All Questions

19
votes
1answer
2k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
187 views

How can consumers persuade manufacturers to make their products more sustainable?

How can we, as consumers, persuade manufacturers to make their products more sustainable? The only things I've come up with (and try to do myself) Buy the most sustainable version of products. The ...
62
votes
10answers
12k views

What is an energy efficient way to get fresh air indoors during winter?

Letting some fresh air inside is always a good idea, but during the winter it seems a bit wasteful to fling open the window and let the fresh air in at the expense of all that hot air going out, and ...
2
votes
1answer
72 views

When are you a locavore? [closed]

I mentioned to someone that I admired the person because they were a locavore. They responded that they weren't a locavore because not all their foods were local, just like they weren't a vegetarian ...
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Any use for Norfolk Island Pine leaves?

We have a giant (at least 30 metre high) Norfolk Island Pine in our back yard. Is there anything I could do to put the leaves to good use? They don't make good use for composting or as part of the ...
17
votes
5answers
235 views

Are economies that need growth unsustainable?

The presently dominant economic system appears to require exponential economic growth. I may be wrong, but whether or not it is is a question that is off-topic here — for the sake of this question, ...
12
votes
2answers
72 views

Maintaining or treating harvested water for animal consumption

I am currently storing rain water in a 60L blue barrel that is being used to feed chickens, ducks and rabbits. I have never run dry yet, although I have come close, but there is a steady supply. ...
4
votes
3answers
255 views

Is interest sustainable? [closed]

Organisations such as JAK and Rentevrij argue that economic interest is fundamentally unsustainable, because it requires perpetual exponential economic growth, something impossible in a finite ...
31
votes
3answers
615 views

Impact of various travelling options

Are there any objective resources to estimate the ecological impact of various travel alternatives? Sites like Bahn.de offer to calculate it, but they obviously favour trains. I've asked a question on ...
21
votes
2answers
364 views

Local greenhouse/hothouse vegetables vs. remote naturally-grown vegetables

I've often wondered what is ecologically better: A tomato from the region grown in a (heated) greenhouse/hothouse A tomato from several thousand km away grown naturally Ceteris paribus, are there ...
15
votes
1answer
542 views

How do I estimate my personal ecological footprint?

In 2000, I was introduced to the concept of the ecological footprint, and for the first time I realised how fundamentally unsustainable my lifestyle was. An environmental group had a small ...
16
votes
1answer
693 views

Infrastructure layers for a green roof?

What layers of sealing/insulation/etc are needed when putting a green roof on an existing structure? Strong preference is for materials that are easily findable/not specialized products. To clarify ...
15
votes
2answers
825 views

Which gases increase the greenhouse effect more than carbon dioxide?

Everywhere can be read that carbon dioxide increases greenhouse effect. But there are other gases having worse effect than carbon dioxide, e.g. methane. Is carbon dioxide emission the real threat, or ...
50
votes
15answers
11k views

Alternative to Toilet Paper?

Are there any sustainable alternatives for toilet paper? This could either be done by recycled paper (if such exists), but perhaps some other creative solution could be interesting.
11
votes
5answers
418 views

Yeasts - Home production for alcoholic beverages / Baking / etc

Yeasts are used to produce "alcoholic beverages" / beer / wine, to bake, yogurt/cheese, etc.... Going to a shop and buy some baker's yeast is easy but not a long term solution, at least the ones I ...
8
votes
1answer
370 views

What is in vermiliquid (worm tea)? Or perhaps more importantly, what is not in vermiliquid?

Worm farming produces vermiliquid (the liquid component) and vermicast (the solid component). A google search (with the quotes) for "What is in worm tea" or "What is in vermiliquid" returns zero ...
15
votes
3answers
3k views

What's an effective design for sending sink water to a toilet tank?

This answer to a question about a toilet/sink combo makes me wonder: What design considerations need to be taken into account if I was to modify my existing sink & toilet so that the sink waste ...
23
votes
6answers
12k views

How can I add thermal mass to a woodstove, without a lot of weight?

It's well-documented that adding thermal mass to a woodstove will improve efficiency. You can burn smaller splits of wood hotter, causing more complete combustion. The additional heat output won't ...
15
votes
2answers
12k views

Switching to Toilet/Sink Combo

As part of my ongoing downsizing, my new house's bathroom will be smaller, so I'm looking at installing a toilet/sink combo to save space, reduce construction costs by making the bathroom as small as ...
27
votes
4answers
175 views

Biodegradable cleaners to remove mold?

I've relocated to an apartment with considerable mold in a couple of closets and bathroom. Is there a way to remove this mold with a biodegradable solution?
14
votes
2answers
273 views

What are the downsides to so called greenware items?

Greenware is the brand name of a 100% corn based cups produced by Fabri-Kal. It is used to provide a plastic cup that can be composted. I'm wondering what externalities might exist for this product ...
34
votes
2answers
551 views

What’s the best strategy for turning off CFLs that will save energy but not reduce lifespan so much

With ordinary bulbs, I was used to turning the lights off even when I left the room for a few minutes (mostly because I know that I'll find other business and forget to return :-) ), but I've heard ...
16
votes
1answer
374 views

What percentage of plastic drinking bottles is recycled after use, worldwide?

I often hear that, although plastic bottles can be recycled quite efficiently, only a percentage of them gets effectively recycled. I have heard about shipments to Africa to pile them up without a ...
15
votes
3answers
211 views

How can I determine whether roof top wind turbines would be beneficial in my area?

Rooftop wind turbines seem great in principle, but in practice, especially in urban areas their usefulness and efficiency is debated, such as in this article. The most general consensus seems to be ...
9
votes
1answer
299 views

Indoor tilapia aquaponic farm in condo/apartment?

Are there problems with an aquaponic tilapia farm for a condo/apartment living space? Is this sustainable and safe? I'm thinking there might be problems with humidity/mold and possible water pump ...
70
votes
10answers
59k views

Why shouldn't meat be placed in my compost pile?

I've heard claims that it is a bad idea to place meat in your compost pile. What is the reason for this? I'd like to be able to compost all my table scraps to reduce my waste stream, however, if ...
16
votes
3answers
6k views

Would monocrystalline or polycrystalline solar panels perform best in a UK climate?

If I were to get solar panels installed on the roof of my home, in the UK, what type should I choose? There appear to be three main types, and at present the choice appears to be between the ...
28
votes
5answers
1k views

Should I use my wood fireplace?

I live in a relatively modern (built 1983) home, which has a fireplace in the living room. How should I decide if I should use the fireplace for heat, or strictly use use the natural-gas central ...
13
votes
2answers
303 views

How to keep warm with limited use of fire?

The general rule for keeping warm in wilderness in cold climate is to make fire, as big as possible. While being effective, it's not sustainable in longer perspective because it is depleting natural ...
13
votes
1answer
69 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. ...
3
votes
1answer
63 views

Can I prevent hazardous medicine leaving my body from entering the biosphere? [closed]

I read a lot about the amount of medicine found in the environment is ever increasing. This attributes to resistance to antibiotics for example. Can these chemicals be prevented from entering the ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

What is the most efficient design to use when constructing a bell siphon

I have seen many different designs for bell siphons. I was wondering if there was one specific type of bell siphon that is generally known to be the best design. ...the most kinks worked out of it.
12
votes
1answer
112 views

What produce in Central Texas works in hanging towers?

I am located near Austin. Using the hanging tower approach, what produce tends to work best in this style of aquaponics system?
12
votes
1answer
930 views

What equation should be used to determine fish load to grow bed (filtration) ratio

When building an aquaponics system in general, what is the best equation to use to determine fish loads (waste generation) to grow bed (filtration) ratios. Is it a simple calculation of pounds of ...
42
votes
6answers
820 views

Producing my own energy options in urban area with windows but no roof access?

I'm wanting to produce my own energy, but I live in a condo with no access to the roof. I'd like to produce electricity, so maybe turning that energy into electricity safely. I have windows that have ...
12
votes
3answers
3k views

How to get rid of greenfly in roses and grapes without toxic chemicals?

We lost all our roses last summer, due to greenfly. The only solution we have so far found was highly toxic. Are the more sustainable alternatives?
15
votes
2answers
385 views

Is there a formula to calculate the amount rainwater you need to collect to be fully sufficient in watering your plants?

We have a garden and have two barrels where we collect rainwater. This is usually sufficient to water our plants and vegetables. This is unless the time without rain lasts longer then 8 days. I am ...
9
votes
1answer
59 views

Are LEEDs certifications available for homes?

I've seen various levels of LEEDs certifications on public buildings but never for a private home. Are such certifications available for a home and if so, how would I go about finding a building who ...
20
votes
4answers
590 views

What is a good way to produce drinking water?

I want to make sure I have a sustainable water source for one household. If I have a source of reasonably safe water like rain water or ground water, how can I purify this water to a level that I ...
16
votes
1answer
167 views

Are there any commercially available endophytic fungi to protect fruit trees against rusts?

I've read about endophytic fungi that grows in between the cell walls of a plant's cells and offers some protection against bacterial and fungal parasites. Are there are any commercially available ...
21
votes
5answers
219 views

Does a compost pile for food scraps need some kind of starter material?

When starting a compost pile from scratch for kitchen food scraps, do I need some kind of starter material? For example, should I take any material from an established composting pile to seed it with ...
10
votes
1answer
53 views

How to pick furniture and carpeting that is safe for a home with low ventilation?

To improve energy efficiency, many homes are now made to reduce and control the amount of fresh air that is circulated from outside. However, I'm told that many cushions used in couches and materials ...
12
votes
1answer
105 views

How can an employer induce snack food companies to package in compostable materials?

My employer provides snacks to employees and generally uses compostable plates, cups, and utensils. However, a significant portion of the waste stream comes from the wrappers for things like chips ...
22
votes
1answer
1k views

How to determine whether hybrid cars are really more sustainable than traditional cars?

I purchased a Prius many years ago, but many of my friends have put forth claims that the batteries are very toxic and thus I may in fact be creating more harm than good in using a hybrid and that ...
11
votes
1answer
148 views

How can I remove PCBs from my soil?

I live in a neighborhood where there is a very real chance my soil will be contaminated by PCBs. I may need to potentially be able to clean them up, with out breaking the bank. Are there any ...
22
votes
5answers
193 views

What non-toxic products can I use to keep my kitchen counters clean and safe?

I'm wondering what kind of products I can use that are not dangerous to keep kitchen surfaces clean and safe. Should I get different products for different types surfaces (e.g. granite top vs. ...
46
votes
6answers
1k views

Is it feasible to compost in an apartment in a city like New York?

I would like to start composting but live in New York City and have no yard area. Is it feasible to try composting on my very small outdoor porch balcony area (6 feet x 3 feet)? The porch is shaded ...
23
votes
1answer
636 views

Before drilling a well, how can I determine any water table impact?

I own a property that has no water service and thus I need to drill a well. My neighbors have expressed concern about the water table being lowered by too many people with wells in the area. Before ...
42
votes
5answers
11k views

How to preserve meat during warm months without electricity?

It's so easy to preserve food with a fridge. But if you don't have electricity, because of some big disaster or resource depletion, how would you handle preserving meat? In winter it is relatively ...
9
votes
1answer
56 views

What is the best vegetation to build a thatch for British climate?

Thatch as the roof has that advantage, that it is very light and it is done for quickly renewable resources. But what is the best vegetation to build a thatch for very rainy climate, such as those ...

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