Living a Sustainable Life in My Own Living Environment, Jember
By: Sofie I. Januarti
Many people who are willing to save the planet tend to forget that they can do so by living a sustainable life in their own home living environment. In this instance, I will discuss about my home living environment which is in Jember, East Java, and how the living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life.
First, to know whether my home living environment supports sustainability and living a sustainable life, we must know about the plot size. The whole plot is approximately 864m2, approximately 242.5m2 of built areas (the house, and store, 28% of plot) which faces the west (laying on the east-west axis), approximately 621.5m2 of the whole plot is open space (soil/land, grass, patio, and driveway space, 72% of plot). Approximately 128.9m2 of that open space is patio and driveway space (15% of open space as well as plot). If we combine the patio and driveway space and built area together, they add up to 43% of the whole plot. The other 57% of the open space contains soil/land, a little bit of grass, moss, and plenty of (fruit) trees but none of those trees are on the north side of the house. Since my house faces the west, it gets quite hot in the afternoon and evening, especially since there are not enough windows on the north side of the house.
Second, in order to determine our carbon footprint, we must observe the family household by analyzing their patterns of living. From my analyses and observations, I have found that my household (of five) consumes 1300W of electricity/month (IDR 186,000/month), two gallons of water/week, and one 12kg gas canister/2months. I have also observed that we consume local, imported, and some organic foods, but we do raise our own chickens which decrease our grocery shopping for poulty meat. Another observation is that we have ten appliances total, including fans, laptops, washing machines, fridges, and televisions. We use energy efficient lightbulbs in all rooms where only one lightbulb is placed in each room. As mentioned before, there are not enough windows on the north side of my house so during the day we still have to turn the lights on because not enough light enters the house, thus consuming more energy/electricity. My family household overall emits about 57 tons of CO2 eq/year, which I’m glad of since it is much lower than the average household of five in the US of 130 tons of CO2 eq/year but still higher than the worldwide average emission of 28 tons of CO2 eq/year.
In conclusion, shown by the above statistics, I believe that my home living environment is sustainable in terms of the open space and built space. However, I also believe that my home living enviroment can support sustainable living even more with some minor modifications. Trees, a vegetable and fruit garden on the north side of the house would reduce our carbon footprint with direct access to daily vegetables. Having more windows on the north side of the house for better lighting would reduce our electricity consumption. From my analyses and observations, I have become more familiar with my own household and household living patterns. I greatly encourage others to do so too with their own living environments to improve the planet’s condition and more towards living a sustainable life.
 “Carbon Footprint Calculator”. http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/. 2011.