14

Generally speaking, any water consumption will lower the water table. But if the aquifer is being steadily replenished and less water is drained from the area, then the only concern is the current depth of existing wells. Some might need to be drilled deeper, if the water level drops. Then the total water table lowering might be bigger than expected. There ...


12

There is a conflict of interest between gardening requirements and stormwater requirements: Stormwater barrels should be kept empty, garden barrels should be kept full. Though a rain barrel or tank could make a useful water retention device, it loses its value as a stormwater load-reduction mechanism when you retain the water for gardening or other ...


10

Short Answer First of all, let me say that I love rain barrels, and have them installed at both homes I've owned (both older homes that are already fully landscaped). I think rain barrels are great water saving devices, and can provide some buffer against run-off. They're also cheap and easy to install, and can often repurpose existing containers. ...


7

At present the plastic waste stream can be diverted into multi-color goo mixed with wood chips and be extruded into synthetic fence posts. Ugly as sin, but better than nothing, and I think that for sheet goods (bags) this is pretty good. Your idea would work well for styrofoam. You would work it like this: Styrofoam is separated from the waste stream by ...


6

Your question is a little ambiguous- do you want a prefab home you can plop in a hole, or an open source DIY plan? There are some in progress in open source architecture, such as wikihouse: http://www.wikihouse.cc/about But it is early stages and not often focused sustainability. I think this DIY example (blueprints included) might interest you: http://...


6

It's definitely possible to recycle plastic and create LEGO-like building blocks. In fact several houses have already been built this way! In 2010 a Colombian architect called Oscar Mendez had the same idea as you. He started an initiative called Conceptos Plasticos (website in Spanish) with the goal to reduce both waste and extreme poverty by providing ...


5

This article describes the difference: EPS is formed as beads (as used in cushions) then heated and pressed together XPS is formed as a sheet or whatever final shape is desired. So EPS will break up more easily and be less waterproof, which makes it likely to degrade faster and be less effective as insulation. XPS will be stronger and better insulating. ...


5

Sustainability is a complex thing, not least because there are a lot of different meanings attached to it. This question goes into that a little more. So unless you define what you mean by "sustainable" people won't know. Is it just greenwash "sustainable coal power" or is it 100% recycleable, or what? The EarthBag website talks about about LEEDs ...


5

We live in a household of 5, and have 2 composting toilets. Whatever solution you choose, the biggest hurdle we have found is the cost of heating the waste to increase the evaporation rate. As we live off grid, having heaters and fans running 24/7 does consume a fair amount of the power produced by our PV system. The waste pile must be aerated every couple ...


4

In terms of sustainability concrete, glass, and polystyrene are not the way to go. The first two have very high embodied energy, the last is made from natural gas. In terms of DIY, look at Strawbale, COB, leichtlehm, earthships. Couple this with lime/earth based plasters. You lose on modularity. You gain on sustainability.


3

I suppose as with most things it depends (climate, precipitation, erosion factors, season, etc.) But I can't imagine a scenario in which I would rather have rain-barrels instead of say a rain-garden with water absorbing swails on contour. Or better yet a "Natural Swimming Pool" or "Plunge Pool"! On the advantages of a rain garden over rain barrels: ...


3

The problem is not the pipeline itself. Large pipelines are standard engineering. The disruption is fairly short term. The problem is that it would make a ready market for Canadian Oilsand oil to get to the gulf coast refineries. This drops the price of oil on a long range basis. (The Athabasca tar sands have more oil in them than ALL of the known ...


3

You could put in an additive (like cooked flour paste) or use a finish layer to protect and keep the dust down. The Wikipedia article has lots more info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earthen_plaster I remember another source of info but can not find it. I will update this answer if I can find it.


3

They've included the best mixture in their earth brick press wiki: Bricks are made of 20%-30% clay, the rest being sand and silt. A combination of mechanical and electrostatic forces is responsible for the high strength of compressed earth blocks. For stabilized bricks, chemical binding forces of the binder - such as cement - are responsible for the ...


3

I guess the fist thought I had was substituting "sod construction" for earthbag construction. With sod construction the earth is held together by the internal structure of the roots of the sod rather than external forces of bags. It has a long and proven history (the Vikings in Greenland and some other places used it for hundreds of years, with only a few ...


3

According to wikipedia organic materials like jute or hemp are used as alternatives to solid-weave polypropylene in earthbag construction. However, the sustainable idea somehow conflicts with the purpose of earthbags. Polypropylene is chosen for its low cost and its resistance to water damage, rot, and insects. The natural alternatives are in this context ...


2

Have you ever heard of Concrete Canvas? I think this is a really good solution that ticks all of your boxes: Can be added to (although maybe this is the weakest point) probably it's easier to make additional structures in a group than add to an existing structure, although when you set it up you could make holes in the cloth that would be "doors" to ...


2

These look suitable: http://www.wikihow.com/Build-a-Tumbling-Composter http://www.instructables.com/id/compost-bin If one is insufficient, you can always add another.


2

If you have a sufficient yard area, a composting dry-toilet can be easily built as a very simple facility. create a composting pile - you will require at least 2, and better 3 composting piles in the long run. buy 2-3 big square flower-pots, and have a toilet seat fitted on top of it. The seat can easily be removed from the flower pot for disposal to the ...


2

Although I have not made my own composting toilet, I have been interested in the idea. I've heard that waste can be collected in a bucket (typically a 5-gallon) beneath the toilet hole. Peat moss makes a great compost material- just use it as an additive to the waste. I have heard you can also use sawdust or woodchips to eliminate odors.


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

There is a man in Cameroon who has been melting plastic bags and molding them into paving stones. He has been doing this for 15 years. He adds sand to the melted plastic. See the full story at: Recycling plastic waste into paving stones in Cameroon Plastic bags in Cameroon are turned into durable and sustainable floor tiles YouTube


1

One method of making a composting toilet is to connect the outlet of a regular flush toilet to a ~1 cubic meter flowbin (just a container with an inlet at the top and outlet at the lowest point). And then you fill it a third to half way with mulching material (woodchips work well) and a kilogram of earthworms. What will happen is the solids will get trapped ...


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