2.3 - Taking Stock


When it comes to opportunities to combat climate change, why not start at home? Not only do homes tend to be responsible for a large portion of greenhouse gas emissions, but most people tend to spend a significant amount of time in their homes. Let's conduct an environmental audit and lifecycle assessment for a household product or service to determine how to reduce household ecological footprints.


Over the course of a week, document your...

  • Energy use;
  • Water use;
  • Use of household consumer products (cleaners, toiletries;
  • Food consumption; and
  • Waste disposal.
...through the Writing section of the classroom. When the week is over, watch the Story of Stuff video and reflect on the lifecycle of the products described in the video. Post a reflection on the video in a blog post. Next, work individually or in groups to brainstorm activities and consumption patterns related to one of the following rooms:
  • Kitchen
  • Living room
  • Bedroom
  • Bathroom
  • Garage
Select one household item or function related to the room you chose as the subject of a "lifecycle assessment." A lifecycle assessment is the investigation and evaluation of the environmental impacts of a given product or service, through looking at the material and energy flows involved in the creation and use of the product or service. Also known as cradle-to-grave analysis because this method takes into consideration all inputs and outputs throughout the lifecycle of a product or service from the extraction of resources (cradle), to production, distribution, consumption, and disposal (grave). Consider the flows of natural resources, energy, materials and wastes involved in the production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of the good or service in question. Use exploratree to create a flow diagram to illustrate the inputs and outputs, using different colours for each type of material flow. Share your lifecycle assessment experience through a blog post. Be sure to answer the following questions:
  • Where does this item/service originate?
  • What resources and materials were used in creating it?
  • How is it used?
  • Where does it go after it is used?
  • What are the impacts of the product/service beyond the household?

Learning Objectives

  • To learn more about the environmental impact of household consumption patterns.
  • To become familiar with the lifecycle of household products and services.

  • Continue to 3.1 - Climate Policy and Solutions »