Thought Leadership


An EHS pro's personal & professional green progress

January 4, 2012
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greenDave Johnson’s January issue editorial on “Me and my footprint” — taking personal responsibility for sustainable behaviors and lifestyle, inspired this log of sustainable actions taken by ISHN editorial advisor Keith Tait:

• Working to identify and further integrate campus conservation / sustainability into Accreditation Process, Master Planning and Campus Committee for Environmental Responsibility (CCER)
- Developing a Sustainability “Manifesto” as part of the CCER (students, faculty and staff) 
- Launching a Green Office program
- Supporting conservation initiatives – new campus wide metering system, ongoing recycling program, purchasing initiatives, student green grants, etc.
-  Presented “Sustainability at SUNY Plattsburgh” @ SUNY Sustainability Conference in SUNY Empire College in Saratoga Springs, NY

• Reduced my 166-mile commute to work on campus from 665 to 166 miles / week by going part time (1 day / week)

• Traded in my 07 Subaru Impreza (30 mpg) for a new 12 Hyundai Veloster (40 mpg), easy 25% improvement, pay-back period about 3 years based on mileage

• Added a lovely sunlit (passive solar) extension to house (and eliminated rotten deck).  The addition was built to stringent New York State Energy codes with high efficiency windows / insulation. 

 • Existing 20-year-old log house (non-code construction) renovated 5 years ago with new roof, chinking (between logs), windows, doors, additional insulation (attic) to improve insulation and reduce air infiltration. Installed “on demand” propane hot water heater.  Pay-back period difficult to assess with low interest 30-year mortgage. 

• 5th year of biomass burning (4 full cords wood & 4 tons pellets) at my Adirondack home down to 20F to limit use of propane heat

• 3rd year of planting my garden (beans and potatoes grow well, despite limited sunlight – don’t want to cut down trees) 

• 2nd year of using Megabus and Amtrak south of Albany to NYC (300 miles round trip) every other week (90 miles from home)

• 5th year of composting all organic biodegradable wastes at home, mature compost soon to be added to garden

• 5th year of set-back policy (50F) with high-efficiency Rinnai propane heaters whenever visiting NYC during heating season

• 1st year of purchasing local grown vegetables from Tom’s Tomatoes and local venison from my neighbor - a hunter

• 5th year of using freezer(s) to purchase, maintain quality foods, minimize meat purchase / consumption, and store for interim periods of time to avoid unnecessary cooking

• 5th year of mandatory recycling at home. Donation of various used items to Transfer Station Shop. 

• 3rd year of focusing on modifying use of household cleaning products (Ionized Water)

• 5th year of reduced water flow devices and careful use of dishwasher and washer / dryer, use of drying rack aside from humid summer months

• No use of fertilizers / insecticides in yard and reduced use of winter salt products

• Limited sized yard (grass) with reduced mowing during summer months, retain forest setting with good wildlife habitat including seasonal stream and pond, abundant water - no need to retain rainwater.

• Assessed the purchase / installation of PVA solar panels, but rejected last year to extended financial payback period (20+ years)

• No A/C necessary in summer, geothermal ground floor remains cool (55F) with fans to circulate warm and cool air

• Exploring future heating options such as Hydrothermal

How’s that? I’m still working on additional options. Please note - everything is “conventional” conservation. Nothing fancy! 
 

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