Kitchen Table Decisions

Aug 2021

I’ve been spending a bunch of time, both personally, and professionally, thinking about the clean energy transition and “kitchen table decisions”. Some examples of kitchen-table decisions:

  • where to live
  • how to heat the home/heat water for home use
  • whether to get solar panels
  • whether to use an electric car
  • whether to get battery storage
  • how to insulate the home
  • how to do laundry and drying
  • how to cook food in the home
  • what kind of food to eat
  • what kinds of vacations to take
  • how and when to shop for consumer goods

These are in (very rough) order of importance in terms of climate impact. My professonal thoughts on this have mostly come from my involvement in the Rewiring America project. I’ve been working on data mining and analysis to quantify the impact of some of these decisions. For instance, I helped put together a map which shows which households would most benefit from switching to heat pump-based heating, and also to quantify the CO2e savings from such a transition.

Personally, I am thinking of these projects as a co-owner at Chrysalis. Because we are co-housing, we get a multiplier effect from many of these decisions. For instance, getting a single heat pump space or water heater for our one household is the equivalent of as many as three or four “normal” nuclear-family households. Our group is pretty committed to making long-term investments that benefit the environment, and we’re in the process of making decisions on many of them.

As we do the research and make big investments, I would also like to document what we are learning. I’m envisioning this post being the entry-point for more in-depth discussions. Please get in touch if you have valuable experiences to share, or would like to know more about some of these subjects.