Sustaining Resources in Limited Supply

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It’s been said that money can buy comforts, but not happiness. What if I told you, however, that you don’t need money to attain comforts, too? Simply speaking, when you make the most of what you currently have, you don’t need more of it. And no, the rest of this article won’t go down the road of positive thinking or healthy social habits; conscious living has commercial and industrial applications too. When it comes to preserving the tangible, the optimization of resources can lead to comfortable living despite limited supply.

Water

Photo from Drexel University

Water is a valuable resource that many take for granted in this tropical country – that is, until recent events had led to rotating water shortages; to this day, supply cutoffs are still being imposed in certain parts of Metro Manila. How can one enjoy water despite the scarcity? In the home, your lifestyle can simply need less water altogether, such as opting for low maintenance plants, or flushing the toilet after a few more uses. For both the home and office, you can invest in efficient fixtures, while in manufacturing plants, you can look into optimizing the production process – passive cooling mechanisms that don’t require running water, runoff recycling, and rain-catchment systems [1].

Food

Photo from Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada

Filipino culture is food culture. While any festivity must include a gastronomic experience, there are many ways to have that feast without being unnecessarily wasteful about it. For one, when shopping for ingredients, have a meal plan in mind, and shop with that in mind; thinking ahead about your grocery trip allows you to maximize what you end up buying, as well as avoid food waste, because you have concrete plans for using everything you’ll have bought [2]. Also, eating more slowly has proven to make you fuller in time, despite the lesser food intake, ultimately saving you some leftovers for later on. Aside from these ways of optimizing the food you use, there are also ways to efficiently produce your own food. For one, the aquaponics system is a self-sustaining bio system that combines hydroponics and aquaculture: fish are grown in a tank, and the excrement-laced water, which is doped with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, is circulated through the aquaculture system, nourishing the plants with nitrates for optimal growth [3].

Shelter

Photo from Bonners Furniture

Another typical feature of the Philippines is small living spaces due to limited available land, which stems from the archipelagic nature of the country. Unlike in the USA where sprawling lawns and wide open spaces are the norm, those are hard to come by here, and living quarters are often cramped with necessities – but that doesn’t mean they have to feel that way. There are many tools and design options to maximize space. For one, opting for large windows and open doorways creates the visual illusion that there is much space in the house, only because sight isn’t limited by walls and closed doors. Aside from that, installing storage spaces in the nooks and crannies of the house, such as under stairs or in the attic, can leave elbow room for actual living spaces such as the dining or bedroom. Lastly, multipurpose furniture can offer the most uses for the same amount of space; sofa beds, pull-down dining tables, and drawers-turned-work desks really free the room when you store them away at times when they aren’t needed [4].

Energy

Photo from Envision Monitoring System

Perhaps the most largely-overlooked yet critically-important resource today would be energy. The demand for energy continues to increase in the metropolis, yet the power industry struggles to match this with its supply. Beyond this, electricity costs here are among the highest in Southeast Asia, and tend to victimize the uninformed through tricky billing structures and hidden costs. As such, energy management is the key to avoid falling into scarcity and overcharge. There are many ways to practice optimal energy conservation, but it all begins with monitoring the energy you consume. Energy monitoring systems comprise both hardware and software that together track energy usage within your facility. Most systems available on the market offer real-time hourly data and mobile access, but there are particularly advanced tech, such as Envision, which provide value-add features including higher real-time resolution (every 5 minutes), alerts and notifications, and specialized analytical tools, for further energy savings.

References:

[1] Striepe, Becky. “20 Ways to Conserve Water at Home.” Care2, Care2.com, inc., 2012, www.care2.com/greenliving/20-ways-to-conserve-water-at-home.html.

[2] Petronzio, Matt. “11 Practical Ways You Can Reduce Food Waste and Save Money.” Mashable, Mashable, Inc., 15 Feb. 2015, mashable.com/2015/02/15/food-waste-tips/.

[3] Graywolf. “How to Prepare For the Coming Food Crisis.” Graywolf Survival, Amazon, 28 July 2014, graywolfsurvival.com/3195/prepare-coming-food-crisis/.

[4] Julia D. “36 Of The Best Space-Saving Design Ideas For Small Homes.” Bored Panda, 2015, www.boredpanda.com/efficient-space-saving-design/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic.

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