As human population has continued to grow and become increasingly more
metropolitan, urban ecosystems have become an increasingly important contributor to air
and water pollution on a local, regional, and global scale. As such, households provide a
useful unit of study, and quantifying environmental impacts from individual households
helps provide a clearer picture of what individual household decisions have the largest
impact to air and water quality.
In this study, a group of University of Minnesota research fellows conducted a
series of interviews and field surveys of single-family homeowners in the city of Falcon
Heights, Minnesota. The surveys were constructed by a team of faculty members and
research associates, for the purpose of collecting detailed information on household
consumption, behaviors, and attitudes. The survey was developed to obtain information
that could be translated into quantitative data to determine overall flux of carbon (C),
nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) as they relate to household activities and personal
choices. For purposes of this thesis, we define “flux” as the quantitative measurement of
inputs and outputs through the household unit, including any portions that are sequestered within or exported from the household. Surveys were conducted with 34 households; 6
or which were eliminated from this analysis due to incomplete data.
Approximately 40 variables gathered from the surveys were quantified and
directly inputted into the Household Flux Calculator (HFC), a spreadsheet accounting
model which was developed as part of this study to estimate the overall fluxes of C, N,
and P for each household. This thesis analyzes the variability of C, N, and P flux among
the households surveyed, and highlights household activities that have the greatest influence on the inputs and outputs of household C, N, and P, with the goal of developing
a better understanding of how decisions and choices made on a household level impact
local, regional, and global environments.
University of Minnesota M.S. thesis. December 2011. Major: Water resources science. Advisor: Dr. Lawrence A. Baker. 1 computer file (PDF); xi, 127 pages, appendix p. 99-127.
Hartzheim, Paul Matthew.
Application of household flux calculator in determining variability in annual carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus flux through Falcon Heights, Minnesota households..
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