[Greenbuilding] user participation in the solution

elitalking elitalking at rockbridge.net
Tue Apr 26 08:12:15 PDT 2011

The lack of user participation in the solution is a real weakness.  Yes, the "do the solution for me" approach is more appealing for those that do not care.  However, it suffers from less potential.  Caring is the critical ingredient.  A local principle at a middle school i adopting a garden and compost pile as part of schools instruction on sustainability. Building off of cafeteria scraps, he is encouraging his student's families to bring food scraps to school to contribute to compost pile.  He is issuing willing students/families suitable buckets to do that.  I felt new hope when he described preschoolers all in line source separating.  Many potent solutions are possible with active participation that are not available without.  It is just a matter of habit.  We brush and floss our teeth as a matter of habit.  Why not other sustainable practices?


By the way, my spouse has accepted the on off switch for hot water.  However, she has not accepted the sole use of the cloths line instead of dryer.  However, when installing a new thermal barrier around house, I became more aware of the continuous air leakage from dryer vent.  As a result, I installed dryer on back porch.  We are going through our five stages of mourning to accept the greater participation behavior of putting all our cloths on line.   



----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Reuben Deumling 
  To: Green Building 
  Cc: Greenbuilding at bioenergylists.org 
  Sent: Thursday, April 21, 2011 10:41 AM
  Subject: Re: [Greenbuilding] Opinions on electric tankless HW heaters?

  On Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 6:32 AM, Steven Tjiang <steve at tjiang.org> wrote:

    This is getting off-topic.
  Maybe, or maybe not. 

    But generally....we need to learn to pick our battles when it comes to saving energy as a society. Hot water systems that saves energy and provide the same level of comfort w/o user intervention will get wider adoption and hence ultimately save more energy in total, than something that might individually save more energy but receive little adoption.
  The widespread adoption and hence cultural familiarity with thermostats in the societies in which I've lived would seem to confirm your assertion, but I would not want to foreclose the possibility that *greater* user involvement could, for some, lead to positive feedback in terms of energy conservation. I'm just not convinced that we can have our thermostat and save it too. The automated/hands off/let the expert systems run my show approach is based on certain infrastructures (grid, central boiler, liquid fuels) and assumptions (progress = automation). This is not true for everyone in all circumstances. See the rise in folks who have chickens in their urban backyards, the popularity of farmers markets, putting up your own food, the DIY movement, the thousand and one efforts underway to *do* more than we may have grown accustomed to. I would not want to exclude user interventions in domestic provisioning a priori just because culturally we've been through an extended cheap-liquid-fuel-inspired phase where automation carried the day.

  Reuben Deumling


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