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31 votes
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Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

It could be that the system will spend such little time providing above 5 kW, once shading and losses are taken into account, that it's not worth the cost of getting the next-largest inverter. ...
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20 votes

Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

Standard Test Conditions vs Real life Photovoltaic panels are rated at "Standard Test Conditions" (STC): Irradiance = 1000 W/m² Cell temperature = 25°C Air Mass = 1.5 Those conditions are achieved ...
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19 votes

What alternatives to batteries exist to store solar energy at home?

Thermal storage Surprisingly to many, conversion of electrical energy from PV (photovoltaic) panels to heat energy and storage in hot water is a potentially excellent use of the energy - provided that ...
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15 votes

Prevent concrete roof from absorbing too much heat during summer

Try the simple answer before looking for more complicated solutions. Apply a white coating. They should be much more durable than a simple white paint, and a good quality coating will return nearly ...
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14 votes

Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

Solar systems are rated at peak power. It's normal for inverters to be rated less since you will very rarely have ideal conditions to reach peak power. For example, my inverter is rated at 80% of peak ...
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13 votes
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What countries favour people who want to live a sustainable lifestyle?

If you're currently in Western Europe, then Eastern European countries may be very interesting for you to look at, because compared to Western Europe: The cost of living tends to be lower, so you ...
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  • 256
12 votes

Does orange essential oil create formaldehyde when exposed to ozone?

Yes, limonene is a terpene and terpenes react with ozone to form formaldehyde and other micro-particle pollutants. Limonene itself isn’t toxic and hasn’t been found to be harmful, but some people are ...
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12 votes

Prevent concrete roof from absorbing too much heat during summer

Throw a bunch of large potted plants up there - maybe even something edible. They'll shade the roof and help feed you.
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12 votes

Prevent concrete roof from absorbing too much heat during summer

@techjerk I too live in India and have the same problem. I don't want to use aircon because it consumes too much energy by local standards. I have so far considered the following: Painting the ...
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12 votes
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Mismatched socks? What to do with hundreds of them?

Just about anything you would normally do with rags, but these ones are already in tube and bag form: Use for washing, polishing and cleaning - just put your hand inside Use to keep stuff in - small ...
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11 votes
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Alternatives to garbage plastic bags

Ironically, the better you are at reducing your waste, the less likely you are to succeed at replacing plastic bags for the irreducible portion. My mother throws out actual garbage twice a year - one ...
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11 votes
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What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

I live off-grid, so I did a lot of study on this topic. All used coffee grounds make good fertilizer. Drip machines seem to use a lot of energy, and they seem to use it for a lot of time. They also ...
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10 votes

Domestic flywheel energy storage: how close are we?

Lets check the pros and cons on flywheel energy storage and whether those apply to domestic use (source): Compared with other ways to store electricity, FES systems have long lifetimes (lasting ...
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9 votes
Accepted

Is an electric shaver more sustainable than water-based shaving ? And how to determine so for one's context?

Your most sustainable choice is an old straight razor, but there's a reason the replacement is called a "safety razor"... you're much less likely to kill yourself with a safety razor. But these last a ...
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9 votes

What are effective ways to make a home significantly more sustainable when renting?

Thermal lined curtains would make a big difference especially if the windows are single glazed. Draught proofing using self-adhesive strip is both subtle and removable. Topping up loft insulation, as ...
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  • 2,037
9 votes

How do I set myself up to not have to mow the lawn?

Planting a large garden and covering other areas with gravel and/or stepping stones is one approach. Maybe look into rain gardens; water retention is a key concern here and why you want something ...
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  • 308
9 votes

How do I set myself up to not have to mow the lawn?

Building on the garden answer : Turn your lawn into a native plant garden. Six or Seven years ago I turned the front lawn of my house (roughly 30' x 50') into a (mostly) native plant garden. The ...
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9 votes

What's the best way of getting an eco-friendly off-grid house?

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 ...
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9 votes
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How much could the US reduce its electricity demand if people moved from Texas back to Ohio?

Original answer (which had a long explanation): I proposed using degree days information to determine a baseload value for consumption of electricity and natural gas by region, and assume anything ...
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9 votes

Domestic flywheel energy storage: how close are we?

Domestic flywheels are unlikely to happen for 3 reasons: They must be heavy to store significant energy. If you need a crane to install one at your house it’s never going to be super cheap, even with ...
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  • 91
9 votes

Is heating with candles economically and/or ecologically worthwhile?

A related question was asked on SE Skeptics - Is this tealight-flowerpot heater more efficient than just tealights? In the third answer, it is claimed the heat produced by one tea light candle is 0....
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9 votes

Why am I offered a 5 kW inverter with a 6.6 kW solar installation?

There already are some answers addressing the fact that you probably will not reach or will rarely reach the rated power of your panels. That explains why you don't need a higher rated inverter. Now, ...
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  • 191
8 votes

What alternatives to batteries exist to store solar energy at home?

Ok, let's break this down. I will assume photovoltaic solar panels (as the question implies alternatives to batteries) and therefore skip all kinds of solar thermal collectors. Starting from electric ...
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  • 476
8 votes

Do USB outlets waste energy just like conventional wall warts?

Electronically they're the same and will waste as much energy as a conventional adaptor. Depending on your electrical regulations they may be forced to be at the good end of adaptor efficiency, or ...
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  • 2,037
8 votes

How to reduce humidity in the home?

The outside relative humidity may be almost as high but the absolute amount of water held in the air is lower. So removing the most humid air is effective. That's the principle behind shower extractor ...
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  • 2,037
8 votes

What's the best way of getting an eco-friendly off-grid house?

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 ...
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7 votes
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Investing in Solar Panels in the UK

The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is an organisation that has no vested interest in selling you things (although their mission is certainly to encourage takeup of renewables). They have a lot of good ...
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7 votes

Investing in Solar Panels in the UK

I was quite surprised by the number of upvotes the question got, and as I've now gone ahead and had the panels installed, I'll add a few more details of what I did, in case it is of use to anyone ...
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7 votes

What is the most sustainable way of making coffee?

Your grinder may be less efficient than a commercial unit, and shipping beans rather than ground coffee may affect the bulk for shipping. If you use extra (hot) water in washing a permanent filter you ...
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  • 2,037
7 votes

How do I set myself up to not have to mow the lawn?

Some of the alternative lawn plants don't need mowing. We looked into chamomile but decided it was too expensive or initially labour intensive. You probably don't need to cut it as often as you ...
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