Thursday, April 3, 2008

Five Minutes or Less

So you’ve heard us touting Earth Ministry’s partnership with the Seattle Climate Action Now campaign to fight global warming, but really, what does that mean for the average person?
One answer to that question is in the Seattle CAN home energy kits.

One of the more popular items in the kit is the shower timer. A simple hourglass style like you find in most board games, the timer sticks to the tiles of your bath and measures approximately five minutes. All you have to do is “Beat the Clock”, and finish your shower before the time runs out.

I tried it out the other day, with interesting results. I set it when I got in the shower, but didn’t rush unusually – I wanted to see how long my showers typically are, when not trying to hurry. I washed my hair, soaped up, rinsed off, the whole nine yards. Then I stopped the water and checked the timer. I’d used up about two thirds of the sand in the timer, which would be about three and a half minutes, more or less. So I tried it again the following day, and threw in conditioning my hair too. It took more time, but I still finished with sand left over. And again the next day.

I had my husband try it, with similar results. He finished with about two minutes to spare. And remember – we’re not rushing! Ever the comedian, he said it was great to know that he’s not using up “his fair share” of the hot water, and planned on adding two minutes to his shower from now on. (Before we get tons of angry comments, he was just kidding!) But it just shows how easy it can be to take one small step to stop climate change.

Think a humble hourglass can't fight global warming? Consider this: reducing shower time from an average of 7.9 minutes to 5 minutes for an average household would save about 339 kWh of electricity a year, assuming an electric hot water heater. Each household would also save 2,679 gallons of water each year.

If 10,000 people reduced their showering like this, Seattle residents could save more than 3.39 million kWh per year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by the equivalent of 2,034 metric tons of carbon dioxide. That's like taking 452 cars off the road for a year.

You can get a free home energy kit too! For a limited time, the kits, which include an energy-efficient light bulb, door-hanger, how-to weatherization video, coupon for a smart energy strip, and that ever-popular shower timer, are available through your Seattle Neighborhood Service Center or Earth Ministry. You can stop by a Service Center anytime, or look for the Earth Ministry table at many of our upcoming Earth Month events.

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