12

Wood is close to the most eco-friendly building material around: It's renewable. It's production overall pulls carbon out of the atmosphere. Material tied up in construction is carbon that isn't in the atmosphere. A lower fraction of its cost is transport since the building grade wood is sourced locally when possible. The issues people have with the ...


9

I think you're right that building your own is likely to be necessary (we're in the same position). What I've discovered in Australia is broadly applicable in the global north, so: An earthship can't be sustainable, and is not designed to be sustainable - they are about being self-contained within a very narrow definition of the term. They rely on free ...


9

The answer you are looking for would be contained in a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). For an LCA you first want to determine the boundaries that are important to your question. Are you considering cradle to grave (disposal)? Cradle to cradle (recycling after use)? What are the boundaries for recycled source materials if used to make the light bulbs? The ...


8

Your best bet is already-made second hand furniture, both on environmental grounds and cost. I've been building my own furniture using basic DIY skills for quite a long time and it is rarely cheaper than Ikea-level new stuff. That's mostly because I can't bring myself to build with MDF or other cardboard-like materials, though. Your first choice should ...


8

I suggest that you question some of your assumptions. Difficulties of off-grid. Off-grid is HARD, and generally isn't worth it unless you are a long ways from the power lines. If you are looking at one acre, you probably aren't that far away. Let's look at what goes into off grid: Electricity Grid connected solar means you size your PV to provide about ...


7

I've worked in screen printing using water-based inks, and all we did there was a settling tank and cloth filters. By cloth, I mean we printed t shirts and used scrap t shirts to make the filters - just wrap 3-4 layers of t shirts around a screen printing screen and that's the filter (6-8 layers of cloth, one layer of ~0.5mm mesh). We had effectively a split ...


6

In theory, it would be possible to build a house out of cardboard. But cardboard is probably more useful as a source of recycled fibers than as a construction material. Building a house out of cardboard would effectively take all of that cardboard out of the recycling loop in order to displace other materials such as wood and straw that can be produced ...


6

Insulation can contribute to the sustainability of a home both by being sustainably-sourced and by reducing heating and cooling requirements. The longer the insulation lasts, the greater its contribution to your home's sustainability. It is also important to select insulation that can be installed easily, without tearing out walls and producing unnecessary ...


6

AFAIK the main purpose of stones and pebbles on roofs is: to keep the roofing material in place to protect the roofing material from UV radiation and thus prolonging its lifespan (for that the roof must be completely covered with stones and pebbles) to prevent snow from sliding off a sloped roof (but for this larger stones are often used)


5

Coconut tree and Bamboo are two alternatives of timber i can think of, if you want wood's characteristics you mentioned. strength acceptable rate of biodegradability you'll worry about how to preserve it instead safe for the environment just chop em up and burn (as fuel) However it only work if the source is near your place (plant them yourself or with ...


5

Concrete is rigid, whereas asphalt is flexible to a certain degree. If ground movement is significant concrete break into awkward slabs while asphalt can be more accommodating of ground movements. Additionally, nature can't do much with concrete. An unutilized asphalt pavement can more easily be absorbed by nature with plants breaking up the asphalt with ...


5

Peltier coolers typically use quite a lot of power, and their performance is poor when underpowered (they often don't work at all, or act as heaters). Your second link above is to a cooler that uses 13 Vdc @ 5 Amps = 65Watts. Your 4.5v 18mA cells put out 4.5 * 0.018 = 0.081 Watts each. In theory, if the panels were running at 100% of rated capacity and ...


4

If you are in a large city, drywall can be recycled into drywall. Check with your local agency. The grey stuff in drywall is mostly gypsum -- Calcium magnesium sulfate. Yes it can be used as a soil amendment if you have neutral or acidic soils. Read up before you do it. It rototils reasonably easily. Wood: See above. Carpet. Works great upside down as ...


4

Availability in the long term You didn't include in your list a mention of how available copper will be in the future; this matters, for sustainability, because we can't afford to be using it for guttering if we're about to run out of copper ore. It is a very important metal for other purposes, such as electrical components. Wikipedia has a good article on ...


4

Stuffing plastic bottles with other plastic items makes them unsuitable for recycling. In recycling processing centres, plastic items are sorted by type prior to reprocessing into raw material. By filling the bottles with many different types of plastic (PET, HDPE, PVC, LDPE, PP, etc) it makes the sorting task much more difficult/impossible/uneconomic. ...


4

You need to sort it. Dimension lumber can be burned. Can either remove ironware or leave it and separate from ash, or dispose of with ash. Treated lumber (green or brown) landfill. Note that it may not be obvious if it has been weathered. If in use it was in contact with the ground, or if it was installed for wet service (as backer for bathroom tile, say.)...


3

Strawbale has established codes in many jurisdictions. Try the SB-R-US group on Yahoo groups for details. Note: 2 story bale is much dicier for standards. Notably: California has a bale code that is accepted in active earthquake zones. CMHC in Canada will loan money on bale houses, and has model codes I've not heard of an earth shelter building that ...


3

I have been building bed frames, tables, chairs, wine racks, and many other different things out of old pallets. I look for companies that are giving them away and collect as many as I can store. I figure out what I want to build and the design I want and start taking them apart for some projects while others I'll leave whole or cut like I need. The ...


3

I believe you are wasting your money. If you already have 60 hectares, you have more land than you can develope with $15,000. Anything vertical costs more money. You need more substantial frameworks. You need ways to get materials to the upper levels. Your employees spend more time on ladders and stools. This additional spending can make sense in a ...


3

If I were to build a Rocket Stove for the long run, then I would go for a mineral. Not just a mineral, but a fire resistant composition such as Grog, also known as fire sand and chamotte1. The reason for me to choose so, stems from the experience the following two YouTube pages had. Bigelow Brook Farm The following screenshot is taken from the last post of ...


3

A paper on the St Astier website (not independent - they quarry and produce lime building products) gives the following figures in kg CO2/tonne for Natural Hydraulic Lime grade 5 vs. cement: product | CO2 emitted during manufacture | CO2 reabsorbed in setting | net ---------+---------------------------------+---------------------------+------- NHL5 | ...


2

If I remember my high school tuition correctly, you need to put 4.5 volts through the chip and measure the current. 5 volts would be better if you can get panels that provide it, as the chip will likely function more efficiently at its designed voltage. Essentially what you are measuring is the resistance of the chip. This could be done with a multimeter, ...


2

You could try to pass on whatever you don't want to other people, free-of-charge, via the Freecycle Network. The Wikipedia article provides an overview of that organization.


2

Some of the steps or inputs may be missing for light bulbs in particular, but in general the U.S. Life cycle Inventory Database (http://www.nrel.gov/lci/) has this sort of data.


2

A trick I've seen used for repairing drywall holes: Cut a piece of wood that is roughly elliptical with the narrow dimension being just under the widest dimension of the hole. Drill two holes in the center and string a loop of cord through it. Check that the wood will go through the hole. Apply a bead of constrution adhesive to the wood, then re-insert,...


2

Apparantly Icynene is more environmentally friendly than traditional spray polyurethane foam, but it is more expensive and needs to be applied by professionals. Icynene still is a polyurethane foam, but it is PBDE free and isn't as unhealthy in use and removal. More info on the different types of Icynene also here. Another alternative is soy-based spray ...


2

(Consider this answer a draft till I do aome more searching) Regarding Distillation, the most efficient sea-water distillation plants need 23-27 kWh/m³, a small scale batch system will probably be far worse. Distillation plants are also pretty expensive. You mentioned a few option that might work, that is centrifuge, sand bed or coal filter. I suggeste ...


2

You are trying to separate the paint from the water. This is difficult since the paint particles are very very small. (sub micron). You may be able to do this with ceramic filters, but I suspect that the filters will clog so fast, that instead of shipping off 2000 kg of water, you will ship off 2000 kg of filters. Why not evaporate the water? Put a batch ...


2

We had student tenants for a while. They made their furniture of stacked wine-crates and palettes (the things fork-lift trucks handle). It looked very classy and they said it was comfortable. The sofa was some garden-furniture mattresses on top of crates, and so on. For a table they lifted the kitchen door off its hinges and set it on two trestles. In fact ...


2

We would like to implement as many sustainable strategies as possible, ideally being nearly off-grid, with solar panels, rainwater storage, grey water recycling, humanure / methane tank toilets, ventilation based on good design, etc. Forget it. For example, my house (105 square meters) has perhaps 3500 kWh of electricity used and 13000 kWh of heat used per ...


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