Questions SAYMA Is Asking About the Environment

The most recent update (September 2002):

This is SAYMA Ecological Concern Network's (ECN) current proposal to promote increase in sustainable energy use practices among SAYMA households.  The latest Co-Op America newsletter sparked the particular focus.

We propose that SAYMA ECN initiate a campaign to encourage every SAYMA household, including Meetinghouses, to install and use at least five (5) compact fluorescent light bulbs in place of incandescents, where appropriate. I propose that we do not set up any system to monitor how many cfl's are in individual homes. Rather I would like to have every household that replaces any number of incandescents with cfl's simply to report to ECN the number of new cfl's they have installed. We can tally up the total and report that total to SAYMA (and other parts of the world maybe). Bill Reynolds has agreed to do the tallying and reporting.

In order to promote this action and to compile Meeting and Worship Group totals for reporting, we would like to have a contact identified in each Meeting and WG to cheerlead the respective members' and attenders' participation and to collect and report the numbers. The number of cfl's counted should include only those that were not reported in the recent survey. We are looking for additional usage over and above what has already been reported.

We further propose that we ask all households who have also newly begun any other more sustainable energy practice, including conservation, since our recent survey to tack onto their report what those other newly initiated sustainable practices are. And, we/I will compile and tally those up and report them also.

This proposal offers to save a whole lot of very tedious data entry into a database as would be necessary to re-do another whole survey.  It also won't use nearly as much paper and yet would effectively further the original purpose.

TO:    Meeting and Worship Group Contact Persons for SAYMA's Ecological Concerns Network
FROM:  Ecological Concerns Network of SAYMA Clerks
RE:  SAYMA's Minute on Global Climate Change
DATE:   17 First Month 2002

In the recent Minute on Global Climate Change, SAYMA expressed the deeply felt commitment to do everything we can toward restoring natural balance in the earth’s climate. To wit:

Friends' concerns for simplicity, right sharing of resources, and equality, and our recognition that the effects of global warming desecrate God's creation, lead us to issue an urgent call for Friends to make substantive changes in their lifestyles. Friends were asked to report on these changes.

We call on Monthly Meetings & Worship Groups to report on such actions at the next Yearly Meeting.

To know if we are fulfilling these commitments and to report on our positive accomplishments, we must gather some data. If SAYMA members around our wide-spread region are in fact going to some length to reduce their climate-destabilizing energy practices, but we do not document it, what a shame not to be able to know of the accomplishments. And, with a data-based assessment of our practices, we may well identify areas in which we can and will start to increase our positive impact on the problem. Thirdly, with follow-up data we will be able to celebrate the positive changes that SAYMA has made as a result of its campaign.

(We are not asking for names on the reports because the scope of this project does not include that information.)

Forward any questions and suggestions to Bill Reynolds at one of the addresses listed below.

Bill Reynolds
3529 Dell Trail
Chattanooga, TN  37411

- - Focused on Alternative Sustainable Energy Technologies and Practices - -

Preamble:    The goals of this survey project are as follows:
1. To raise consciousness of relatively more sustainable energy use practices among the people of SAYMA;
2. To encourage SAYMA Friends' increased use of more sustainable energy practices.
3. To compile measures of sustainable energy usages among SAYMA and, hopefully, to report actual positive increased usage in the future.

Home Size:
A.  ______ List the total number of rooms in your house that are used in daily living, including halls, workshops, etc., but excluding unheated/unairconditioned storage.
B.  ______  List the total square feet in the living parts of your house.

Home lighting:
1. _____ Total number of compact fluorescent light bulbs used regularly in your household.
2. _____ Approximate number of rooms in your house that are lit only by daylight in the daytime, i.e. light  from the sun and sky only.

Interior Climate Control:
Where appropriate mark Y for yes, N for no, dk for donít know, n/a for does not apply:
3. _____ Passive Solar heating?
4. _____ Number of rooms in the house that are NOT kept heated during most cool weather days because they are not lived in most of the time.
5. _____ Gas furnace?
6. _____ Heat pump for both heating and cooling?
7. _____ List your usual daytime thermostat setting for heating in cold weather
8. _____ List your usual thermostat setting for cooling in hot weather
9. R-         Exterior walls insulation rating in R-value.
10. R-        Top floorís ceiling insulation rating in R-value.
11. _____ Number of all windows insulated by either double-glazing or storm windows
12. ______ Number of insulated exterior doors.
13. ______ Number of exterior doors with storm doors
14. ______ Number of exterior doors with air lock two door entry
15. ______ Are the frames around your windows and doors thoroughly sealed?

16. On the blank lines below list average miles per gallon for each vehicle using these ranges:
 a) 60 miles or above;     b) 50-59;     c) 40-49;     d) 30-39;     e) 20-29;     f) under 20 miles.
 vehicle 1:           veh. 2:            veh 3:            veh 4:__________
17. _____ Average number of trips per week using public transportation
18. _____ Average number of trips per week on bicycle (other than for recreation)
19. _____ Average number of times per week you postpone an errand or trip in your car and combine it later with another errand or trip.
20. _____ Number of times you have traveled out of town by bicycle during the past two years.
21. _____ Number of trips you have taken by bus, such as Greyhound, during the past two years.
22. On line below describe other methods used to reduce miles driven in a car or truck:

Home Appliances
23. Please check next to your appliances that are rated ìEnergy Starî or are otherwise rated as very highly energy efficient. Please also mark ìsî if it is powered by a sustainable energy system such as solar or wind, ìgî if it is gas powered, ìeî if it is electric, mark zeroì0î if you do not use the
Cook stove _____;    Refrigerator _____;    Freezer_____;    Washing Machine_____;   Dryer_____;  *Solar clothes dryer (i.e. outside clothesline)_____;     inside clothes drying racks_____; Dishwasher_____;     Hotwater Heater_____;     Air Conditioner_____ ;     Furnace ______.
Alternative Sustainable Sources of Energy
24. _____ We purchase some of our power from sustainable ( ìgreenî) generation sources such as wind and solar.
25. _____ We use on-site photovoltaic panels for some of our electricity.

Hotwater Usage
26. _____ Number of flow restrictors on faucets and shower heads
27. _____ Timer operated hot water heater?
28. _____ Number of people in your household who turn off the water while soaping up in the shower.

Yard and Garden (We/I do not have a yard or garden. _____. If checked here, skip section.)
29. For each of the yard and garden care tasks listed below please mark, using the codes, to indicate the source of energy that powers the equipment used for that task:
(Codes: ìhmî for human muscle; ìsî for solar-charged batteries, or ìn/aî for donít use or need)
grass mowing ____; Tilling _____; Hedge clipping _____; Weeding _____;
Edge trimming_____; Pruning ______; Raking______.

General facts regarding other ways energy use is more sustainable, listed here for your information. (We are not requesting your household to report on these):
Food:  Eating locally grown food reduces energy costs of transportation. Organic foods require no energy for production, transport, and application of chemicals. Bulk buying saves energy by reducing packaging and trips to the market.
Recycling:  When we recycle, we help reduce energy consumed in the cutting, mining or extraction of the raw materials and their transportation.
Water: When we conserve water, we help reduce the energy required to draw, process, convey it to our homes and to treat it after it has left our homes.

In the space below, please write any comment to SAYMA Ecological Concerns Network about these postscripts or about anything else related to this energy use survey.
Thank You,  SAYMA ECN

- - Focused on Alternative Sustainable Energy Technologies and Practices - -

Introduction:  130 households (referred to below as “respondents”)  returned completed surveys by the end of May, 2002, and are represented in the  numbers reported below, with comments. Though there are several areas in which the sample is doing ‘pretty good’ with more sustainable practices, there appears to be plenty of room for significant improvement in almost every one. Please bear in mind the room for improvement (rfi)  as you review the item by item information below. There is notably a lot of room for improvement in the home appliances department. If we must have a standard type of electric home appliance, let us purchase those that have the national Energy Star ratings. Regarding the choices between electric appliances and natural gas burning ones, natural gas is the much more sustainable choice. Plants that generate electricity severely pollute the air we breathe and contribute heavily to global warming gases.  .

Home Size:
A. 7.6 = average number of rooms per house that are used in daily living with the average of  B. 1,513 square feet per house.  --  This information is included in consideration of the relationship between the size of homes and their energy consumption. The larger they are, the more energy they consume.

Home lighting:
1.  compact fluorescent light bulbs (cfl’s): 61.5% of respondents report using cfl’s; 44 have 1 to 3 in use; 22 have 4 to 6; 14 respondents report 7 or more. ? Not too bad.
2.  93% of all respondents light an average of 5.2 rooms with the sun’s day lighting.  ? Pretty good.

Interior Climate Control:
3.  28 respondents report having Passive Solar heating. Good Sustainable method.
4.  67 report not heating between 1 and 7 rooms during winter. Good but rfi.
5.  88 report heating with natural gas. Item 23.11 reports only 8 of the natural gas furnaces are rated as highly efficient. If you get to choose between natural gas and electric resistant heating, ECN encourages the natural gas choice while adding encouragement for creating as much passive solar heating as is feasible and insulate the shell of the home real well. (See items 9 and 10)
6.  35 respondents report having heat pumps which are very significantly more efficient than electric resistant heaters.
7.  Many respondents are turning down thermostat settings for cold weather heating. 68 degrees Fahrenheit is the broadly recommended winter time setting but this survey’s respondents report an average setting of 66.7 degrees. Pretty Good. And 57 respondents report no thermostat which hopefully means they are using more sustainable heating systems. Actually 6 reported having geothermal heating in item 23.11. Very Sustainable.
8.  Perhaps we need to use more room fans for cooling when it’s hot because the average thermostat setting for the 90 respondents reporting thermostat operated cooling systems was 75.7 degrees F., cooler than the generally recommended setting of 78 degrees. Many of these 90 respondents report settings at or above 78 degrees; it was others’ lower settings that brought the average down.  A good portion of respondents (40) reported having no central air conditioning system. Hats off to them. Fans are great for cooling and use less electricity than a/c units.
9. & 10.  A very big majority of respondents do not know the insulation ratings (“R factor”) in their walls and top ceilings. 23 out of the 26 who reported R- ratings in their walls reported R-10 or better. Not too bad. But only 17 of the 35 reporting ceiling insulation have R-30 or better. R 30 is the recommended rating for the top ceiling/attic insulation.
11. Only 64 out of the 130 reported insulated windows. Recognizing the significant costs of installing insulated windows, we should also think how it is not only an investment in stabilizing climate and in cleaner air but also an investment that saves us home heating and cooling costs for the long run. Eventually we recover the installation costs in the money we do not spend to pay for larger amounts of unsustainable man-made electricity generator plants.
12, 13, 14.  Respondents report a high rate in use of the three types of exterior door insulating methods.
15. 69 report the frames around windows and doors thoroughly sealed? That leaves almost half who could add this relatively simple, inexpensive energy conservation method.

16.  The report on gas mileage is disappointing. Only 8 out of the 135 vehicles reported in this survey rated 40 miles per gallon (mpg) or better; only 57 rated above 30 mpg, while 130 get under 30 mpg. Lots of room for improvement in this major energy-consuming technology when we purchase our next vehicles.
17. We recognize that not everyone’s situation offers a real opportunity to ride public transportation but one wonders if we are missing many opportunities when only 20 respondents report riding public transport.
18. Considering the fact of individuals’ physical limitations that restrict their ability to ride bicycles perhaps we do well with 16 respondents reporting their combined average of 5.1 bike trips per week.
19.  110 respondents report an average of 4 combined errands per week significantly reducing their gasoline usage. Good.
20.  8 respondents reported an average of  4.2 out of town bike trips during the past two years. Hats off to them.
21. 22 report traveling by bus for a total of 59 trips over the past two years. Maybe even more of us can take the bus for traveling.
22.  Individual comments to be compiled in another file soon.

Home Appliances:
23.  Cook stoves: Only  8 reported very high efficiency ratings. Clearly this is an area we can improve in as we replace or purchase new stoves;
 Refrigerators: A fair representation of highly efficient refrigerators at 27 but a clear opportunity for improvement here also;
 Freezers: Just 5 out of 38 freezer owners report very high efficiency ratings;
 Washing Machines: Most respondents (100) report owning washing machines but only 13 of those reported very high efficiency ratings;
 Dryers: Only 12 high efficiency ratings reported out of 90 owners. Lots of room for improvement; Outside clotheslines: Just reported 52 using these;
 Inside clothes drying racks: 57. Think we can improve on that number?;
 Dishwashers: Out of 78 dishwasher owners only 13 have high energy efficiency ratings;
 Hot water Heaters: 113 report owning hot water heaters but only 17 of them are highly efficient;
Air Conditioners: 93 owned, only 13 highly efficient;
 Furnaces:  A total of only 11 rated high energy efficiency. (See item 5 also)

Alternative Sustainable Sources of Energy
24. 14 report purchasing power from sustainable (“green”) generation sources such as wind and solar. ECN requests that at least one person in every MM or WG find out if a “Green Power” program is available in their area and, if yes, inform the Meeting or Worship Group how to sign up.
25. On-site photovoltaic electricity generation: 5 report using this very advance sustainable source. Each one may represent an investment of $1,000 to $4,000 but remember photovoltaics replace electricity you would normally have to buy. After a while photovoltaic owners usually recover their original investment costs in the savings accrued by not paying for central plant generated electricity.

Hot water Usage
26. 60 household report an average of 2.4 flow restrictors each on faucets and shower heads; 70 did not.
27. Timer operated hot water heaters are rare among us, only 5.
28. 32 people report turning off the water while soaping up in the shower.

Yard and Garden:   --  Looking good in this category
29.  (Codes: “hm” for human muscle; “s” for solar-charged batteries, or “n/a” for don’t use or need)
grass mowing: 59 report no grass mowing, 22 report mowing with hm only;
Tilling:  An impressive 47 till by hm (70 do no tilling);
Hedge clipping: 65 hm; 57 n/a;
Weeding:  85 by hm; 40 n/a;
Edge trimming:53 hm; 64 n/a;
Pruning:  93 hm; 35 n/a;
Raking: 87 hm; 37 n/a.


Report to Yearly Meeting on Results of the SAYMA Ecological Concerns Network Survey of Sustainable Energy Practices - 6th month, 2002

 SAYMA’s Minute on Global Warming (2001) begins with a summary of the disastrous impacts from global climate change. The Minute goes on to say, “Friends’ concerns for Simplicity, Right Sharing of Resources and Equality, and our recognition that the effects of global warming desecrate God’s creation, lead us to issue an urgent call for Friends to make substantive changes in their lifestyles. . . .”

 Here is expressed a clear concern that we avoid achieving only a well crafted Minute and satisfy ourselves with that alone. We want to take concrete, substantive actions toward the solution of the real problem.

 Toward that end, ECN elected to do an assessment to see what specific substantive actions may be needed. The results from 130 completed surveys received in time to enter into the report data base show that, although many of us are doing a lot of good things, there is an “abundance of room for improvement.”

 The following are brief statements about a few of the highlights and “dim lights” in the report of the survey results.

 A.  Compact Fluorescent Lights (cfl’s):

 CFL’s consume only about 25% of the amount of electricity consumed by incandescent bulbs while producing the same amount of actual light.  It’s not too bad that the survey showed a little more than half of respondents are using at least one cfl in their homes. But it shows that 40% do not have even one. Should not all of us have cfl’s installed in every appropriate light fixture in our homes to save 70-75% consumption of electricity for lighting? (Appropriate light fixtures are ones where the lights will be in use without being switched off for at least two hours at a stretch. Switching cfl’s off and on wears out the ballasts before their time.) Bear in mind when you purchase cfl’s, your much higher purchase cost, compared to that of incandescent bulbs, will be recovered in your saved electricity costs ? plus you only buy one cfl bulb for about ten incandescent bulbs because cfl’s last around ten or more times longer.

 B.  Home Heating:  The responses report a pretty good overall profile of types of heating sources: 88 natural gas, 35 heat pumps, plus six supremely ecological safe geothermal systems. However, only about nine (9) of the natural gas units were reported as rated excellent in efficiency and three(3) of the others. Further, it appears we are wasting a lot of the heat energy lost through inadequately insulated attics, leaking seals around window and door frames, and through single-pane window glass.

 D.  Home Appliances: Out of a total 857 appliances reported, only 15% (126) were rated at the high efficiency level. For those of us who feel we must have some of the standard home appliances, let us at least purchase those with “Energy Star” ratings. In an appliance store look at the large yellow and black energy rating stickers on every sales floor appliance and select appliances with stickers that say “Energy Star.”

 Now regarding how to dry clothes, only 52 (40%) reported outside solar clothes lines. The single-pole umbrella type of clothes line is very convenient and readily available now. You can even install this type on a post on a deck. And, just 57 (43%) report using inside drying racks.  (Shower curtain rods also count.)

E.  Yard and Garden
 Praises be. We shine brightly in this category. Among the seven yard and garden tasks sampled, respondents reported between 30% and 50% have situations in which they do not have to do the tasks; about 45% report no mowing for example. The vast majority of all tasks, other than grass mowing, are powered by human muscle. Twenty-two (22) report mowing with human muscle power alone. We hope more lawn caretakers will switch to the human powered mowers for significant reduction of air pollution and global warming gases.

 In closing, we want to acknowledge that the Religious Society of Friends is neither a dogmatic religion nor a legalistic religion. SAYMA’s Ecological Concerns Network has no interest in trying to impose, or even to suggest, conformity to a uniform code of energy-use practices.  Rather, out of the belief that the divine spirit has come to teach his/her people her/himself, we simply want to assist Friends in acquiring awareness and knowledge about what they can do to answer the urgent call to make substantive changes in our lifestyles that will promote the healing of Planet Earth’s ecology.

Submitted by Bill Reynolds for the Ecological Concerns Network of SAYMA

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