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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, Texas, USA

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East Texas Baptist University, Marshall, Texas, USA


Registered: December 2014
City/Town/Province: Tyler
Posts: 1
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Observations of Water, Electricity and Fuel Consumption
Chesley Burch
East Texas Baptist University
Marshall, Texas 75670

This report discusses observations of water, electricity and fuel consumption. Findings related to how these resources are used as well as the amount being used personally will be illustrated. Data was collected over a period of four consecutive weeks. The results indicate that the preliminary assessment was skewed in relation to the amount of water, electricity and fuel being used. Note that fuel usage is calculated and isolated to automobile consumption. This article will evaluate usage of water and carbon as it relates to an individual lifestyle by interpreting a graphical representation of the data output. Water footprint calculations are based on the water requirements per unit of product in the United States. The results for the carbon footprint calculator are identified in terms of metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere each year; one metric ton is equal to 1,000 kilograms.
Water is generally regarded as a renewable resource since it recycled; however it has become more apparent throughout the world that its sustainability is indeed in question. (1) Analysis of this critical resource shows that current water usage leaves a personal water footprint of 606¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬¬m3/yr (see Fig. 1) or 162,088 gallons used every year. (2) This calculation includes food, domestic (indoors and outdoors) and industrial components. Ones water usage through means of food processing may come as a surprise; this study indicates that meat is the largest contributor to this footprint calculation, with food altogether making up 33% of personal water consumption. This absorbs to about 106,000 gallons used every year. (2) Different ways, such as the watering of animals, must be taken into account for a more complete understanding of how food is processed.
More commonly associated with water usage are its indoor domestic applications such as the amount of water used when a bath is taken, teeth are brushed, dishes or clothes get washed or when a toilet gets flushed. These components, along with a small percentage of outdoor domestic uses, like watering a small garden, make up the remaining one-third of personal water consumption or roughly about 53,000 gallons per year. Perhaps this direct usage also allows for a more direct control over ones overall domestic consumption of water.
In many ways an individual’s water and carbon footprints are related and by necessity result in common consumption patterns. (3) In this study calculations include correlations of consumption among the following: travel/transportation, home, food, goods and services. Each general category is an aggregate of constituent contributors. For example, the parent classification labeled “home” measures the consumption of carbon used by means of electricity, natural gas (such as propane used to heat and cool your home), as well as to construct your home. Altogether, the footprint accounts for about 32 tons of carbon emitted each year personally. These calculations come from a lifestyle evaluation where carbon in some form or fashion is released into the atmosphere. This calculated footprint indicates car fuel as the number one contributor (see Fig. 2) at 6.55 metric tons of carbon expelled per year into the Earth’s atmosphere with electricity as a close runner up at 6.05 metric tons. (3) In this study, food comes in at third as another large personal contributor. Of the 5.60 metric tons of carbon released into the atmosphere through food, 2.10 metric tons (that is almost half) is due to the processing of meat.
Lastly, goods and services combined make up almost 25% of this individual carbon footprint at 7.2 metric tons of carbon per year. (3) Examples of this would be the process, from beginning to end, that a dining table may undergo before being purchased at a local furniture store or the carbon that is released by getting new tires put on a car, both of which are related to personal accounts. Other forms of carbon emission are through different kinds of entertainment including a range of activities from going to Six Flags to ordering a book online for school. Again, keep in mind that these calculations are not just referring to the act itself but the process of each part as a whole. Overall, a personal hand is played daily and just about hourly in contributing to the large picture and increasing climate change and water depletion. (4)
Findings put an individual’s impact on our environment in perspective, whether it is through our water or carbon footprint. Personally, through reevaluating my meat intake and eating less meat altogether, I could dramatically decrease both footprints greatly. With a staggering 33% contribution of food toward my total water footprint and 70% of meat within that food contribution, assuming that I eat meat 3 times a day, I could eliminate 13% just by eating meat once a day*. (Equation 1) This would also lower my carbon footprint, bringing meat into a more equal portion in comparison with dairy and produce. (Fig. 2)
Both calculations show the influence on a personal level and by necessity, suggest places where we can make the greatest difference. The obvious factor in decreasing my carbon footprint in relation to car fuel, my biggest contributor, would be carpooling and driving less by planning things out in advance. Both would save gas and precious time as well as decrease my current carbon emissions (6.55 metric tons) altogether. Also, by orienting myself in a more central location to school and work I will be able to drive much less and possibly incorporate biking into my travels resulting in even lower carbon emissions. (5)
As mentioned earlier, a personal study shows that electricity takes second place as the largest single contributor to a higher carbon footprint (6.05 metric tons). By simply unplugging electrical devices from outlets when not in use would greatly impact my carbon footprint and wallet. Standby current consumes a significant amount of electricity; by plugging in all devices to a power strip and then plugging the strip in only when needed, I would eliminate a large portion of both costs economically and environmentally. (6)
By identifying each individual as a contributor, better understanding of the scope of resources involved, and how these resources are being misused, is elucidate. This information can be utilized to encourage reductions that would benefit society both communally and globally. (4) Society unfortunately has a common denominator which is money. In some form or fashion money is involved with each of us and for the average middle-class American, money motivates. We can use this to our advantage however, where the common complaint about the lack of money becomes our platform from which we employ education to help that person understand the small changes that could directly save them money almost immediately. As for the ones who get it, it being a harmonious stewardship of our resources, which includes earth, a direct explanation that links the behavior with a negative impact on our planet, and therefore life, would suffice. Thankfully, if we can get our own individual impacts in order then we may be able to turn things around and see to it that our children’s generation can survive.


(1) Debaere, Peter, Brian D. Richter, Kyle Frankel Davis, Melissa S. Duvall, Jessica Anne Gephart, Clarke E. O'Bannon, Carolyn Pelnik, Emily Maynard Powell, Tyler William Smith. Water Markets as a Response to Scarcity. Water Policy. Vol. 16 Issue 4, p625-649. 25p. 2014.

(2) 2014.

(3) 2014.

(4) Noga, Jacqueline, and Gregor Wolbring Perceptions of Water Ownership, Water Management, and the Responsibility of Providing Clean Water. Water 2013, 5, 1865-1889; doi:10.3390/w5041865. 2013.

(5) Reynolds, John. 6 Reasons to Use Pedal Power. Solar Today. May/Jun 2007, Vol. 21 Issue 3, p4-4. 1p.

(6) Ladine, Troy. Water and Electricity Use. Environmental Issues Lab. Fall 2014.

(Fig. 1)
(Fig. 2)

(Equation 1)
277(yearly contribution of meat)/365 (days per year) = 0.7589 &#8594; 0.7589/3=0.2529 (roughly 1/3)
277(yearly contribution of meat) / 3 (equal servings of meat/day) = 92 (which is 1/3 of total daily meat intake)
Food consumption within water footprint as a whole to Meat within food consumption
277/398=70% &#8594; 398/1213=33% &#8594; 213/1028=20%
*based on equal portions of meat consumed daily
Date: December 29, 2014 Views: 5311 File size: 48.4kb : 225 x 300
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