Researchers in Switzerland studied a town of 3,000 houses to get a look into how household consumption and pollution differs. What they found was that the amount of pollution differed vastly between neighbors:
In a case study performed on a midsized community, we found a median value of greenhouse gas emissions of 3.12 t CO2 equiv and a mean value of 4.30 t CO2 equiv per capita and year for housing and mobility. Twenty-one percent of the households in the investigated region were responsible for 50% of the total greenhouse gas emissions, meaning that if their emissions could be halved the total emissions of the community would be reduced by 25%.
Obviously, household pollution can vary greatly based on the size of a person’s home, the amount of energy they use, and whether or not they own a car. But even for people whose lives take up the same amount of physical space, pollution can vary: Certain appliances and particular vehicles can produce much higher levels of pollution. And while the perception is generally that more efficient appliances are prohibitively expensive, in the long run they save consumers a ton of money.
Within the new energy and environment plan proposed this week by President Obama are certain measures to help reduce such household pollution. He plans to increase efficiency standards for buildings, appliances, and vehicles. Efficiency standards are a proven way of reducing pollution.
(HT: Mother Jones)