Household Sustainability: Consuming Food, Energy, Water
Changing people’s behavior may be the hardest part of mitigating climate change. But a research team led by Michigan Tech wants to find a way to do just that.
As part of a new program called "Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems," the National Science Foundation (NSF) is awarding the team nearly $3 million over five years. Their research focuses on how household consumption of food, energy and water (FEW) impacts climate change and resource scarcity.
“Our focus is on targeted conservation,” says David Watkins (CEE), a lead researcher on the grant. “We’re trying to understand what types of consumption have the biggest impacts.”
The project has three phases, the first two of which will determine how households are currently consuming food, energy and water, and what changes householders would most likely make when provided with specific information about FEW consumption impacts. Based on the results, the last phase will focus on two case-study communities that implement experimental changes in their daily FEW consumption habits.
To monitor the impacts of these changes, Charles Wallace (CS), is developing a user-friendly software system, currently referred to as the Household Metabolism Tracker. This tool will track consumption levels and link to an impact database, providing feedback to household residents on the rather complex impacts of their resource use. Read the full story.