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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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2
votes
1answer
38 views

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 ...
11
votes
7answers
4k views

What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

Which method of brewing coffee is the most sustainable? The criteria being: minimal waste, minimal energy (no matter where it's produced) I guess for the optimal solution it would be necessary to......
7
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a shaving razor that is an alternative to, say, Gillette Mach 3, and does not use plastic ?

I believe in adopting sustainable practices in our daily or recurring maintenance activities. Recently, I measured the amount of water I spend at the sink and shifted to mug-based shaving (rinsing the ...
14
votes
2answers
121 views

What is the most sustainable way to professionally clean my carpets?

I recently had my carpets professionally cleaned, and spent a little while researching the cost and effectiveness of various methods. But now I'm wondering about the environmental impact as well. ...
1
vote
2answers
45 views

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 ...
2
votes
1answer
29 views

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 ...
2
votes
2answers
103 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
580 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 (joining 1 who already lived there) and our combined bill for electricity is far higher than I expected. Now we're using just over 40 kWh per ...
9
votes
4answers
489 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 ...
7
votes
1answer
280 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 ...
0
votes
2answers
135 views

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 ...
1
vote
1answer
52 views

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 ...
6
votes
2answers
392 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
55 views

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 ...
15
votes
7answers
16k views

Domestic flywheel energy storage: how close are we?

I've done some web searches, but I don't see anything very current on how close we are to having a home energy storage flywheel system that's comparable in price and performance to a battery system. ...
15
votes
8answers
2k views

What alternatives to batteries exist to store solar energy at home?

What viable options (other than batteries) exist for a home owner to be able to store energy from solar panels for use at night or when the sun isn't shining? I realise there will be losses in the ...
2
votes
1answer
51 views

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 ...
4
votes
2answers
82 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 ...
8
votes
4answers
396 views

What's the best way of getting an eco-friendly off-grid house?

My partner and I have been considering what the different options are for buying properties in the UK. We are interested in at least 1 acre of land, plus a house of 50-70 square meters minimum. We ...
2
votes
4answers
149 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
506 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 ...
2
votes
3answers
118 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 ...
3
votes
4answers
145 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 ...
2
votes
0answers
54 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
73 views

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 (...
2
votes
1answer
44 views

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....
12
votes
3answers
2k views

What countries favour people who want to live a sustainable lifestyle?

I want to pursue an independent lifestyle growing my own food, using solar panels etc. but I live in Spain and the legislation here doesn't favour this, buying terrain in a rural area and being ...
0
votes
2answers
66 views

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 ...
3
votes
0answers
24 views

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, ...
6
votes
1answer
282 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
94 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 ...
21
votes
4answers
6k views

Do USB outlets waste energy just like conventional wall warts?

It is widely known that most AC-DC converters (aka "wall warts") continually use electricity, even when no devices are plugged in to them. That wasted energy is often called "phantom electricity" or "...
5
votes
1answer
77 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
50 views

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 ...
7
votes
4answers
504 views

How to reduce humidity in the home?

During the winter, I often get high humidity in the home. Especially with multiple people living here, and cooking, or having showers etc. This leads to condensation on the windows, and moisture on ...
28
votes
7answers
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
140 views

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 ...
4
votes
3answers
75 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 ...
1
vote
2answers
41 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 ...
21
votes
2answers
3k views

What's the typical energy usage of automatic light switches?

A good way to cope with forgetting to turn of the lights is automatic light switches. But they must be using some energy to do their job. What's the rate of energy use for a typical automatic/sensor ...
0
votes
2answers
43 views

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....
3
votes
1answer
133 views

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 ...
2
votes
0answers
35 views

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 ...
5
votes
3answers
289 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
17k views

How can I determine the U-value (or R-value) of my existing double glazing system?

Is there an easy way to determine the U-value (or R-value) of an existing fitted double glazing system? Two options spring to mind, looking up the value in some kind of database (sadly I have no idea ...
4
votes
2answers
67 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 ...
3
votes
6answers
208 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!
2
votes
3answers
216 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
333 views

How can people afford to be self-sufficient and sustainable?

One thing I constantly battle with is money and affording to be more self-sufficient. Don't get me wrong – I earn good money, I have managed finances and a few debts but this post isn't really about ...
6
votes
2answers
226 views

How much could the US reduce its electricity demand if people moved from Texas back to Ohio?

I have a theory that I am trying to develop empirical support for. I believe that the migration of people from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt has caused an increase in overall electricity usage and ...