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6
votes
3answers
210 views

How to consume all my photovoltaic electricity locally?

In a location where feed-in to the grid is not rewarded, it makes sense to somehow consume all the "oversupply" electricity from photovoltaics by yourself. How can I implement this in an automated ...
5
votes
1answer
164 views

I throw compostable food into trash — how much harm do I cause?

I live in a city that doesn't have composting facilities that ordinary citizens like myself could easily use. Although I recycle most of the plastic, metal, glass and paper I lay my hands on, getting ...
5
votes
6answers
170 views

Best Uses for Scrap Aluminum

Much to my dismay, my apartment building recently canceled their recycling program. My household generates a fair amount of waste aluminum cans that we were previously sending to the local recycling ...
5
votes
2answers
703 views

What is investment/outcome ratio for wind energy in terms of energy (EROEI)?

Merchants say that I can have 1 watt of energy per every $1.5 invested. Yet, I have heard from people "from the business" that the installation alone (forget mining the ores and smelting the parts) ...
1
vote
1answer
120 views

What do the different rules for photovoltaics feed-in mean?

When researching about photovoltaics feed-in to grid options in my area, I came across various terms: net metering, feed-in limit, zero export / zero feed-in, solar smoothing. Can somebody explain ...
1
vote
2answers
88 views

Paper packaging once a day or plastic every second day?

I buy a lot of cottage cheese. There are two kinds of packagings available: paper wrappings, which I buy one piece a day plastic bag, of which one pack is enough for two days Assuming that I can't ...
23
votes
5answers
1k views

What can I do as a developer for the environment?

After different years of contributions on FOSS software I would like to contribute in some way to the sustainable living, doing something for Earth and in some way for the mankind. Are there projects ...
45
votes
5answers
12k 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 ...
25
votes
5answers
4k views

Does a dishwasher save water in the long term?

I've been considering a dishwasher, but there are a range of different opinions on if they save water (or even energy) or not. Do we have any sources one way or the other?
19
votes
2answers
4k views

Meat or fish, which requires more energy to produce?

In general it is assumed that the energy that is required to produce a certain type of food is a good surrogate for the total environmental burden of food products. I scanned some studies to compare ...
26
votes
19answers
80k views

Prevent concrete roof from absorbing too much heat during summer

I live in India where most of the building roofs are made of concrete. In summer during night, the roof emits too much of heat that were absorbed during day time. I was aware of the options like ...
11
votes
2answers
16k views

What's needed to set up a personal solar power system?

I'd like to set up a solar power system to power a small house, say 20 kWh per day, 600 kWh per month. What equipment do I need to make it happen? Production and storage are both important. I'm ...
40
votes
6answers
25k views

Is it better to recycle or compost brown paper bags?

When you go to the grocery store, you may get brown paper bags. These can be readily recycled, however, they could also be composted. I would think that recycling requires energy, whereas composting ...
20
votes
7answers
4k views

How to avoid buying planned-obsolescence products?

Is it possible to recognize products that have been designed and manufactured with built-in or programmed obsolescence in mind, before I buy them? Are there guidelines how to recognize such products? ...
18
votes
4answers
34k views

How to recognize products with neonicotinoid pesticides in them?

Recently, the EU has temporarily banned neonicotinoid pesticides because there are strong indications that these pesticides are responsible for the decline in bee populations. I've heard that this ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

How do white roofs cause global warming?

Another user asked the question, and I think the question is important enough to deserve it's own post. I've heard that white roofs drive away clouds and cause global warming. How can this be?
13
votes
3answers
13k views

What is the relationship between recycling and sustainability?

What are the sound reasons (let's put aside the unsound reasons) why increasing recycling is taken to improve sustainability (or equivalently to reduce unsustainability)? Are there real-world ...
12
votes
1answer
7k views

What are the cheapest and easiest methods to convert grey water to potable water?

What are the cheapest and easiest methods for converting grey water (of the usual sources: kitchen sink, shower, laundry, etc) to potable water that is safe to drink?
27
votes
5answers
464 views

Is it sustainable or necessary to use potable water to wash waste before recycling?

I live in a major metropolitan area in the United States, and we have a municipal recycling pick-up program. They advise us to wash food containers prior to putting them in our bins, and if an item ...
22
votes
4answers
26k views

Dimensions for greenhouse to feed a family of 4?

I think a sustainable choice would be to start producing my own food in my backyard. To achieve year round production, I'll need a greenhouse. We enjoy lots of vegetables and salads on a daily basis, ...
22
votes
5answers
18k views

How should I collect and convert rain water into drinking water?

I would like to convert my current rain gutter system into a collection and recycling process. Currently the water is just runoff and ends up in the storm sewer creating more work for my cities aging ...
19
votes
6answers
8k views

Pros and cons of bamboo clothing compared to cotton?

I've read that clothes made from bamboo fibers require about 1/3 the amount of water compared to cotton. Also bamboo grows much faster than cotton and it requires little or no herbicides or fertilizer....
12
votes
3answers
18k views

What are the key principles for designing a rocket stove?

I have some spare bricks lying around that I'm interested in using to build a rocket stove for cooking. What are the key principles I need to understand to build a rocket stove? Is there a maximum ...
41
votes
5answers
3k views

Are pizza cardboards stained with oil still recyclable?

I was told some months ago that paper and cardboard recycling processes need clean raw material. In particular, paper stained with oil may be inappropriate to recycle, and should rather be thrown away....
23
votes
10answers
819 views

How can I manage my fridge's contents better?

Sadly, about 30-50% of the Western world's food is thrown away. Personally, I waste about half of my food, due to poor fridge management. I forget what I have bought and find expired food located in ...
22
votes
2answers
396 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 ...
18
votes
5answers
2k views

Large-scale reuse of glass bottles

Reading some comments on the question comparing various materials from which bottles are made, the thought arose: indeed, what prevents large scale collection and reuse of glass tare? When I was ...
14
votes
6answers
4k views

What is the relationship between energy efficiency and sustainability?

What are the sound reasons (let's put aside the unsound reasons) why increasing energy efficiency takes us further down the road to sustainability? Are there real-world circumstances whereby ...
13
votes
2answers
784 views

Which consumes more carbon dioxide: a fully grown forest or a newly planted one that is growing?

I was talking to some friends and one of them claims that it is more efficient to combat global warming by cutting the trees and replanting them because a growing forest consumes more CO2. (Firstly, a ...
9
votes
5answers
2k views

Can real straw be used as a natural drinking straw?

I'm wondering if grass (or something else) straw was ever used for making drinking straws before plastic ones were made. My daughter loves having a straw in her drink but it irks me to have to throw ...
8
votes
2answers
126 views

How to improve energy efficiency of composting toilet?

I've been looking at a commercial composting toilet for a mobile, off-grid application ("boondocking rv"). I've done a power budget and the toilet is coming out as the biggest user of energy. Power is ...
8
votes
4answers
3k views

Environmental impact of toner versus ink cartridges?

I'm trying to decide what type of printer to buy. I've read a number of posts on the web where people claim that laser printers are more durable than ink-jet printers. Some people say this is because ...
7
votes
3answers
14k views

How can I monitor a PV system's performance?

What are things I should monitor to track a photovoltaic system's performance? I'm not looking for a recommendation for a particular piece of kit, because such a recommendation could quickly go out ...
7
votes
5answers
6k views

How to keep a small room cool using wet curtains?

I hypothesize that keeping curtains wet continuously will help in cooling a room through rapid evaporation with an indoor ceiling fan set at full speed. So how to accomplish this, and will it really ...
22
votes
4answers
150k views

Leaving the oven door open for heat - bad idea?

I've heard before that it's a bad idea to use an oven to heat your house, because it's inefficient and carries the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. But what about leaving the oven door open after I'...
21
votes
4answers
5k 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 "...
19
votes
5answers
233 views

What's the most sustainable way of hosting a domain?

After reading about the environmental impact of server farms I wonder what are the alternatives for someone who needs to host a website. Is there a sustainable choice when it comes to hosting a ...
17
votes
4answers
2k views

What area is needed to grow enough food to sustain a person for a year?

I was wondering, what area space (m²) do I need to plant rice/bean in order to sustain one person for a year?
15
votes
3answers
10k views

How much power can a bicycle generator produce?

I was interested in generating electricity using dynamo-electric generators when all external power sources are dysfunctional (power line fault, no wind, not enough sunlight, etc). Different bicycle ...
15
votes
2answers
14k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
1k views

Which is more sustainable: Almond, Soy, Coconut, Cashew or Other Milk?

As my question indicates, what is the most viable dairy alternative from a sustainability perspective (ignoring the importance of nutritional value)? From a life-cycle analysis are some options more ...
13
votes
3answers
968 views

How to aerate compost without turning?

Are there any sound methods that will allow my compost heap to stay aerated without me having to turn it? I realize that if left alone, it will still compost, but I would still like to speed up the ...
13
votes
2answers
1k views

Sustainability of LED production?

Not all LEDs are the same. Standard LEDs use various combinations of indium, gallium, arsenic, silicon, phosphorus, zinc, selenium, and a couple other elements. Most of these need to be mined from the ...
12
votes
7answers
12k 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. ...
12
votes
4answers
155 views

Cleaner alternatives to gear and chain oils

I use generic gear oil to lubricate my motorcycle’s chain. I have a modern fuel-injected machine, so the chain is the only source of storm-water pollution I can think of. I try to use as little oil as ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How much energy does it take to create a single light bulb?

This question is a part of this question. Perhaps it is better suited on the physics SE, but here goes. I would like to know how much energy it takes, in the modern world, to construct an ordinary, ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

Should I worry about the minimum mark on our kettle?

Our electric kettle for boiling water for tea or coffee has what looks like a minimum mark at 0.8 litres (though on closer inspection it says “mini” rather than “min”!). I try to save energy by ...
11
votes
4answers
362 views

How much wood can I burn sustainably, carbon neutral and in an ecologically responsible way from a forest?

While wood can - in theory - be a carbon neutral fuel, in practice burning wood creates a huge carbon debt and it may take a long time for all the carbon released by logging, soil degradation and so ...
11
votes
7answers
950 views

What are ethical ways to curb the global human population increase?

The growing global human population is and will be a massive challenge, in particular because of the strain it puts on natural ressources, which might in turn increase tensions between groups and ...
11
votes
3answers
1k views

Use waste heat of electrical appliances in place of traditional heating?

Does it make sense to keep electrical appliances turned on, or at least not turned off, during the winter as a partial replacement for traditional heating? I'm thinking in particular of computers, ...

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