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Green Living - How To and Questions

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Posts

  • PhasenPhasen Registered User regular
    hsu wrote: »
    I looked into solar for my house, and I came up with 10 years to break even if I took out a loan, longer if I leased.

    The biggest thing to note is that batteries are really expensive, so almost nobody does batteries, and instead pulls from the grid at night. But since most of us work during the day, and only use electricity at night, we don't really take advantage of all that free power, which is why the break even point is so long.

    Edit - My long breakeven point includes "net metering", aka selling power back to the grid.

    My wife and I right now Arnt up late at night much if any. How long ago did you look into this? Seems there are a good bit of tax breaks available and that's kinda why I wanted to look into it now before those expire.

    psn: PhasenWeeple
  • PhasenPhasen Registered User regular
    It also makes a big difference if your local power company allows you to sell excess back to the grid. You'll have to ask them and find out what rate they'll pay you for it if at all.

    I believe duke energy offers this and I'm sure the quote I'm going to get from the solar company will put this in the brightest light possible.

    psn: PhasenWeeple
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    I hope I don't have to say this, but if you have things like appliances, old tires, etc. that you have to get rid of, please dispose of them in a responsible manner like a grown up instead of, say, dumping them in the wetlands around the nature center. Because I am still sore from having to dig out and carry abandoned tires from a wetland at the nature center on Saturday.

    Zilla360
  • Aktn BstrdAktn Bstrd Registered User regular
    The single biggest thing that you can do to make a difference on the environment is to switch to a vegan diet. One pound of meat requires (estimates vary depending on the source) 450 gallons (from the Cattleman's Association) to 1800 gallons. The carbon emissions from shipping the meat, the clearcutting of the rain forests for additional grazing land/food production for the cattle, basically everything about it causes problems. Check out Diet for a New America by John Robbins for some more information on it.

    Mayabird
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    edited May 2016
    Unless you're a vegan who eats nuts then you're using just as much water per pound or more.

    Cabezone on
    chrishallett83
  • lonelyahavalonelyahava Mortius is correct Move to New ZealandRegistered User regular
    One of the tiny things that we've done in the house is actually switching to using powdered milk.

    I've got a glass jar in my fridge I mix up a liter of milk just about every week. It's at least one less plastic bottle going into the landfill. And you might think it's not that big of a deal since I'm still throwing away the bag of milk powder. But one 1kg bag of milk powder makes 8 liters of milk. So that's 8 plastic containers that are not going into the bin. And sure, you can recycle those plastic containers, but (and I'm sure this is just our recycling plants down here? but maybe not) if your plastic recycling is not perfectly cleaned out and dry, then it doesn't actually get recycled. It goes to the landfill anyway. Plastic, metal, and glass. They need to be completely washed out, cleaned, and dried before they can be recycled. If they're not, then they go to landfill anyway and you're better off just not recycling in the first place.

    I'm also using cloth nappies on the baby and am looking into starting myself on mama cloth and maybe even a moon cup. maybe. Still not sure on that.

    We hang our clothes up outside as much as we can and have bought the most energy start rated appliances we can find (our dryer is actually 5 stars. Which is kind of insane for a dryer). Every little bit helps!

    But seriously, milk powder. You mix it up, let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and you'd never know that you're not actually drinking milk from a carton. It really tastes just that good.

  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    I don't think that is really economical here. I buy milk by the gallon (3.78 liters) and the largest canister of the stuff I can find locally (or shipped via Amazon) is 1.5 kg for $15.36 USD. That makes 3 1/3 gallons. For comparison, that much milk bought from the grocery store is only going to cost me $10.66 ($3.22/gal...I added the extra amount even though you can't buy 1/3rd of a gallon).

    Rollers are red, chargers are blue....omae wa mou shindeiru
  • CabezoneCabezone Registered User regular
    In the USA powdered milk is uncommon so theres no cost savings.

    lonelyahavaEncDouglasDanger
  • MayabirdMayabird Pecking at the keyboardRegistered User regular
    On clothing donation:

    Nobody wants heavily soiled, disgusting, filthy clothing. If you can wash it, do so. If it's not washable, throw it away because any charity or other location it's donated to will have to do that themselves, but on their dime.

    If it's going to a small charity like a single church's thrift shop or a battered woman's shelter, only donate usable/resellable things in good condition. If it's going to a very large organization though such as Goodwill, though, they can take donations of not as quality or un-resellable goods because they have the volume to be able to sell fabric to recyclers. The recyclers will be able to turn it into useful things like industrial rags and insulation instead of having it go to landfills, and the charity can get funds for their programs, so it's not a bad thing.

    You may see bins around in parking lots for donating clothing. Often those are for-profit organizations that will sell directly to resellers (often in the third world) and recyclers. If there aren't any other options, it's still better to do that than add more waste to landfills, but try one of the bigger charitable organizations first. If you're in doubt if a non-profit would be able to handle your clothing donation, look them up online or give them a call.


    Also in the future, it's better not to load up on disposable possessions, buying lots of clothes you didn't need because you wanted to go shopping and that sort of thing.

    Xaquinchrishallett83
  • ceresceres When the last moon is cast over the last star of morning And the future has past without even a last desperate warningRegistered User, Moderator mod
    Mayabird wrote: »
    On clothing donation:

    Nobody wants heavily soiled, disgusting, filthy clothing. If you can wash it, do so. If it's not washable, throw it away because any charity or other location it's donated to will have to do that themselves, but on their dime.

    If it's going to a small charity like a single church's thrift shop or a battered woman's shelter, only donate usable/resellable things in good condition. If it's going to a very large organization though such as Goodwill, though, they can take donations of not as quality or un-resellable goods because they have the volume to be able to sell fabric to recyclers. The recyclers will be able to turn it into useful things like industrial rags and insulation instead of having it go to landfills, and the charity can get funds for their programs, so it's not a bad thing.

    This is not actually always true, at least in my area. Always launder what you donate, but where I live there are places that will still take things that are stained or frayed because while goodwill and those places are looking to resell, there are organizations who will take anything a person can still wear because there are people out there who just. need. clothes. When a person who is completely homeless and without irreparably tears or loses their shirt, they aren't feeling fucking fussy about some pizza stains. By the same token, something super nice like a suit or something interview-suitable might be more charitably donated than to goodwill. I have a place where I can donate clothing in whatever condition, and they send the clothing you give them to different places depending on their state of repair. They say just give it to them and if they know it is way too far gone they can just throw it away themselves, but people waste so much clothing because of pit stains or whatever that is STILL worth more as a shirt to someone than it is as garbage. Places like that know where to send stuff with stains or small tears. They may also send interview-suitable clothing to other places in return for vouchers they can hand out to people who are in immediate need of that kind of thing - the recipient of the voucher can turn it in for something that will look nice enough to wear while job-hunting, and they might not be able to afford a thrift shop. Goodwill will often just resell without the voucher part.

    I think the better advice here would be that whatever you're looking to donate, it's best to make some calls and see if there is somewhere that can use it before throwing it away. Maybe don't toss all your clothes in one bag and send it to goodwill, but throwing away anything that isn't perfect (or donating something that is directly to a reseller) is a different kind of waste that can limit homeless access to things like clothing. There are even shelters that will take open food like cereal (there were a couple where I used to live, none here afaik); come Passover we'd take everything to one of them so it didn't get thrown away.

    If you need to get rid of some things and you are looking to minimize waste instead of offloading all of it as quickly as possible, do your homework and you'll be surprised what someone out there can use.

    And it seems like all is dying, and would leave the world to mourn
  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    Bringing things back to gardening for a moment, an open source project I've followed for a bit is finally far enough into development to begin offering kits: FarmBot



    It's a gantry system that runs on rails up to 3 meters long and 1.5 meters wide (though if you supply your own rails and cables you could conceivably scale it to any size that the motors will accommodate), and can perform automated gardening functions including seeding, watering (depending on soil moisture measurements and crop requirements), weeding, and growth monitoring. While it comes out of the box set to run off of a wall socket, there is already a documented mod to run the system entirely off-grid with solar power and collected rainwater.

    bowenTofystedethXaquinMayabirddavidsdurions38thDoeDisruptedCapitalistBasarSiska
  • bowenbowen ayyyyyyyy Registered User regular
    the future is awesome

    humans, so smart, invented robots to grow food to feed ourselves

    Warning: I am a programmer/sysop. IANAL/IANAD, seek actual advice from certified people in their respective fields if you are actually in need of it.
  • BouwsTBouwsT Wanna come to a super soft birthday party? Registered User regular
    bowen wrote: »
    the future is awesome

    humans, so smart, invented robots to grow food to feed ourselves

    And soon, robots will invent robots to feed themselves.

    yfe9yt12sr2r.jpg

    I shall be telling this with a sigh
    Somewhere ages and ages hence:
    Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
    I took the one less traveled by,
    And that has made all the difference.
    bowenXaquinchrishallett83Cantido
  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Emissary42 wrote: »
    Bringing things back to gardening for a moment, an open source project I've followed for a bit is finally far enough into development to begin offering kits: FarmBot



    It's a gantry system that runs on rails up to 3 meters long and 1.5 meters wide (though if you supply your own rails and cables you could conceivably scale it to any size that the motors will accommodate), and can perform automated gardening functions including seeding, watering (depending on soil moisture measurements and crop requirements), weeding, and growth monitoring. While it comes out of the box set to run off of a wall socket, there is already a documented mod to run the system entirely off-grid with solar power and collected rainwater.

    How did I miss this? This is so amazing.

    - retired resident Turk of the Middle East thread.
    (i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language)

    DisruptedCapitalist
  • BarrakkethBarrakketh Registered User regular
    edited October 2016
    I read the YouTube comments.
    Why the heck is it not called RoBotanist?

    And holy crap, it costs about $4100.

    Barrakketh on
    Rollers are red, chargers are blue....omae wa mou shindeiru
  • LailLail Surrey, B.C.Registered User regular
    So next year I'll be moving out of my condo and buying a house. I have been thinking of ways I can help make my future home be environmentally friendly.

    While I personally try to make environmentally friendly choices everyday (I don't eat a lot of beef, I don't buy things very often, I turn off my lights/electronics, etc), when it comes to setting up a "green-home" I don't really know much. Any thoughts/comments/ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm in British Columbia, Canada for reference.

    Some things I have thought about doing:

    1. I have looked into installing solar panels. However, because of the lack of sun during most of the year up here, it'll take ~20 years to break-even (I can't actually remember the time frame, but it was long). This also assumes I'll be able to have south-facing panels with a large enough surface area. Hopefully Elon Musk's Solar Roof is actually as economically viable as his presentation suggests.

    2. Replacing my grass with clover. This idea seems very doable.

    3. Buying rainwater tanks to store rain run-off. It makes sense to me to store rainwater from the Spring to use during the Summer to water any gardens and trees (and my clover). To be honest, I'm surprised these aren't more common. Is there a reason they're not? Are they just not common where I am because cheap, clean water isn't an issue in B.C.?

    Are there any other things I could be looking into?

    Switch friend code: SW-5887-7359-5380

    Twitter!
  • BasarBasar IstanbulRegistered User regular
    Lail wrote: »
    So next year I'll be moving out of my condo and buying a house. I have been thinking of ways I can help make my future home be environmentally friendly.

    While I personally try to make environmentally friendly choices everyday (I don't eat a lot of beef, I don't buy things very often, I turn off my lights/electronics, etc), when it comes to setting up a "green-home" I don't really know much. Any thoughts/comments/ideas would be greatly appreciated. I'm in British Columbia, Canada for reference.

    Some things I have thought about doing:

    1. I have looked into installing solar panels. However, because of the lack of sun during most of the year up here, it'll take ~20 years to break-even (I can't actually remember the time frame, but it was long). This also assumes I'll be able to have south-facing panels with a large enough surface area. Hopefully Elon Musk's Solar Roof is actually as economically viable as his presentation suggests.

    2. Replacing my grass with clover. This idea seems very doable.

    3. Buying rainwater tanks to store rain run-off. It makes sense to me to store rainwater from the Spring to use during the Summer to water any gardens and trees (and my clover). To be honest, I'm surprised these aren't more common. Is there a reason they're not? Are they just not common where I am because cheap, clean water isn't an issue in B.C.?

    Are there any other things I could be looking into?

    Congrats on your home purchase!

    About solar panels, commercial ones are expensive and I am not sure if Musk will be able to deliver as viable as he promises but in the mean time, if you have the tools and are a bit handy, you can try to build your own solar panel. You cannot power the entire place with them but it's a fun project and at least you can reduce your dependence on grid. Also you don't need sunshine for solar energy.

    - retired resident Turk of the Middle East thread.
    (i live in a country with a batshit crazy president and no, english is not my first language)

  • chrishallett83chrishallett83 Hi! Registered User regular
    The first step is reducing your energy usage. Regardless of whether you stay on town power or end up going solar (and wind, you can buy wind power generators suitable for one house), replacing appliances with energy-efficient units is an excellent idea. Swap out lightglobes for CFL or LED units, use reticulated gas for cooking, hot water, and home heating. Rainwater tanks are a great idea, under-eaves models will store more than enough water for drinking and kitchen use. For total rainfall reliance you will need a much bigger tank though, even with water efficient laundry appliances and toilet cisterns and low-flow faucets and shower heads a 500 gallon tank won't last a day. My partners parents are total hippies (grow their own vegan food, use only solar power for everything, grey water reclamation system, composting toilet et. al.) and while they might have gone a little too far, they have something like 15,000 gallons total rainwater storage across three or four tanks.

    terriblepostsigpic.jpg
    Mayabird
  • bowenbowen ayyyyyyyy Registered User regular
    Water rights is usually a thing when it comes to capturing rain water. Depends on your area.

    Warning: I am a programmer/sysop. IANAL/IANAD, seek actual advice from certified people in their respective fields if you are actually in need of it.
  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    The first step is reducing your energy usage. Regardless of whether you stay on town power or end up going solar (and wind, you can buy wind power generators suitable for one house), replacing appliances with energy-efficient units is an excellent idea. Swap out lightglobes for CFL or LED units, use reticulated gas for cooking, hot water, and home heating. Rainwater tanks are a great idea, under-eaves models will store more than enough water for drinking and kitchen use. For total rainfall reliance you will need a much bigger tank though, even with water efficient laundry appliances and toilet cisterns and low-flow faucets and shower heads a 500 gallon tank won't last a day. My partners parents are total hippies (grow their own vegan food, use only solar power for everything, grey water reclamation system, composting toilet et. al.) and while they might have gone a little too far, they have something like 15,000 gallons total rainwater storage across three or four tanks.

    Another great addition there: Insulation, Insulation, Insulation. Hunt down every single draft and gap in doorways and windows, fill those in with urethane weather stripping, and you will see huge drops in heating and cooling costs. While I am still living in apartments, when I first moved into my current place it was difficult to keep the interior temperature at a steady 65F in winter in Atlanta with both the central heating and a space heater. After installing weather stripping, I can maintain the entire 840 square feet at 72F+ with naught but periodic use of a 1500 watt space heater during the same time of year, and my electrical bill is 10-20% lower too.

    chrishallett83
  • DraygoDraygo Registered User regular
    edited November 2016
    One of the tiny things that we've done in the house is actually switching to using powdered milk.

    I've got a glass jar in my fridge I mix up a liter of milk just about every week. It's at least one less plastic bottle going into the landfill. And you might think it's not that big of a deal since I'm still throwing away the bag of milk powder. But one 1kg bag of milk powder makes 8 liters of milk. So that's 8 plastic containers that are not going into the bin. And sure, you can recycle those plastic containers, but (and I'm sure this is just our recycling plants down here? but maybe not) if your plastic recycling is not perfectly cleaned out and dry, then it doesn't actually get recycled. It goes to the landfill anyway. Plastic, metal, and glass. They need to be completely washed out, cleaned, and dried before they can be recycled. If they're not, then they go to landfill anyway and you're better off just not recycling in the first place.

    I'm also using cloth nappies on the baby and am looking into starting myself on mama cloth and maybe even a moon cup. maybe. Still not sure on that.

    We hang our clothes up outside as much as we can and have bought the most energy start rated appliances we can find (our dryer is actually 5 stars. Which is kind of insane for a dryer). Every little bit helps!

    But seriously, milk powder. You mix it up, let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and you'd never know that you're not actually drinking milk from a carton. It really tastes just that good.

    This (bold) is not true. Clean the containers yes, but they do not need to be spotless. Cleaner is better but the plant will clean the containers and recycle them over dumping them in a landfill in most cases. When you are cleaning your dishes often just rinsing it with a little water and knocking off any easily removed debris is enough. For milk containers I just put in a little water, put the cap back on and shake it, then pour it out.

    Please, recycle it, even if it is a little dirty.

    More info: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/02/clean-food-containers-recycling

    Draygo on
    Emissary42Mayabird
  • Emissary42Emissary42 Registered User regular
    Draygo wrote: »
    One of the tiny things that we've done in the house is actually switching to using powdered milk.

    I've got a glass jar in my fridge I mix up a liter of milk just about every week. It's at least one less plastic bottle going into the landfill. And you might think it's not that big of a deal since I'm still throwing away the bag of milk powder. But one 1kg bag of milk powder makes 8 liters of milk. So that's 8 plastic containers that are not going into the bin. And sure, you can recycle those plastic containers, but (and I'm sure this is just our recycling plants down here? but maybe not) if your plastic recycling is not perfectly cleaned out and dry, then it doesn't actually get recycled. It goes to the landfill anyway. Plastic, metal, and glass. They need to be completely washed out, cleaned, and dried before they can be recycled. If they're not, then they go to landfill anyway and you're better off just not recycling in the first place.

    I'm also using cloth nappies on the baby and am looking into starting myself on mama cloth and maybe even a moon cup. maybe. Still not sure on that.

    We hang our clothes up outside as much as we can and have bought the most energy start rated appliances we can find (our dryer is actually 5 stars. Which is kind of insane for a dryer). Every little bit helps!

    But seriously, milk powder. You mix it up, let it sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes, and you'd never know that you're not actually drinking milk from a carton. It really tastes just that good.

    This (bold) is not true. Clean the containers yes, but they do not need to be spotless. Cleaner is better but the plant will clean the containers and recycle them over dumping them in a landfill in most cases. When you are cleaning your dishes often just rinsing it with a little water and knocking off any easily removed debris is enough. For milk containers I just put in a little water, put the cap back on and shake it, then pour it out.

    Please, recycle it, even if it is a little dirty.

    More info: http://www.motherjones.com/blue-marble/2011/02/clean-food-containers-recycling

    You don't even need to be particularly careful about what kind of plastic you put in a bin in most places, unless they say specifically not to recycle it. Recycling plants have methods that sort the different chipped materials out (usually by buoyancy) into each family of polymers for further processing.

    Draygochrishallett83
  • TofystedethTofystedeth veni, veneri, vamoosi Registered User regular
    I don't know if it's been mentioned but some power companies allow you to opt in to a plan where you pay a little bit more per kwh ($0.0025 for Westar for example, $2.50 per month for average users) and that money goes to generating renewable energy.

    steam_sig.png
    chrishallett83
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