By Nathan Kaufman
This blog post comes from a response to a HARO request (HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out). I haven’t heard back from the reporter about my feedback, but maybe, just maybe, my questions made a news article somewhere. The questions took a little bit of time to research, and I feel like some answers may surprise you. So, let’s test your Green Knowledge! Answers will be at the bottom of the post (no cheating!).
1. What's the most fuel-efficient speed to drive? And should I use cruise control?
D) Speed does not matter
2. What is most eco-friendly for book lovers?
A) Buying new books
B) Buying secondhand books
C) Borrowing books
D) Buying books on an e-reader or tablet
3. What is more efficient, hand-washing a car or taking it to a car wash?
B) Car Wash
C) Who washes cars?
4. When is the best time of day to fill up a car?
D) When I'm out of gas
5. What is the most efficient temperature for thermostats in the summer and winter?
A) 78 and 68
B) 70 and 70
C) 70 and 80
D) Whatever is comfortable
6. How much can a leaky faucet waste in a year?
A) 100 gallons
B) 500 gallons
C) 1000 gallons
D) A drip can't use that much water
7. How much energy can a CFL save versus an incandescent bulb?
D) I don't trust CFLs
8. How long does gum stay after you stick it under a bench?
A) 1 year
B) 5 years
C) A long time
D) Until someone scrapes it off
1. This is actually a tough one, mostly because it depends on the vehicle itself. Common answers run from as little as 40 and as high as 60. The EPA calculated the best speed to be 55mph. Using your cruise control for longer, relatively flat drives can also save a lot of fuel since the car will not run the engine on high RPMs to speed up as the vehicle's speed decreases. For more ways to save fuel while driving, research "hypermiling" for some conservation techniques.
2. Surprisingly, borrowing books or buying them secondhand is the most eco-friendly reading method for book lovers. The books borrowed or bought secondhand do not use more trees and ink to make them, they are already in existence. Using an e-reader or tablet may seem better, however some parts inside them may use hazardous materials in the electronics. As long as an e-reader or tablet is disposed of correctly at the end of its lifetime, it will not harm the environment, challenging borrowing or buying secondhand books as the most eco-friendly solution for book lovers.
3. Like fuel conservation, this depends on the situation. If I hand wash my car, I do it on the lawn so the runoff water also waters the grass instead of running down the street into a storm drain. Many commercial car washes have water retention technology that recycles water back into the car washing system. However, due to the chemicals in the soap and other treatments from the car wash, hand-washing is the more efficient option, plus it saves a ton of money over the course of a year!
4. The morning is best to fill up a tank of gas. While some may argue that warmer temperatures during the day increases the volume of the gas and decrease the amount of liquid entering your tank, the storage tanks at a gas station are underground and are negligibly affected by temperature. As the gas approaches the nozzle, the temperature can vaporize some gas, and those fumes can be harmful if breathed in. So, why morning instead of evening? Most gas stations change prices in the early afternoon when the lunch rush dies down, so most gasoline prices on the way home from work will be higher than when you left in the morning. In addition, partially filling up, and filling up really close to empty, are less efficient. Partially filling up and running your tank dry forces the fuel pump to work harder and in turn, sucks more air in. This can also damage your fuel pump.
5. 78 and 68 is probably the best answer. During the summer, you may want your property cooler than 78, however there are other tricks to use. Fans, whether in box, tower, or ceiling form, move the air around and carry the heat away from you as the moving air hits your skin. Using fans in conjunction with the air conditioner can save quite a bit. By lowering your thermostat from 78 to 72 degrees, you can increase your cooling costs up to 50%! In the winter, 68 may seem kind of cold, but like in the summer, by using your heater to fight the outside temperature, you use more energy. A small space heater for a room or heated blankets for the bed are more energy conscious methods for staying warm in the winter.
6. When you start thinking about how water drips constantly for days, you will be surprised at how much is actually being wasted. A single faucet dripping 30 drops per minute wastes 3 gallons a day, which is the equivalent of about 27 baths a year. Depending on the size of the leak obviously depends on how much water is wasted, but the above example would make 1000 gallons correct. Multiply that by your water rate, and you could be watching your green go down the drain.
7. The answer is 75%. A CFL replacement for an incandescent bulb is anywhere from 70-80% more efficient than the incandescent counterpart. For a 60W incandescent bulb, a 15W CFL have the same brightness. Plus, CFLs last longer, meaning you do not have to replace them as much as incandescent bulbs, resulting in even more savings.
8. The answer is either C or D. Chewing gum does not break down and will remain stuck to the bench for a really long time. Some lucky benches may have maintenance people nearby who are nice enough to periodically scrape the gum off.
So, what do you think? Do you agree with my answers, or would you like to propose other answers? Do you have any trivia questions of your own?
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