It’s not easy, being green…

It’s so hard to know what is the right “green” behavior.

Is it better to throw away a still working incandescent bulb and replace it with a CF bulb?  Or should I wait for the old bulb to die before putting it in the landfill?  I hate waste… which is worse, wasting the bulb or the electricity?

Truly, a green car

Truly, a green car


Which is better for the environment, using an electric garage door opener, so that the door is open when I get there and I can pull right in, or opening the door by hand and having the car idle while I do it?


I know that you don’t get something for nothing (that’s physics man) – so using your car stereo or headlights puts a drain on your engine (uses gas).  Or does it?  It is possible that the alternator produces more electricity than the battery can store, so it’s just going to waste, maybe the headlights are “free” to use?  What about an elevator… I usually take the stairs when no one is around and ride the elevator if someone else is there waiting… I mean it’s going up anyway, right? I’d assume that it requires more electricity to raise an elevator with 2 people in it than it does with just 1 person, but what if the motor doesn’t adjust it’s power output based on need, it could be that it supplies the same power regardless of the weight in the elevator. 


I have heard that the reason trains and big trucks are left idling for long periods of time is that it takes more gas to start them than it does to idle them for hours.  I’m not sure if I believe that… but I assume there is some waste in starting an engine… so what’s the break even point?  I have taken to turning my car off when waiting for trains, but maybe I should at long stoplights too?  I can’t believe it takes more gas to start my car than it does to idle for 2 minutes at a major intersection.


This past weekend I drove 42 miles round trip to recycle styrofoam blocks.  On the upside, I completely stuffed every square inch of my vehicle, taking 5 completely full 55 gallon trashbags of the stuff to be recycled.  But I burned 2.5 gallons of gas doing it… did I do the right thing?  My wife says “styrofoam in the landfill is forever, your car emissions will get cleaned out of the atmosphere over time” but I’m also thinking that the petroleum used is gone-forever, never to be replaced… hmmm… 

What is a boy to do?

~ by brianherman on May 28, 2009.

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