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 ...


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

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

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

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 | ...


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 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

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 ...


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

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

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

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 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 ...


2

As a longer term sustainable option, but one that would require time and effort to become established is to put large heavy, sturdy pots/tubs at close intervals along the frame along the side of the terrace. Fill the tubs with soil an plant vines, possibly grapes. The filled tubs need to be heavy to remain in place during extremely bad weather. Also, the ...


1

I was present as my house was built; we burned about 80 % of the scrape . Actually as the owner, I had to keep the framers from burning good new wood for heat. After it was built ,a grader moved soil around ,I don't know where the nails went. I think burning is the best choice for a larger quantity of wood. Although I put a few pieces of wet, rotten wood ( ...


1

Maybe you could use natural building materials? Do you have access to lots of clay and straw/other fibres? If so, then maybe cob would be an option? Look around, see what sort of natural materials are in your environment, and add them to your question. Might spark a few ideas. Also describe your rainfall situation (especially whether you have to deal with ...


1

This is not an answer, but rather my attempt at a road map of what you need to know to answer your question. Much depends on externalities. Wood is an awfully cheap resource. You plant trees, and mostly ignore the land for 20 to 80 years depending on what you want. (Not quite true: It is usually worth your while to thin about 1/4 of the way through. ...


1

Well, steel that is recycled in arc-furnaces produces less air-pollution than iron-ore processed in blast-furnaces. One way to increase the recycling of steel would be to use stainless-steel which would be more valuable in recycling. Now 304L and 316L are available in standard structural shapes and are designed for simple arc-welding. Then 304L and 316L ...


1

A good sustainable substitute for wood is Clay and Stone as they are renewable and stronger than wood. Although it is costy, it is worth it


1

Copper for such a use could potentially be a health risk to those succeptable to things like hepatolenticular degeneration. This depends on how much copper is already present in the soil, what type of well is being used, whether the water is being treated before consumption, and many other factors. Sustainable though? Might depend on what the chemical makeup ...


Only top voted, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible