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Archive for the ‘Homes’ Category

There are over 10 billion electrical outlets in North America

Posted by Digital Citizen on Tuesday, June 16, 2009

In this 4 minute talk, John La Grou unveils an ingenious new technology at TED.com that will smarten up the electrical outlets in our homes. He uses microprocessors and RFID tags to do this. The Safeplug invention promises to prevent deadly accidents like house fires and to conserve energy.

This, my friends, could change the face of the electrical outlet that badly needs an update! This is also an example of finding the source of a problem!

John also gives a bunch of impact statistics related to the electrical outlet, like how every year in the US, 2,500 children are admitted to emergency for shock and burn injuries related to electrical receptacles.

The energy impact is amazing, not to mention home damage from fires, can be staggering. Please have a look and judge for yourselves.



Posted in Electronics, Energy, Environment, Homes, Lifestyle, Statistics, Sustainability, United States | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Britain’s wet weather during 2007 was among the wettest in modern times, costed about £3 billion in damages, saw the highest river levels in 60 years, 30 flood warnings and involved the greatest number of search and rescue missions in the country since 1945.

Posted by envirostats on Saturday, January 5, 2008

There’s your total for the weather damage in Britain in 2007. [Envirostats author] 

– The (British) Environment Agency via the Guardian, Dec 7 2007

Posted in Economics, Environment, Homes, Lifestyle, Statistics, United Kingdom, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

US divorces in 2005 led to consumption of an extra 73 billion kWh of electricity (46% increase from married households), 2.37 billion litres of water (56% more per person than those in marriages), heating and lighting for 38.5 million extra rooms and 41% to 62% more resources than would be in a marriage, all at a cost of $6.9 billion US in extra utility costs and $3.6 billion US for water, in addition to other costs such as land use – although resources consumptions shrank to average original levels if divorcees remarry.

Posted by envirostats on Monday, December 10, 2007

I LOVE these statistics!

I wish I could find more lifestyle impact statistics to blog more often but I’ll take whatever I can find. Too bad it took me so long to get around blogging it in trying out some advanced blogging schedules that I have fixed to accommodate for interesting new statistics that come in by the day.

Note the end part about resource consumptions returning to the original average levels of married couples if divorcees remarried (not necessarily to the original partner), so there’s hope for all you divorced people out there! [Envirostats author]

Divorce pollutes the environment, because it splits households in two, doubling the demand for electricity and even water. 

The extra totals from US divorce is more than what Canada’s most populated province, Ontario, consumes in a year, and the water consumption is more than 4X what Toronto uses in a year.

The study analyzed data from 12 countries, including Cambodia and Greece, but not Canada.

While no country had the U.S. rate of 14.8 per cent divorced households, all showed a climbing number – a trend that presents a “global challenge,” according to Liu, who began studying the issue while researching the impact of humans on a panda reserve in China.

“If people really can’t get along and have to get divorced, maybe they could consider getting remarried with somebody else, or staying together with somebody they like – their relatives, or whatever,” said Liu.

“There are some potential solutions to this problem.”

Separation, prolonged singledom and empty nesters present the same environmental challenges, Liu said.

But they won’t have wasted electricity and consumer goods on a big wedding.

Liu’s next study is on the increased waste divorced households send to landfill, and their carbon emissions.

And the problem is likely to get worse, warns Liu. Between 1970 and 2000, the proportion of households headed by divorcees soared from 5 to 15% of all US households. Divorces are also steadily increasing in China, note the authors, where divorce rates have traditionally been low.

“Divorce escalates consumption of increasingly limited resources,” the authors warn.

Liu urges governments to publicise the hitherto unanticipated environmental costs of divorce, and couples to consider the potential impacts of a divorce before going ahead.

– Jianguo Liu and Eunice Yu, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Dec 3 2007 week or DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0707267104), via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), The Star (Toronto) and New Scientist, Dec 3 2007

Posted in Economics, Energy, Environment, Homes, Lifestyle, Statistics, Sustainability, United States, Water | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

Of self-identified top “green sins” Britons surveyed admitted to, the top five were: wasting energy at home (30%), using transport when walking is an option (29%), cleaning with non-environmentally friendly products (28%), boiling a kettle full of water when making only one cup (27%) and never recycling (20%).

Posted by envirostats on Saturday, December 8, 2007

A very very interesting survey, with all kinds of other information below, but notice how there was no clear ‘problem’ to solve. Lots of policy implications there. But on the other side of things, it’s particularly nice for me, out of self-interest, to see the cleaning with non-environmentally friendly products being so notable. [Envirostats author]

The report also found that 57% of people felt the need to drive to the shops for heaving shopping, with 39% “unable to rely” on public transport.

Around 60% of Brits claim they are “going green”, the survey found, but many cite cost as a barrier. More than one third (39%) said they were not prepared to pay any extra for green products or services, and 41% said they believed green goods could be made more widely available.

A further 16% said they did not believe green products or services matched the quality and performance of their existing non-green brands.

Driving Forces

The survey also found that Britons want to be greener, but 79% felt the government should do more in terms of making green fuels readily available to all – 78% said there should be tax breaks for greener cars and that environmentally friendly fuels should be taxed at a lower rate.

The majority of respondents (60%) said they were choosing to be greener out of concern for future generations, but 10% said they were motivated by social image and the desire to look good in front of peers. Only 6% said they were going green as a result of government initiatives.

The report also revealed a level of confusion over pollutants and carbon footprints. According to the survey, most people believe industrial energy is the greatest pollutant (53%), followed by flights (16%) and cars (16%).

However, recent research shows that UK domestic air travel accounts for approximately 5.6% of CO2 emissions from the UK and is in fact thought to be more damaging. It is also thought to be the fastest growing of all contributions to global warming.

The report also revealed a lack of knowledge about carbon footprints. Some 15% of respondents wrongly believed that buying fair trade products would make a positive difference, while 5% cited “staying at home” as a way of reducing a person’s carbon footprint.

More than one third (36%) of respondents said they did not know anything about biofuel technology or the technology of hybrid cars (37%), while 85% said they understood the technology and benefits of loft insulation and 64% said the same about solar panels.


In British households, 65% of women that that they were the “eco-warrior” in the household – making the purchasing decisions and encouraging partners and family members to opt for environmentally friendly goods and services – compared with only 48% of men.

The survey found that people aged between 35 and 44 (62%) are leading the “green” charge, but the younger generation are influencing and driving their parents’ purchasing habits. Children in Northern Ireland have the most sway (15%), compared with Wales, where children do not appear to have the same influence.

Looking ahead, 81% of respondents said they had already decided on a green resolution for 2008 – 48% vowed to recycle more, 41% would monitor energy usage, while 36% would switch to low-energy light bulbs.

The figures were collected from a YouGov poll of 2,026 adults between October 26-30 2007. It was carried out on behalf of Saab.

– The Guardian, Nov 30 2007

Posted in Energy, Environment, Hazardous Materials, Homes, Lifestyle, Public Opinion, Solid Waste, Statistics, Sustainability, Transportation, United Kingdom | Tagged: | 1 Comment »

In 2007, one of three households in Canada had a beer fridge that might each use 600-700 kWh more energy per year than a modern model, or about 2.5-3.5 times the energy.

Posted by envirostats on Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Beer fridges tend to be older, vintage units that consumers keep to store beverages even after they’ve upgraded to a more energy-efficient model to store their food. In addition to costing the consumer as much as $150 a year to operate, the older appliances also place significant demands on energy resources, the study said.

According to the Canadian Appliance Manufacturers Association, a 1985 vintage fridge uses about 1060 kilowatt-hours of energy annually. By comparison, current Energy Star refrigerators use 380 to 440 kWh annually for large models and 275-300 kWh for smaller units.

The energy savings would total 1,165.7 million kWh annually if a substantial number of Canadians threw out their beer fridges or upgraded to a newer model. The study notes the effect on greenhouse gas emissions would be insignificant in regions that rely on hydroelectric and nuclear electricity generation.

The study says financial incentives in Canada have not proved successful, while government-operated pickup programs have managed to educate and win over consumers.

Yes, we do research on this in Canada! 🙂

It sounds humorous until you realize the energy and global emissions impact, although in regions using hydro and nuclear power, GHG emissions would not be significant due to the source not generating significant GHGs.

I hope Energy Star fridges are much better tested than their monitor and TVs cause that’s a sham! [Envirostats author]

– Researcher Denise Young at the University of Alberta, in the November 2007 issue of the journal Energy Policy, after a study commissioned by Natural Resources Canada, via the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), Nov 20 2007

Posted in Canada, Energy, Environment, Global Warming, Homes, Lifestyle, Statistics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »