Measuring daily power usage

In preparation for my sustainable living portion of my project, in the next 2 weeks, on 3 randomly selected days I will be measuring my daily energy usage so as to be able to see how much of my carbon footprint I’m able to erase by living sustainably.  To put it gently, it’s more of an involved process than I anticipated.  I realized that it would be tedious, but that’s an understatement. I have spent this morning looking at the wattage for all the light bulbs in my house and finding equations that will allow me to convert this to energy based on how long the bulb is on, looking at old power bills from 2011 to estimate how many kWh are used daily on average in the months of July and August and attempting to find the energy used by every appliance in the house. My current quest is to figure out how much power the garage door uses every time it opens or closes.

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Exploring Consumption: Researching the Fate of American Waste and the Feasibility of Eco-Friendly Living

My project will be to research American resource consumption and energy usage.  Inspired by Introduction to Organisms, Ecology, Evolution, I want to explore focusing on minimizing resource consumption as opposed to population growth as a way to decrease carbon footprint.  The amount of energy and resources America uses per capita is astounding, such that it isn’t fair to point fingers at developing nations and overpopulation as the primary source of environmental degradation.  I plan to research the amount of resources Americans consume and track the fate of these resources by performing an in-depth analysis of what happens to what we throw away.  I hope to answer questions about the efficiency of recycling, how much of what we throw out could be re-used or recycled, preventing more carbon from being used in the production of new products, and how much of what we throw out ends up neither recycled or in a landfill but in the environment or oceans. The second part of the project will be to live environmentally-consciously, without:  producing trash, using appliances, A/C, car, hot water or electricity (aside from that which can produced by a single solar panel to power my laptop for these blog posts and a phone), and eating food that is not sustainable, for three weeks.  In the end, I hope to be able to determine areas that are energetically costly but can be lived without while at the same time not disrupting too greatly quality of life.  These practices can be targeted as ways to adopt a more eco-friendly lifestyle in the long term, and reduce personal carbon footprint with minimal impact on overall quality of life.