My Carbon Footprint surprised me no end


My Carbon Footprint

In this age of uber-consciousness about global warming, the thought was circling my mind for a long time: I need to know my carbon footprint; how I, the self-proclaimed "ordinary life" had been eating away at the precious resources of this Earth of ours. What, then, triggered the call to action were two events that happened almost on the same day:

1. My electricity box got a new 'smart meter' from PG&E, that could read power consumption by the minute.
2. Had a discussion with friends about some of their high electricity bills.

So, over a weekend, there I was, running between the different (electric) switches in the house, and the new 'smart meter'. I would turn on/off appliances selectively, and measure their power requirements (in watts). At the end of some ten minutes of running around the house, I compiled the following chart:

There are two sets of appliances there. The ones highlighted in light blue are what remains in standby (or on) most of the time. The others are mostly off but are turned on for various number of hours during a typical week. The six major sources of power consumption in my household are, then:
  • Normal household apparatus that are in standby (phone, router, microwave oven, clock radio, etc.)
  • Clothes washer, dryer
  • Lighting
  • Kitchen appliances
  • Computers
  • Entertainment: tv, music system
On a pie chart, from power consumption perspective, these six would look like so: 

So, about 28% of my household electricity consumption is from apparatuses that are on standby most of the time! 

Time to switch off, I suppose. :-) 


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