I stumbled upon the COOLEST website this weekend. Low Impact Living has an impact calculator that is the best I’ve ever seen. After your score is calculated, it gives you ‘project suggestions’ to lower your impact even more. An average household LILI number is 100. “Low” impact ratings start around 70. So, what you’re trying to do is get an average of THIRTY points off your score.
I played around with this site for a long while ranking different behaviors by score, cost, etc. I’m doing a whole series of these posts, but here’s the low down. Unless you are going to stop driving COMPLETELY (20 points off) or buy enough solar panels to support you 100% (14 points off), these are the top five behaviors to knock a bunch of points off your score, fast.
1. ~12-15 points off your score–Maximize your recycling. If you recycle sometimes, it’s 5 points off. If you recycle most of the time, it’s 10 points. And if you recycle everything thing you could possibly recycle, it could be upwards of 15 points off. (WOW, look at how much booze Mr. Ivory drinks! Well, the wine bottle is mine.)
2. ~12.6 points off–Install dual flush toilets or convert your toilets to dual flushers. A dual flusher can save 68 percent more water than a conventional low flow toilet [source: Green Building]. Isn’t that a shocker?
3. ~12.5 points off–Buying carbon offsets for the rest of your remaining footprint. I’ve never done this, but after spending all the time one these lists, I’m considering dedicating a portion of our charity fund to NWF’s version of it.
4. ~8 points–Participate in your utilities green power program for 100% of your usage. Doesn’t mean that you will personally have green power shipped to your house, but that it makes your percentage of power from that company is generated from green sources. This is expensive, but if you have a few hundred dollars laying around begging to be spent, it makes a big difference in your impact.
5. ~6 points off –Install Low Flow Shower Heads.
Just to give you perspective, the next three items (gray water systems, solar water heater, raingardens) are all THREE points or less. Just think where buying that hybrid and fancy-pants washing machine shake out!
So, in summary, if you’re an average American household, just recycle effectively and change your potties and shower heads and you’re LOW IMPACT. Ain’t that NUTS?