Eco-my-flat

Well one of the reasons (along with the more problematic issue of not having much to write about) I haven’t posted lately was that when I have had time to post, it’s been going into posts on another blog. Five or so weeks ago, our greenest (in more than one sense of the word) flatmate Claire convinced the rest of us into begrudgingly letting her enter us in the Eco-My-Flat competition run at the University of Canterbury. 30 flats would compete over a month to become the most environmentally friendly, with $500 of insulation as the top prize.

Cameron, Claire and I just got back from the awards evening at the Dux, where it turned out we had won said competition. So in the kitty goes $500 of insulation, a 2 day stay for 4 in a lodge or cabin of some sort down in the Catlins, some vouchers of the book and bike kind, and a bottle of wine. Additionally we won a spot prize for blog post of the week, ostensibly for this photo-journal post (they said they particularly liked the still life on the stove top), but I’m preferring to imagine it was really for the comparative analysis of All Along the Watchtower and our power usage, because I spent far too much time on that. It was fun though. Turns out there’s actually quite interesting references to a passage in the book of Isaiah in that song.

So how did we get there? I don’t really know, and when we were asked this on stage I was rather glad the others had (what sounded like) good explanations ready. The competition focused on four major areas; power and heat, transport, waste, and shopping. Each week of the competition there was a workshop on each of these topics that we attended, but it was the issue of power consumption that we particularly focused on. Two interesting things we learned: our long-life bulbs like to flicker when they’re off, and our computers also like to draw quite a measurable amount of power when they’re off. So they’re getting switched off at the wall now. The computers that is, the eco-bulbs continue to flicker in the darkness like a candle in the wind. You can read about the actual improvements on those blog posts. I wrote them, so you know they’re worth the effort. Actually it’s fun browsing through all the posts. I feel our efforts were quite paltry in some ways when compared to other flats, such as the 4 guys/1 girl flat that went all vegan for a month. That’s courage.

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