Questions tagged [home]

a dwelling-place used as a permanent or semi-permanent residence for an individual, family, household or several families in a tribe. Use this tag for questions about sustainability issues at home.

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Can you live in a Caravan for a long term? permanently?

To stay mobile, and also avoid the expensive cost of rent, can you live in a Caravan for a long term? or even permanently?
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2 votes
1 answer
45 views

Solutions to increase roof insulation with raised tie trusses

My house has raised tie trusses: This means that on the second floor the central part of the ceiling is flat, but near the long walls it is slanted. The trusses are 2x6 timber construction, meaning ...
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Is anyone developing direct carbon capture for home HVAC system based on natural gas?

I live in Minnesota and I am concerned about my carbon footprint. I know that heating and cooling are large contributors to emissions globally. This video from the excellent Youtube channel Technology ...
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0 votes
1 answer
67 views

Should I down cycle something myself instead of giving it away knowing it will end up in landfills?

I currently live in an Eastern European country where conscious consumption and recycling is uncommon. For context, I am sometimes frown upon by the cashiers when coming to a grocery store with a ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What are the best countries to lead a self-sufficient life?

I thought in Europe at first instance, but still open to other options. The idea is: Buy a land at good price with some space Build home from scratch Grow own organic food (vegetables and few ...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What kind of refrigerant should I look for in a residential air conditioner?

I live in the traditionally temperate Pacific Northwest, but after the heat waves of summer 2021 I'm thinking about giving up and finally buying an air conditioner. But I've heard that air ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Can window films be fully removed from a window?

I live in the Pacific Northwest which has seen some serious heat waves this summer, so now I'm looking for more ways to keep cool. Aside from air-conditioning, I'm interested in passive techniques to ...
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2 answers
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Can I use the furnace fan to cool my house in the summer?

We replaced our furnace last year, and the new one has a fan which can be run independently of the heating function. The fan recirculates air throughout the house. Is there a way to use this to keep ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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When does wind make more sense than solar for a home application?

Let's say I have a fixed amount of money that I can either spend on a complete solar PV system (panels, inverter, all the hardware and wiring) or a complete wind system (turbine, inverter, all the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Determining carbon reduction vs cost of various home upgrades

I've done some amount of upgrades to my house to reduce my overall carbon emissions, and reading online there are all kinds of suggestions for doing even more: Replace my natural gas water heater ...
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4 votes
2 answers
90 views

How can I recycle when my apartment doesn't offer it?

I live in an apartment in an urban area. I would love to be able to recycle, but unfortunately, my building doesn't offer recycling as a service. I've searched for recycling facilities near me, and ...
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3 votes
2 answers
122 views

What alternatives exist for bean bag filler?

One of my kids has asked for a bean bag for their room. I'm hesitant, mainly because of the styrofoam/plastic filler beans which (I assume) are generally terrible for the environment when they ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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How do 'Eco' vs 'Quick' modes compare for washing clothes?

A lot of washing machines offer different washing modes which change various run settings: Cotton (or 'General'), Towels, Bedsheets, Wool and so on. Most even have settings for 'Eco Mode' - which (if ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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How to hatch eggs at home without a bulb-based incubator?

I came across some videos on YouTube where they used a home-made incubator to hatch hen eggs. The system was nothing fancy: A cardboard box with a light inside Some aluminum foil near the bulb (...
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2 votes
1 answer
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How to identify the rating of my electrical panel

Recently I got a bid from a solar company and they said I don't need to upgrade my electrical box since it is rated at 125 amps, and for that value, I can install a 7k system based on calculation here....
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7 votes
1 answer
458 views

After how many litres does Soda Stream get more sustainable than bottled sparkling water

Soda Stream is advertised as a more sustainable alternative to buying sparkling water in bottles. The main selling points are that no water filled bottles need to be manufactured, transported and ...
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2 votes
4 answers
191 views

What is the most sustainable choice for a domestic hot water system in temperate, coastal Australia?

We currently have an ailing 14 yr old solar hot water installation. A few plumbers have given us the same story: due to the age and general condition of the system, it makes more sense to replace it ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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How to prepare my home for vacation to reduce energy use?

When going away for vacation for a few weeks, what steps can I take to reduce the energy and water my home will use while I'm gone? I've already asked about what to do with a refrigerator, but I'm ...
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3 votes
0 answers
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What is the connection between detergent enzymes and sustainability?

I was looking at the shelf with "ecological" detergents in a store and noticed that most of them boasted of being enzyme-free. I wondered why this is a preferable quality in a detergent, ...
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3 votes
4 answers
262 views

Is there a solution for flattening/reducing the volume of plastic recyclables in the home?

I've been having issues with my indoors storage solution for plastics. Loose wrappers and containers from food products tend to take an unnecessarily large amount of space and without a way to ...
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5 votes
1 answer
85 views

Any electric vehicle that can be used as a home energy storage?

I have a house with a solar array on top currently tied to the grid. I would love to be able to use an EV as a battery for my house, and after it charges up in the day be nice to use it for the ...
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7 votes
1 answer
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Is working from home a more sustainable choice?

Due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns in multiple countries, there have been reports of marked decreases in day-to-day pollution hanging over cities, such as this report on ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Grass rug/carpet sustainable alternatives?

My balcony has a very ugly concrete floor that I don't like. I really like grass carpets (see a few examples on Amazon) though. I like their texture and I think they make a balcony more homely. To ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Are there environmental benefits to a water softener?

The municipal water where I live is considered very hard, measuring about 325 parts per million dissolved mineral content. I currently have a water softener in my home, but it has been giving me some ...
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9 votes
2 answers
1k views

How can I figure out what's using so much electricity in my home?

I recently moved into a new home with 2 other housemates and our combined bill for electricity is far higher than I expected. We're using just over 40 kWh per day, on average. When I lived alone, my ...
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28 votes
7 answers
10k views

Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

I've just received two quotes for installing a rooftop solar system at my residential address (near Sydney, Australia). This caught my eye: Company 1: Panel: 22 x ET panels 300w Inverter: Growatt 5 ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Can residential rooftop solar arrays be cheaply extended over time?

I am looking to install rooftop solar on my house some time this year. I have a decent amount of roof space and very little shading so I should achieve fairly ideal conditions for it. A lot of the ...
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1 vote
2 answers
55 views

Book recommendation on traditional, pre-industrial homesteading

I am looking for references which document and explain how to do things without using electricity and all industrial technology. If you have read "The way home" by Mark Boyle, this would be the sort ...
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2 votes
3 answers
122 views

How to reduce indoor humidity in the summer time?

I own a home in southern Wisconsin, USA, where we have a humid continental climate (emphasis on humid!). There is no central air conditioning. This summer we are experimenting with cooling strategies ...
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4 votes
3 answers
81 views

How to reduce energy usage of a window air conditioner?

In the summer, we use a window air conditioner in our bedroom to be able to sleep comfortably at night. It takes a while to cool, and I know it uses quite a bit of energy. Here are a few steps we take ...
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0 votes
2 answers
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Reducing/Offsetting Impact of New-Build Home [closed]

So, here's a breakdown of the question. Situation: In the next month or two I will be moving house to a new-build detached house in the UK, which is on an estate of around 100 similar such properties....
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3 votes
1 answer
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What is the minimum indoor CO2 concentration that is achievable using houseplants?

CO2 concentration is linked to health risks and even our ability to think well. Meanwhile, houseplants decrease CO2 concentration when they receive enough sunlight. However, both houseplant studies ...
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2 votes
0 answers
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How to make extracts and fragrances from fragrant plants like Sage

I'm looking to try using more natural products/solutions in our day to day life and some things that I am considering are fragrances, soaps and essences (food). I have read that Sage plants are edible ...
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4 votes
2 answers
72 views

Does air duct cleaning increase heating efficiency?

I recently moved into an older house with a natural gas-burning forced hot air furnace. There are no records of the ducts being cleaned, and based on the layer of black grime I can see, they are quite ...
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1 vote
2 answers
167 views

Which appliance should I replace first?

I recently bought a home with many appliances approaching 20 years old. As I expect that many of them will fail over the next several years, I want to get a head start on replacing them (since last-...
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9 votes
4 answers
748 views

Are machine-washed rags more sustainable than paper towels for any & all household messes?

Anything single-use is suspicious in terms of sustainability, especially if it goes to the trash afterwards and is not recyclable. Considering that, and the disproportionate use of paper towels by the ...
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4 votes
2 answers
532 views

How to choose between an electric, natural gas, or heat pump clothes dryer?

I will soon be moving into a new home with a very old electric clothes dryer. I expect that before too long it will fail and need replacing. I would like to replace this with a more efficient model. I ...
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2 votes
3 answers
276 views

For overnight heating, is it more efficient to use an electric space heater in a bedroom or a whole house natural gas furnace?

Is it more efficient to heat a bedroom with whole house's forced-air natural-gas burning furnace, or only an electric space heater in the bedroom? For a very location-specific application, electric ...
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6 votes
2 answers
503 views

Alternatives to concrete for a flat roof

I am from India and planning to build a house with as little cement, steel and sand as possible. I am looking to keep the temperature inside the home to be minimal since temperature will touch around ...
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2 votes
1 answer
67 views

Portable AC or Dehumidifier?

I currently am a recent graduate and I am living in a place that does not have AC. I am looking to buy a portable AC or to buy a dehumidifier. I currently live in Minnesota and sleeping at night when ...
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5 votes
3 answers
302 views

What capacity solar system is required for new homes under the California 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards (Title 24)?

From the press release (emphasis added): Moving to cut energy use in new homes by more than 50 percent, the California Energy Commission [CEC] today adopted building standards that require solar ...
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5 votes
3 answers
105 views

Alternative to sealing compound

Has anyone ever used self-made, eco-friendly sealing compound for outdoors? What recipe? How long does the recipe you used last? I intend to use this sealing compound to stop wasps from getting in ...
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3 votes
6 answers
223 views

better to heat house with gas or with electricity?

Is it better to heat house with gas or electricity? We have gas insert and gas heating but am looking at other options for sustainable energy use. Thank you!
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5 votes
3 answers
350 views

Newer heat pump vs new space heaters in Seattle winter

I see similar questions to this one, but mine is slightly different, so here goes: I live in Seattle, where the winters are mild, with days in the 40s°F (4-10°C) and nights in the low 30s°F (around -...
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4 votes
2 answers
160 views

Being a sustainable Digital Nomad in a Van - First Steps

I am considering the purchase of a retrofitted Ford Transit with a Diesel motor to have a more flexible option for travel and accomodation. Since I aspire to reduce my footprint (and increase my ...
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2 votes
1 answer
940 views

How long will a 12V Koolatron compact cooler last with 12Ah battery?

I'm thinking of purchasing a Koolatron P20 compact cooler and this ExpertPower 12200 battery How long will cooler last with this battery at full charge? Is this the correct battery to use for this? ...
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8 votes
4 answers
370 views

Why should we bother to recycle household waste if it's only a small portion of all waste that is generated?

For the past two months, I have been investing some attention and effort in taking care of setting aside all my dry waste in my room's bin. I wish to separate the recyclable ones and the unrecyclable ...
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7 votes
3 answers
732 views

How can a rocket mass heater be combined with a tight modern construction?

I currently have a house under construction. The overall design is for a tight, well-insulated building with a balanced active air exchange system (an ERV: a unit with two blowers, one in and one out,...
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5 votes
1 answer
764 views

Is heating with candles economically and/or ecologically worthwhile?

Considering my home doesn't have a heating system nor chimneys, I wonder if it's worthwhile to heat using only candles. There are multiple dimensions to consider: Does it cost less than electric ...
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8 votes
1 answer
192 views

How to set up optimal Air humidity in passive house?

I have a passive house with air ventilation and heating in the floor. In the question of the temperature of the air and the floor I have found the optimum, but I'm absolute without any knowledge, how ...
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