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16
votes
3answers
293 views

Filtering indoor air with plants?

I have a daughter that has bad allergies. To help keep her allergies in check I use an electrical air purifier to keep the air in my house clean and filtered. I heard that houseplants could in ...
16
votes
2answers
432 views

Is buying online more sustainable than in local shop next door?

I was planning to buy a toy. I can buy it online and in local shop next door. Price is (including shipping in case of online shop) more or less the same. Is one more sustainable than the other?
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Shall I boil water with a water boiler (cooker) or with a pot?

I know that when making tea it uses less energy when heating the water when using a water boiler(cooker), than when using an electrical plate. A water boiler is directly heating the water, while a ...
16
votes
4answers
982 views

What to do with expired food?

When I last visited my grandmother I found a couple of expired cans of peaches. Given that they should have been consumed three years ago I don't think it's safe to eat them. I was thinking about ...
16
votes
6answers
71k views

Are there any bright candelabra base LED bulbs equivalent to a 60-75 Watt incandescent?

My fan takes 3 candelabra (E12) base bulbs; I traditionally use incandescent flame tips, but since they're behind frosted glass, I don't really care. Having just replaced my dimm-able recessed ...
16
votes
5answers
22k views

Is it practical to use an infrared space heater along with a heat pump system?

We live in a house that has a heat pump system, for AC and heat, with a second-stage heating coil for aux/emergency heat. It frequently gets down to below 30 degrees in our climate, at which point ...
16
votes
1answer
188 views

How can I save seeds from a tomato for replanting?

I am a first time seeder and I am trying to save the seeds from the fruits and vegetables I consume so I can plant them later. I understand how to properly save most seeds like. However, I am unsure ...
16
votes
3answers
7k 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 ...
16
votes
1answer
264 views

If I can create enough electricty from solar should I store and use it rather than feed back to the grid?

When we installed our solar PV system in 2010 there were several reasons it wasn't feasible at that time to store and use the power we were generating instead of feeding into the grid. The main ...
16
votes
1answer
280 views

Reusable vs. disposable diapers: which is better?

My wife and I have been using reusable diapers for our two kids. We've made them from old curtains, old bedsheets, etc., pretty much all "recycled" materials. They've been working perfectly fine, but ...
16
votes
1answer
796 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 ...
16
votes
2answers
313 views

What's the carbon footprint of stackoverflow?

Inspired from What’s the carbon footprint of an email? and other recent questions that made me reconsider the "immaterial" internet usage. I am curious about updated statistics about the carbon ...
16
votes
3answers
2k views

Will supermarket-bought shiitake mushrooms be suitable to provide spores for growing some myself?

This is partially a follow up to my earlier question: Sustainably grown white button mushrooms at home; what sort of material to use? It appears that manure might be the best medium for growing ...
16
votes
1answer
233 views

What factors should I consider when deciding if cob construction is appropriate?

So I've read quite a bit about cob construction and even after this kind of research, I don't feel equipped to answer this question. What climates or locations make cob a good or bad idea? One ...
16
votes
1answer
275 views

How do I recycle batteries in Argentina?

I have dead batteries and I want to know the best way to dispose of them, ideally by recycling. Here in Argentina there is almost nowhere to take them. We just put them in the garbage.
15
votes
8answers
511 views

What Permaculture solutions are there for slugs?

My plants are under attack by slugs. I've heard a number of solutions for slugs over the years. There's the old beer trap, where you fill a bowl full of beer and leave it out. This works, but it's ...
15
votes
4answers
13k views

What kind of nuts are eco-friendly?

I'm vegetarian but I need a high-protein diet. I was eating a lot of beans but they're not so great for my digestion. My belly really prefers nuts instead. I know a lot of veggies eat cashews, but ...
15
votes
4answers
917 views

Most environmentally friendly mode of transport

You often hear "Walk, it's better for the environment", but is that actually true? If I walk 5 miles instead of taking say a public bus, given that I now will need to replace the energy I spent ...
15
votes
4answers
748 views

What has a lesser carbon footprint? Continue to drive my current car until it is no longer useful or to buy a new car?

I have 2003 Honda Accord. It gets ~20 MPG CITY (8.5 km/liter). I'm trying to figure out if it is more sustainable in the long run to: continue to drive the Accord until it dies (it's still in great ...
15
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

Should I reuse or recycle Ziploc bags?

I'm wondering whether I should wash and reuse my Ziploc bags or if it makes more ecological sense to bring them to a grocery store plastic recycling collection bin. Ideally at home we wash the bags ...
15
votes
6answers
902 views

What life-style decision can I make to reduce my carbon footprint most efficiently?

I'm interested in the sustainability, especially the carbon footprint, of life-style decisions regarding: transportation (i.e. get an electric car, use bike and public transport) dietary: going ...
15
votes
4answers
12k views

How to properly dispose of bubble wrap envelopes?

In those envelopes paper is often glued pretty well to bubble wrap portion, making it hard to separate. On top of that bubble wrap itself is seldom recycled - for example in my area of Ontario, Canada ...
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 ...
15
votes
3answers
829 views

How can I manage a ton-per-month worm composting?

I already have a composting bin in my kitchen, and I'd like to upscale it to my whole building, which has 32 apartments. This is about a hundred people. I've explained why and how to my neighbors and ...
15
votes
3answers
11k views

How to build a waterfall powered electric generator?

Want to build one of those old-style water wheels powered by a waterfall. Is there a more efficient way than the ones that were around since the start of the industrial revolution?
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
3answers
325 views

What's a good green ground cover that uses less water than a lawn?

So I want to put in several raised beds in my garden, surrounded by a green ground cover that will stand up to my 3 dogs. Something that is both tougher and uses less water than grass (I live in a ...
15
votes
2answers
532 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
4k 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 ...
15
votes
3answers
430 views

Should I dry my hands with paper towels or a dryer?

In our office toilets, we have paper towels and a hand dryer. Is it better for the environment to use the towels or the dryer to dry hands?
15
votes
2answers
456 views

How can I detect leachate from a compost pile?

It's possible that a compost pile will leach in to the ground, possibly contaminating groundwater and nearby wells. If you're composting human or animal manure, the risk is greater, as is the concern ...
15
votes
3answers
221 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 ...
15
votes
5answers
6k views

Can you recycle single serve coffee pods like K-Cups?

Are they recyclable at all? can you pull them apart and recycle parts of them? Are there recyclable alternatives? Many offices including mine are using these to brew coffee in the USA. I personally ...
15
votes
2answers
671 views

Ants and Compost

My community compost pile is now home to a very active ant's nest. As soon as any food goes on the pile, the ants are swarming over it. Is it anything to worry about, or are the ants a healthy ...
15
votes
2answers
2k views

Is it possible to reuse grey water in an apartment?

Is it possible to reuse greywater in an apartment, in which you can't modify the plumbing? Seems like it would be better to water plants with greywater than using fresh water.
15
votes
1answer
262 views

What is BioChar and can I use it to improve my garden?

A 2010 NYT article using BioChar to sequester carbon and improve soil quality. What is BioChar? Is it possible to use it in a small scale to improve my garden? How do I figure out the best amount to ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Sustainability of steel versus plastic bottles

In the article Think big, start small, it's claimed that steel bottles are more sustainable than plastic ones: If you can drink the water, travel with a refillable water bottle, preferably made ...
15
votes
2answers
11k views

Is it normal to have maggots in my compost?

I noticed maggots in my compost scraps recently (not yet mixed in the tumbler). Is this all right? Should I do something to prevent this in the future? If so, what?
15
votes
4answers
224 views

How can I decarbonise my domestic heating, given severe physical constraints?

tl;dr : For the millions of dwellings that have significant physical constraints imposed by the physical fabric of the building, its configuration and location, that rule out heat pumps, biomass and ...
15
votes
2answers
816 views

Is there a deodorant with minimal packaging waste?

I have been trying to look around me to find ways to minimize non-organic wastage...and one of the everyday things is Deodorant. I read somewhere that solid deodorants are way much greener than spray ...
15
votes
2answers
405 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
36k views

How much power does a computer monitor left switched on use?

It's a little niggling annoyance that always gets me in my office that when I work overtime and leave the office after everyone else I see row upon row of little orange lights where people have turned ...
15
votes
1answer
702 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 ...
15
votes
2answers
301 views

Is drip irrigation more water-efficient than conventional watering?

I have set-up a rooftop garden at home. I am too lazy to water it every day so I am planning to set up a drip irrigation system. But the question remains: is drip irrigation more water-efficient than ...
15
votes
2answers
75 views

Is there a recipe for sustainable dishwasher soap that brings out the shine?

We currently use a recipe that involves lemon and salt (the particulars of which are known only to my wife) and though it works and cleans the plates we don't get that beautiful shine that you get ...
15
votes
2answers
318 views

Should I replace existing inefficient light bulbs?

Similar to this question (except that's about cars), if I can buy more efficient light bulbs than the ones I'm using right now, should I? Or is it better to wait until my current light bulbs expire, ...
15
votes
3answers
4k views

What's the average efficiency of pumped hydroelectric energy storage facilities?

Pumped hydroelectric storage has, to date, been the most scalable way to store electricity (in this case, in the form of gravitational potential energy), allowing us to spread the time between when ...
15
votes
1answer
485 views

How can I use my balcony compost during winter?

My balcony compost tends to freeze and stop working during winter time because I live in Quebec and we get an average of -13°C. Is there anything I can do to prolong my composting season?
15
votes
5answers
199 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 ...

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