society, Traveling the Green Way and Whole Travel. 8. Share books, CDs, tapes, magazines with friends, hospitals, and prisons. 9. Throw a party and raise consciousness. Or join the festivities planned for Earth Day , Clean up the World Day or World Car Free Day. 10. Throwing a party and cannot avoid disposable plates and utensils? Use BagasseWare plates and SpudWare cutlery. 11. Plan a green wedding celebration at Ethical Weddings.

07.0 Home Source:

January 12th, 2010

1. Average US electrical usage is 11,000 kwh per household, per year, or about 900 kwh per household per month. A 90% reduction would mean using 1,100 per household, per year or 90 kwh per household, per month.[1] 2. Switch your home’s electrical power source to wind and/ or solar or hydro power. ConEd and other utilities obtain power from traditional and green sources and you can choose green, which adds approximately $10/month to your electric bill. Help push the utilities to produce more renewable energy. Go to Power Your Way. (high impact) 3. Sub-size it. Houses between 1,500 and 2,000 s.f. consume 40% less energy than a 4,000+ s.f. McMansion. (high impact) 4. If you’re moving, choose a home near public transportation, and use it. (high impact) 5. If you’re moving, consider a row house or an apartment building instead of a detached home. Promote the construction of energy-efficient apartment buildings over single-family homes. (high impact) 6. Consider living in a cohousing community - an intentional community that not only increases social interaction but through it, typically encourages a wide range of sustainable living practices. Find one in your area or start a new one. 7. Consider renovating an old home rather than building new. 8. Rehabilitate, renovate, reuse and preserve.[2] Get resources at the National Trust for Historic Preservation. 9. Whether renovating or building new, single family or multi-family, consider Passive House construction standards to truly achieve 90% energy reduction and optimal light and air quality too. Visit the Passive House Institute US or where it originated, the Passivhaus Institut. (high impact) 10. Conduct a Home Energy Audit - do-it-yourself via the U.S. Department of Energy Lawrence Berkley National Laboratory’s Home Energy Saver. Or hire a certified home energy audit professional through the Residential Energy Resources Network. (high impact) 11. Monitor your home electrical use. Real time access to your household’s energy information will allow you to smartly reduce your electric bill. Use The Energy Detective (TED) to give you a fascinatingly detailed picture of how you use electricity in real time. Available through Energy Circle and TerraPass among others. (In the future Google will also be offering Power Meter across the U.S.) (high impact) 7a. Re-Insulate: 1. If your home is more than 10 years old, it is probably under-insulated.[3] 2. Install as much insulation as possible – install as many of the itmes listed below as possible. (high impact) 6

January 12th, 2010

3. Weather stripping and caulking - Probably the least expensive, simplest, most effective way to insulate and cut down on energy waste in the winter. Improperly sealed homes can waste 10 to 15% of the homeowner’s heating dollars. Check around doors and windows for leaks and drafts. Add weather stripping and caulk any holes you see that allow heat to escape. Make sure doors seal properly. 4. If your windows leak really badly, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient ones. Keep in mind, however, that replacing windows can be expensive. 5. Every duct, wire or pipe that penetrates the wall or ceiling or floor has the potential to waste energy. Plumbing vents can be especially bad, since they begin below the floor and go all the way through the roof. Seal them all with caulking or weather-stripping.

Published by: teducation

categories.[6] Locally and sustainably harvested, and either using deadwood, trees that had to come down anyway, coppiced or harvested by someone who replaces every lost tree. This is deemed carbon neutral, and you can use an unlimited supply. This would include street trees your town is taking down anyway, wood you cut on your property and replant, coppiced wood (that is, you cut down some part of the tree but leave it to grow), and standing and fallen deadwood. You can use as much of this as you like. Wood not sustainably harvested, or transported long distances, or you don’t know. 1 cord of this is equal to 15 gallons of oil or 20 therms of natural gas. 4. Have your heating system cleaned and inspected regularly by a qualified contractor.

6. Electric wall plugs and switches can allow cold air in. Purchase simple-to-install, pre-cut foam gaskets that fit behind the switch plate and effectively prevent leaks.

5. Set your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day and 60 degrees at night and when no one is home. Each degree over 68 can increase by 3 percent the amount of energy you use for heating.

7. Roofs - Install a green roof – plantings provide building insulation in summer, and site water management. See Green Roofs for Healthy Cities.

6. Put on a sweater. There are numerous ways to improve home heating efficiency, but none so simple as dressing warmly and dialing back the thermostat.

10. Use storm doors and windows in cool environments.

7. Install a programmable thermostat and set it to turn down the heat at night and when no one is home. Lowering the thermostat 10 to 15 degrees for eight hours a day can save you about 10 percent a year on heating costs. (high impact)

11. Install high-performance windows when it’s time to replace them.

8. Keep drapes or furniture away from radiators and baseboard heaters so heat can flow freely.

12. Heating and Cooling Systems – Examine your house’s heating ducts for leaks. Mostly out of sight, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it. You can save roughly 10% of your heating bill by sealing them.

9. Remove window air conditioners when the weather gets cool. If you can’t, enclose them with a cover.

8. Windows & Doors – Close the blinds on hot summer days, open them on cool winter days. 9. Install window quilts.

13. Insulate hot water pipes. 14. Fireplace -Avoid using the fireplace when the heating system is on. 15. Install fireplace inserts (doors and circulation blowers) so less warm air goes up the chimney when the fireplace is going. 16. Don’t forget to close the damper on your fireplace when not in use. 7b. Heating: 1. US average natural gas usage is 1000 therms per household, per year. A 90% reduction would mean a reduction to 100 therms per household, per year.[4] 2. Heating Oil (this is used by only about 8% of all US households, mostly in the Northeast). Average US usage is 750 Gallons per household, per year. A 90% cut would mean using 75 gallons per household, per year.[5] 3. Wood. This is a tough one. The conventional line is that wood is carbon neutral, but, of course, wood that is harvested would have otherwise been absorbing carbon and providing forest. There are good reasons to be skeptical about this. Therefore wood is divided into two

10. Open blinds and shades, particularly on the south and west sides of your home before you leave in the morning to make use of the sun’s heating potential. 11. Use an efficient humidifier to maintain comfortable humidity levels and help you conserve heat. Proper humidity helps you feel comfortable without turning up the heat. 12. Use ceiling fans to circulate warm air in winter, especially in rooms with high ceilings. 13. Close doors and warm-air vents in unused rooms, but in extreme cold, be aware of water pipes that could freeze and burst. 14. If you have a hot-water heating system, release any trapped air from radiators. 15. Radiators can lose heat into exterior walls. Reduce this loss by placing reflectors between the wall and the radiator. 16. Clean or replace filters for your hot-air furnace and heat pump every month during the heating season or use filters made to run six to 12 months before needing replacement. 17. Insulate any hot-water pipes that pass through unheated spaces. For steam pipes, use nonfoam insulation, as foam can melt. 7

January 12th, 2010

18. When buying a new furnace or boiler, look for the ENERGY STAR label. 19. When you’re away turn the thermostat down to 50 degrees. 7c. Air Conditioning: 1. Dress cool: don’t turn on the air conditioning. (Sweating it out could be good training for a hotter planet.) 2. Switching to high-efficiency air conditioners and reducing your air-conditioning use can cut your cooling costs by 20 to 50 percent. 3. Install properly sized high efficiency AC units. A largerthan-needed air conditioner cycles on and off more frequently, reducing its efficiency. 4. Inspect and clean your air conditioner or cooling system regularly. A well-maintained unit uses less electricity. 5. If you have central air conditioning, keep the condenser unit’s coils and fins clean. Remove grass, leaves, and other debris that may collect. 6. Set your air conditioner to no cooler than 78 degrees. Lower than 78 degrees can increase your costs by up to 40 percent. 7. Install ceiling fans or whole house fans to help reduce your need to use the air conditioner. A fan will make a room feel 4 to 6 degrees cooler, making it possible to raise the thermostat from 78 degrees to 82 degrees or higher. For every degree you raise the air conditioning thermostat, you can save 7 to 10 percent on cooling costs. 8. Alternate the use of air conditioning and fans. When you’re comfortable, shut down your air conditioner and turn on the fan. This approach can cut air conditioner use by up to 40 percent. 9. Don’t air-condition an empty room. 10. Whenever the outdoor temperature is below 72 degrees open windows for cooling in lieu of A/C. 11. Turn your air conditioner off when you leave home. 12. Install a programmable thermostat or use a timer to turn on your air conditioner a half hour before you return home rather than having it run all day. 13. If you have central air-conditioning, consider Con Edison’s offer of a free programmable thermostat. Visit ConEdison and find out more. 14. Clean or replace air-conditioner filters at least once a month during the cooling season.

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18. In the summer months, run your washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher early in the day or at night when it’s generally cooler. 7d. Water Consumption & Heating: 1. The Average American uses 100 Gallons of water per person, per day. A 90% reduction would mean 10 gallons per person, per day.[7] 2. Visit the Alliance for Water Efficiency. 3. Next to heating or cooling, water heating is typically the largest energy user in the home. To conserve energy, conserve hot water. 4. Plan on buying an energy efficient water heater before your old one fails. If your gas water heater is more than 10 years old, it may be operating at less than 50 percent efficiency. 5. Set your water heater no higher than 120 degrees. 6. If appropriate, consider a demand water heater that has no storage tank. It can reduce your energy use by 10 to 15 percent. 7. Wrap your hot-water storage tank with an insulation blanket. If it’s a newer model check to confirm it doesn’t void the warrantee and is fully compatible. 8. Fix leaky faucets. 9. Don’t leave the water running while washing dishes. 10. Take showers rather than baths. Showers generally use half as much hot water as baths. And install a low-flow showerhead. And take shorter showers. And shut off the shower while soaping, scrubbing, or shaving. 11. Shut off the faucet while brushing your teeth. 12. Install a low-flow toilet. 13. Install a rain barrel to reduce storm runoff and to water your garden. 7e. Lighting 1. Use ENERGY STAR-qualified compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). They use less than 25 percent of the electricity standard bulbs use and last 10 times longer. Look for color temp 2700K to provide similar light quality to incandescent. Recycle used CFL bulbs. 2. Consider light emitting diode (LED) lights for most possible savings. Available for under-cabinet kitchen lighting and a growing number of applications.

16. Install your air conditioner in a shady area, if possible.

3. For CFLs the best light bulb selector I’ve found is at the Environmental Defense Fund’s Find an Energy-Saving Light Bulb. It is an easy to use, common sense and comprehensive guide to the myriad of options, including dimmable, 3-way and outdoor light bulbs. We hope they will be adding LEDs soon.

17. When it’s time to cook in the summer months, grill outside and keep your oven off.

4. Turn off lights when not in a room. If family members won’t turn off the lights, install motion sensors.

15. Shade windows that face south, east, and west. Keep windows, drapes, and shades closed during the day. About 40 percent of unwanted heat comes in through windows.

5. During the day, let daylight do the work and turn off lights near windows. 8

January 12th, 2010

6. Install light tubes to increase natural lighting. 7. Instead of brightly lighting an entire room, focus the light where you need it. 8. Keep bulbs and fixtures clean. 9. Replace light switches with dimmers or motion sensors.

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4. Resist the temptation to overfill the refrigerator. Loosely stored food in the refrigerator allows air to circulate around it. 5. In the freezer, pack items tightly. If there’s extra space, add bags of ice.

10. Use bright lights only where you read or work.

6. Set your refrigerator to 40 degrees, and freezer to 0 degrees.

11. When you go away, use timers to turn your lights on and off.

7. Open the refrigerator and freezer doors only when necessary.

12. Turn off outdoor lights. Choose lights with dawn/dusk sensors. If you can, get lights powered by solar panels and batteries so that you don’t have to install any electrical wires.

8. Check your refrigerator door’s seal.

7f. Electronics: 1. Don’t watch television, or watch as little as possible. Our flat screens are beautiful power-sucking monsters. 2. If buying a new TV, get an LCD.[8]

9. Install your refrigerator away from the stove, radiator, heating duct, or direct sunlight, if possible. 10. Allow hot foods to cool before putting them in the refrigerator. 11. Cover liquids in the refrigerator. Uncovered liquids make the refrigerator work harder. 7i. Cooking:

3. Turn off stereos and TVs with a power strip to avoid continuous power drain. In the average home, nearly 75% of all electricity used to power electronics is consumed by products that are switched off but still plugged in.

2. For certain recipes that require long cooking times, use a Crock-Pot.

4. Unplug chargers (think cell phones and iPods) when not in use.[9]

3. Use copper-bottom pots and pans. They heat up faster than regular pans.

5. Use a laptop instead of a desktop computer.[10]

4. When baking, preheat your oven no more than five to eight minutes.

6. Ensure your computer’s power settings are enabled: set your computer to automatically hibernate and set your monitor to automatically sleep. 7. Turn off your monitor when you leave your computer for more than 20 minutes. Screen savers use electricity. 8. Recycle your rechargeable batteries and old cell phones. Go to Call 2 Recycle. 7g. Appliances 1. Appliance over 15 years old should typically be retired.[11] 2. Choose ENERGY STAR-qualified appliances.[12] 3. Use the energy-saving setting for all appliances, particularly your refrigerator, air conditioner, washing machine, dryer, and dishwasher. 4. Clean and maintain appliances so they work efficiently. 7h. Refrigerator: 1. If your refrigerator is old, think about replacing it. Some older models may account for up to 50 percent of your monthly electricity bill. 2. Make sure your refrigerator is the right size for your needs.[13] 3. Don’t keep that old, inefficient refrigerator running in the basement for occasional use.

1. Use a microwave rather than an electric or gas oven as much as possible.[14]

5. When broiling or roasting, don’t preheat your oven. 6. Don’t open the oven door more than necessary. Every time you open the door, the oven loses 25 to 50 degrees. 7. Cook as much of your meal as possible at one time in the oven. 8. You can turn the oven temperature down 25 degrees when using glass or ceramic pans. The cooking time will remain the same. 9. Use the self-cleaning oven feature right after you’ve used the oven to cook a meal – while it’s still hot. (But try not to use this feature too often.) 10. An electric kettle generates about half as much greenhouse gas as using a microwave oven or a cook top. Be careful not to boil more water than you need. 7j. Dishwasher: 1. Run your dishwasher only when it’s full. 2. Don’t run the dishwasher’s dry cycle. Let your dishes air dry, or put a towel to them. 3. Turn down the water temperature on the dishwasher to 120° F 4. Use the energy-efficient setting if available. 5. Pack your dishwasher efficiently. 6. Scrape dishes before placing them in the dishwasher. Don’t rinse.[15] 9

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7. Use the “soak” or “prewash” dishwasher setting only for burned-on or dried-on food. 7k. Laundry: 1. Use your clothes washer only when it is full. 2. Wash and rinse your clothes in cold water. 3. Straighten and clean the air ducts on your dryer. 4. Clean the lint filter in the clothes dryer before each load. 5. Don’t overdry your clothes. [16] 6. Better still, use a clothes line to dry. 7. More esoteric is a drying closet. Washed, wet clothing is hung in a closet acting also as the return air plenum to your home’s ventilation system, and passively dried in the process. 7l. Yard: 1. Plant deciduous trees that shade your home during the summer. Or just plant a tree. And plant a sidewalk tree too. Check out Trees New York and Million Trees NYC. 2. Utilize Xeriscaping.[17] 3. Use natural pesticides. 4. Use a rake, not a leaf blower. 5. Create a more porous exterior walkway, driveway or yard to reduce storm-water runoff. 6. Consider drip irrigation. 7. Take your yard global. Adopt some rain forest. Visit The Nature Conservancy’s Adopt an Acre. 7m. Home Renovation: 1. If a renovation is in the cards, consider: 2. Integrating natural cooling techniques such as operable skylights to vent hot air. 3. On-site renewable energy sources: 4. Geothermal Heating and Cooling – see NY State programs. 5. Solar Photovoltaic (PV) panels – see more NY State incentives. 6. Solar Thermal Water Heating – see U.S. DOE info on the subject.

Published by: teducation

12. Use low – VOC (volatile organic compounds) sealants, adhesives, paints, coatings and carpets. 13. Use green insulation materials: blown-in cellulose and recycled denim. 14. During construction, work with the contractor to divert as much waste as possible from the landfill – many materials can be recycled or sold. [1] Riot 4 Austerity [2] Renovating, rather than building a new home captures the “embodied energy” of the existing structure. Restoration produces less waste and uses less energy. [3] Heat loss due to inadequate insulation can account for 30% of home heating and cooling costs. Most heat escapes through the roof as heat in the home rises, so a properly insulated attic is a priority for an energy efficient home. [8] LCDs consume 30 to 40 percent less power than a plasma of similar size. (And do you really need a 40″ screen?) [9] Only 5% of the power drawn by a cell phone charger is used to charge the phone. The other 95% is wasted when it is left plugged into the wall. [10] A typical laptop, while plugged in, uses 50 watts of energy compared to the typical desktop system that uses about 270 watts (including the CPU and monitor), making a laptop 80% more efficient. [11] The good news is that about 80 percent of a refrigerator or a clothes washer is recyclable. [12] Energy Star appliances use 10 to 50 percent less electricity than standard models. Look for the yellow EnergyGuide label to help you compare the efficiency of different major appliances. Visit Energy Star. [13] Bigger isn’t better. Refrigerators with the freezer on either the bottom or top are much more efficient than those with side-by-side doors-even more so when through-thedoor icemakers and water dispensers are included. These features will increase your refrigerator’s energy use by 14% to 20%. Bottom freezer models are the most efficient, using approximately 16% less energy than side-by-side models and 3% less than top freezer models. [14] Microwaves use less than half the power of traditional ovens. And up to 90% of the energy used by traditional ovens is wasted.

7. Wind Turbine Electric – see NY State programs.

[15] Rinsing dishes under running hot water before putting in dishwasher can use more hot water than the dishwasher itself.

8. Reuse construction material and equipment. See Planet Reuse.

[16] Except for towels, no more than 10-15 minutes drying is typically required.

9. For new millwork and cabinetry use wood substrate that is urea- and formaldehyde-free.

[17] Xeriscaping is a comprehensive approach to landscaping for water conservation. Principles include: planning and selecting plants for your regional and microclimate. Limiting turf. Efficient irrigation and use of mulches.

10. Flooring – consider certified woods, natural linoleum, cork or bamboo. 11. Maintain and re-use existing walls and building components where possible

This post is full of information and the links to the government site or energy sites are just wonderful. Thanks for putting up this post. My buddy decided that he will do his own energy audit. It is amazing that how much information is really out 10

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there and even someone like my buddy Mike who is not involved with home renovation or construction was able to do his own audit.

08.0 Work Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Work at home. 2. Telecommute. 3. Ask your company to calculate its footprint.

Published by: teducation

29. Have your company consider purchasing carbon offsets to balance its footprint. 30. Check out ClimateBiz, a green resource for businesses. [2] Spider plants and peace lilies can remove carbon monoxide, and Ficus and Aloe Vera the formaldehyde or adhesives found in furnishings.

09.0 School Source: January 12th, 2010

4. Ask your company to install bicycle racks and use them.

1. Join the Green School Initiative.

5. Find alternatives to traveling to a meeting: use the old-fashioned phone, use video and web conferencing software. Meet virtually in Second Life.

2. Encourage your school to switch to green power via Power Your Way.

6. Switch your company’s electrical utility provider to green energy via Power Your Way. 7. Turn off the screen saver and let your computer sleep during the work day.

3. Install solar PV panels at your school with state incentives via School Power Naturally. 4. Establish an eco-committee and adopt an environmental vision statement 5. Do an energy audit.

8. And turn off the computers at the end of the day.

6. Make an action plan and monitor progress.

9. Send e-mails and electronic copies whenever possible.

7. Integrate greening into the curriculum.

10. Scan or print-to-pdf everything and store and send as electronic files. Make the paperless office a reality.

8. Rally kids to the cause! (If they haven’t already been rallying you…)

11. Invoice via email only and pay bills with a credit card or electronically directly from bank account.

9. Organize events to encourage energy auditing and energy savings – make a friendly competition.

12. Does it really need to get there absolutely, positively overnight? Use the U.S. Postal Service.

10. Organize fundraisers to raise awareness and consider buying carbon offsets for the school.

13. Need to ship something – consider carbon-balanced shipping.

11. Copy bulletins and exams on both sides.

14. Reduce paper usage.[1] Use the Environmental Defense Fund’s Paper Calculator. 15. Use 100% recycled paper. 16. Preview your documents and proofread them carefully before you print 17. Print only the necessary information. 18. Copy reports and memos double-sided. 19. Circulate, don’t copy, paperwork.

12. Make notes and drafts on scrap paper. 13. Reuse textbooks and school supplies. 14. In college buy used textbooks and sell them back when you’re done. 15. Buy school supplies with high recycled content. 16. In cafeterias, use non-disposable trays, dishes, and silverware. 17. Make sure your school recycles.

20. Reuse tubes and envelopes for mailing.

18. Seek out a food donation program for your school instead of discarding unused cafeteria food.

21. Recycle scrap paper.

19. Compost cafeteria vegetable waste.

22. Use a laptop in lieu of a desktop.

20. Get kids a water bottle.

23. Add greenery – houseplants can remove toxins from indoor air.[2]

21. Prepare waste-free lunches with a reusable lunch bag. Avoid faddish or super cute designs that will age badly.

24. Use a mug at work – not paper or Styrofoam cups. And no disposable stirrers. 25. Use silverware and plates.

22. Carpool. Stuff the neighborhood’s kids in the minivan/ crossover, and resume your own low-carbon walking or public transport routine at least a few days a week.

26. Drink less coffee.

23. Are they old enough to walk or bike to school?

27. No bottled water – drink tap water.

24. In college live on campus and walk.

28. Talk and share. Start an electronic bulletin board where carbon-reducing ideas can be posted. 11

January 12th, 2010

Published by: teducation

10.0 Renovation/Construction

12.0 Consider Carbon Offsets

Source: January 12th, 2010

Source: January 12th, 2010

Residential and Commercial buildings consume 40% of energy contributing to climate change. And of that, over 90% is consumed in the operations of the building: lighting, heating, cooling, equipment etc… So unless one tackles operational efficiency seriously, it won’t matter how much “green materials” are installed in the building – it will be an energy disaster.

Carbon offsets have been called a sin tax, compared to Catholic indulgences or paying for a war substitute. But carbon offsets are meant to be used only as a supplement, not a substitute. Choose carefully, and carbon offsets will genuinely reduce emissions.

To help ensure more sustainable building practices many standards have been developed including Energy Star, LEED, Zero Energy Building and Passive House. Energy Star – developed by the U.S. Dept of Energy (DOE), addresses a wide range of issues including products, home improvement, new home construction and commercial building design. Generally Energy Star seeks a 30% improvement in efficiencies. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) – developed by the industry group U.S. Green Building Council, LEED seeks a holistic approach that addresses a wide range of environmental issues including: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, material and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Zero Energy Building – Largely funded by DOE toward commercial and residential applications, it is a building standard that seeks to have the building achieve net zero energy use through efficiency measures in construction with the addition of on-site renewables such as photovoltaics as necessary to achieve zero balance. Passive House – developed in 1990s and formalized by the Passivhaus Institut in Darmstadt Germany and now at the Passive House Institute U.S., it is the most rigorous energy standard today achieving up to 90% heating and cooling energy reductions and up to 70% overall energy use for residential and commercial applications. It should be clearly noted that these four programs are not exclusive but complementary. 10.1 Renovation 1. Items coming soon… 10.2 New Construction

As a gesture toward neutralizing your remaining footprint consider buying offsets. Well regarded U.S.-based companies and organizations that provide carbon offsets: As you say, these are a supplement, not a substitute, so the “carbon neutrality is just a click away” line is really too much hype.

13.0 Conclusion Source: January 12th, 2010

But let’s be honest, while you’ve made good progress, there’s much more to do. Change incrementally – it will insure greater long-term success. 1. kenlevenson Says: I agree – but it’s meant with a grain of salt, as it were. I’ll clarify that! 2. Earl Killian Says: You’re hardly at zero at this point. (Trivial example: even if you’re eating local food you’ve got fossil fuels in your veins. Even if you grow your own food, the water you irrigated them with was probably pumped with fossil fuels.) My point is that you’ve left off the most important item that would let us get to zero eventually: Elect politicians that will get rid of the fossils.

13.1 Epilogue (get political) Source: January 12th, 2010

1. Copy and distribute this checklist. Download it.

1. Items coming soon…

2. Talk to neighbors about how to make the neighborhood greener.

11.0 Calculate Your Footprint

3. Join groups of folks working together to reduce: EcoMom Alliance.

Source: January 12th, 2010

Now that you’ve made a serious effort to reduce, measure your carbon footprint and find out where you stand. There are many carbon footprint calculators available on the internet. A selection:

4. Join a Carbon Rationing Action Group (CRAG). 5. Use internet sites that help you reduce your carbon footprint and have fun doing it. Check out Make Me Sustainable and Carbon Rally. 6. Get political – join and support organizations fighting to stop climate change: 1Sky, Environmental Defense Fund, Greenpeace, Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Wildlife Fund to name a few possibilities. 12

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7. Lobby for green building codes. Efficiency First.

Published by: teducation

Architecture 2030,

8. Talk to skeptical family members, friends and neighbors. Be patient and listen, but explain, explain, explain. For skeptic arguments and responses see Grist’s How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic. An appropriate take-down of skeptic opinion makers: see Chapter 2, “The Denial Industry” in the book Heat, How to Stop the Planet From Burning by George Monbiot, 2006.

13.2 Science & Skepticism Source: January 12th, 2010

Skepticism is an essential part of the scientific method. Scientists see the benefit in being proven wrong. Yet the socalled global warming skeptics (deniers is a more appropriate term) believe that the scientists have an unprofessional interest in the outcome and are rigging it. The accusations are partly self-delusion and partly just plain lying. [2] While there is much legitimate debate about the particulars of global warming like how bad and how fast. Yet there is no legitimate debate about whether human-generated carbon emissions are the root of the problem – humans have thrown the great carbon cycle horribly out of whack and it is only a question of just how sensitive is she to our abuse. Man-made global warming is as scientifically certain as the rising sun, Einstein’s theory of relativity or Darwin’s theory of evolution. The science of climate change is now essential to understanding how our world actually works and will work in the future. [1] It’s almost embarrassing to include such a note but we live in the U.S., where public opinion has been so damaged by a few corporations and religious fundamentalists. Just recently Bob Lutz, General Motors’ vice chairman, stated that in his view, global warming is a “total crock of shit.” Then he added: “I’m a skeptic, not a denier. Having said that, my opinion doesn’t matter.” (source:[2] See Chapter 2, “The Denial Industry,” in the book Heat, How to Stop the Planet From Burning, by George Monbiot, 2006. 1. kenlevenson Says: Thanks for the kind words. And we can agree to disagree on the characterization. The rising sun is a literary term, obviously. As for Einstein and Darwin’s theories – I chose them for the very reason that they are, like AGW, called theories – tested and proven theories at that….as without Darwin there’s no biotech revolution etc…. Let’s get to work. Cheers. 2. Koop Says: Thanks for this site and the work that went into it. But instead of telling you all the things that you did right I’m going to point out where I disagree.

To say that “man-made global warming is as scientifically certain as the rising sun, Einstein’s theory of relativity or Darwin’s theory of evolution” is way over the top. The first argument can be made purely on semantics. For one the sun does not rise, the earth rotates and revolves giving the appearance of the sun rising. Secondly, theories aren’t certain. Laws are certain. They are called Einstein’s and Darwin’s theories and not Einstein’s and Darwin’s laws. We have great concensus in the scientific community that man made gasses are causing some warming. On the face of it it makes perfect sense. But then again it makes perfect sense for clouds to reduce global warming since they increase the albedo effect and reflect light and heat back into space. But then again it makes perfect sense for clouds to increase global warming since water vapor is a greenhouse gas and clouds are mostly water vapor. Consensus isn’t certainty and modesty is the best course of action. WIth that said, let’s get the hell off of fossil fuels. Let’s start debating the merits of Cap and Trade or Cap and Dividend or of a Carbon Tax. Let’s make it happen.

13.3 Checklist Sources Source: January 12th, 2010

Books by Michael Brower and Warren Leon, 1999 Garbage Landby Elizabeth Royte, 2005 Global Warming, The Causes, The Perils, The Solutions, The Actions: 51 Things You Can Do Edited by Kelly Knauer, Time Inc., 2007 by Elizabeth Rogers and Thomas M. Kostigen, 2007 by the editors of E, 2005 by George Monbiot, 2006 by Ed Begley, Jr., 2008 The Live Earth Global Warming Survival Handbook, by David de Rothschild, 2007 Reports by Jessica Bellarby et al., Greenpeace, 2008 The Case for Investing in Energy Productivity, McKinsey Global Institute, February 2008 Newspaper and Magazine Articles Biofuels Deemed a Greenhouse Threat, by Elisabeth Rosenthal, New York Times, Feb 8, 2008 Ethical investing: Funds that favor planet savers, by G. Jeffrey MacDonald, Christian Science Monitor, Feb 25, 2008 For ‘EcoMoms,’ Saving Earth Begins at Home, by Patricia Leigh Brown, New York Times, Feb 16, 2008 Websites 13

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Published by: teducation

Ellen Honigstock Architect P.C. , Brooklyn Green.


U.S. Dept of Energy – Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

With Speed and Violence: Why Scientists Fear Tipping Points in Climate Change by Fred Pearce – The best A to Z treatment I’ve read. Dire Predictions – Understanding Global Warming by Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump – The best explanation of the IPCC findings anywhere. Hell and High Water: Global Warming–the Solution and the Politics–and What We Should Do by Joseph Romm The Discovery of Global Warming by Spencer R. Weart Censoring Science: Inside the Political Attack on Dr. James Hansen and the Surprising Truth About Global Warming by Mark Bowen Heat: How to Stop the Planet from Burning by George Monbiot, Matthew Prescott The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge by Kristin Dow, Thomas E. Downing The Revenge of Gaia: Earth’s Climate Crisis and the Fate of Humanity by James Lovelock, Crispin Tickell

14.0 Climate Change 101 Source: January 12th, 2010

Climate science data and analysis are evolving fast. Here’s a short list of books, reports and websites where you can get a snapshot of where things now stand. GLOBAL WARMING 101 – A READING LIST: The Basic Scientific Understanding: Basic Fossil Fuel Facts – an indispensable condensed explanation – at the end of a letter addressed to Governor Gibbons of Nevada by Jim Hansen. (The facts starts on page 5 – the letter is very good too.) Climate Code Red: The case for a sustainability emergency – a great summary of the science up to the start of 2008, giving the crisis the urgency it deserves. Understanding and Attributing Climate Change – IPCC makes the case. (See also Dire Predictions in Books below.)

And Now Action: Okay, enough reading! Armed with the facts, go out and fight for our children’s future – change our personal, political and public lives. A comprehensive place to start is with the checklist. Download it, edit it, make it your own, and pass it on.)

Detecting and Attributing External Influences on the Climate System: A Review of Recent Advances – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Assessing key vulnerabilities and the risk from climate change – the IPCC’s take on what’s at stake. The Effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, Land Resources, Water Resources, and Biodiversity, Executive Summary – U.S. Dept of Agriculture Special Report: Climate Change – covers the crisis from many angles. The Science Behind the Science and Why it can be trusted: Scientists Explain How They Attribute Climate-Change Data – A Wall Street Journal article shows why the science can be trusted. Models ‘key to climate forecasts’ – BBC’s examination of our most powerful tool in understanding global warming. Addressing Doubt: Climate change: A guide for the perplexed – a great “roundup of the most common climate myths and misconceptions”. How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic – and stop them in their tracks. How to Talk to a Climate Skeptic – Grist’s rundown is great help too. The Denial Industry – George Monbiot’s eye opening account of the origin of the concerted network opposing legitimate climate science. Think Big Tobacco. MORE READING Best Global Warming Blogs: Related Websites: 14

Checklist Toward Zero Carbon  

The checklist is a step-by-step guide to comprehensively reducing your carbon footprint now.

Checklist Toward Zero Carbon  

The checklist is a step-by-step guide to comprehensively reducing your carbon footprint now.