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Lance Armstrong: Champion Water User

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong may have retired from professional cycling three years ago, but he's apparently still pretty good at winning things. Take, for instance, his water usage, where in his hometown of Austin, Texas, Armstrong wears the yellow jersey ahead of 743,000 other residents.


In July, Armstrong's 1.1-acre Spanish-colonial estate and home (seen above in all it's green lushness) used an amazing 330,000 gallons of water. That's about 38 times what the average Austin household uses in the summer. Armstrong's July tab for keeping those gardens growing, toilets flushing and pool full: a hefty $2,460.

 

[Read the rest about Lance over at EnviroWonk]

post #2 of 16

And you know the weirdest part is that he seemed surprised.  How do you not know that your own house uses immense amounts of water?

post #3 of 16

Reading this, 330,000 gallons sounds like a LOT, but I don't otherwise have a point of comparison.. I realized couldn't estimate exactly how many gallons I consume personally.  So, I googled searched for an online calculatorr....

 

Check out this calculator.  It's from the Tampa, FL govt website, and it gives an estimate of your household's water usage per day/month/year.  Really neat.

 

Compared to Lance's 330,000 (IN ONE MONTH), my household uses an estimated 3470 per month, which is still about 300 gallons per month over the Tampa average.  Granted, I live in an apartment and don't have the lawn, etc., to maintain as does Lance, but still....

post #4 of 16

Well I've got a house and calculated about 1300 gallons per month.  Of course, the lawns are both crap and I rarely water them, but still :-)  Armstrong's home is 9 times bigger than mine and he's using 250 times more water.  Kind of insane.  I'd like to know where it's all going.

post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 

Yeah, Lance's place is pretty palatial looking...they must water an awful lot.  I'm sure evaporation must account for some of his water consumption given that he lives in Texas (and as they probably don't always water between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.)

 

I wonder how big his pool is too....

post #6 of 16

Yeah no doubt lots of watering, pool, jacuzzi, etc.   Texas isn't the best place to have immense green lawns!

post #7 of 16

Yeah...but...surely all my luscious grass helps suck up some carbon in the atmosphere, right?  Watering my lawn helps save the icecaps?

post #8 of 16

Heh true, although grass doesn't absorb a whole lot of CO2.  And some of the water will evaporate and return as precipitation as well.  But still, fresh water is not something that Texas or California have in abundance.

post #9 of 16

Reading that again now, I realize my sarcasm may have been lost.  :(

post #10 of 16

Haha no, I got the sarcasm.  Nevertheless, it was a somewhat valid point :-)

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by dana1981:

Heh true, although grass doesn't absorb a whole lot of CO2.  And some of the water will evaporate and return as precipitation as well.  But still, fresh water is not something that Texas or California have in abundance.

 

Speaking of wasting water on lots of grass...I've always been astounded by the fact that Palm Springs, CA has become some sort of golfing mecca.  Why on earth would they choose a DESERT to be a place where grassy courses abound?  I can only imagine (frightens me, actually) how much water each of those resorts uses per year to keep them green....

post #12 of 16

Yeah, golf courses use an immense amount of water.

 

You know who also uses way too much water?  My freaking neighbors.  Almost every day when I get home there's standing water in the gutters.  West Sacramento doesn't have water meters (flat monthly water rate), so people just waste it willy nilly.  It bugs the hell out of me.

post #13 of 16

I imagine any CO2 sucked up by the grass will be a pathetic attempt to keep up with the ride on lawn mower...

post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by nitedreamer:

I imagine any CO2 sucked up by the grass will be a pathetic attempt to keep up with the ride on lawn mower...


 

Hah that would be an interesting calculation - CO2 absorption of grass vs. CO2 emissions by lawnmowers.  I may have to do some research on that one :-)

post #15 of 16

Well I came across the same problem as in the solar panels vs. green roof debate, that being finding stats on the CO2 absorption of grass.  I did find one person who made a good point that often grass will die seasonally and release its stored carbon, but if you're keeping your grass perenially green (as Lance clearly is!), that's not the case.

 

In the debate, I found that a square meter of vetiver would absorb about 5 kg of CO2 during a year's growth.  That's a big, deep-rooted grass, so I assumed more common grass would absorb half as much.  I'll use the same assumption here.

 

So now let's say you're super cool and use a Neuton electric mower to mow your lawn.  It uses 0.36 kWh to mow 1/3 acre, or 1350 square meters.  That area of grass will absorb somewhere around 3,000 kg of CO2 over a year's growth.  Let's say you mow your lawn every-other week, or 26 times anually.  That's 9.36 kWh, which according to the EPA, corresponds to 12.76 lbs of CO2, or 5.8 kg.  So you're golden.

 

According to Neuton (citing the EPA), a gas mower emits 87 lbs (39.5 kg) of CO2 per year.  I don't know what assumptions they're making (stand-up or sit-down, mowing frequency, lawn size, etc.).  But it's hard to find statistics on mower CO2 emissions, so we'll just call that an average, in which case lawns still do absorb a lot more CO2 than mowers emit.  Of course, that's only if my assumptions about grass CO2 absorption are accurate, which may very well not be the case.

post #16 of 16

The tricky thing is that when you mow the grass, the clippings obviously die, and thus emit their previously absorbed carbon back into the atmosphere.  But I'm not sure how much would be emitted and how much would stay in the remaining grass.

 

But anyway, as noted in the electric mowers wiki, gas mowers are pretty gross.


Edited by dana1981 - Fri, 22 Aug 2008 18:53:47 UTC
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