LShaver
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Why is there no spring based energy storage?
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34 votes

Because springs have low energy density When storing energy, especially in a residential setting, you want to be able to store a lot of energy, or not take up too much space. To store a reasonable ...

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For electricity use, which is better: Turning all appliances on at the same time, or spread out?
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19 votes

The "surge" that the electric utility was referring to is the demand charge: The kWh charge (consumption) is the measurement of the amount of energy the building uses over the given period ...

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Is there definitive, authoritative scientific/academic consensus about the sustainability and greenness of nuclear energy?
15 votes

No, and it's unlikely there ever will be -- because the risk is just too high and hard to quantify. In the U.S. in the 1950s, the government wanted to encourage the development of a civilian nuclear ...

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Which consumes more carbon dioxide: a fully grown forest or a newly planted one that is growing?
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13 votes

A forest of old trees sequesters more carbon per year than a forest with the same quantity of young trees. When I first saw this question I thought I knew the answer -- trees grow faster when they're ...

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Is electricity used at night more likely to be renewable?
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9 votes

In Ireland, electricity is equally likely to be from renewable sources during the day as during the night ENTSO-E, the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Electricity, provides a ...

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

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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Are kill switches used for planned obsolescence?
9 votes

Yes - but not in the way you describe. First of all, planned obsolescence refers broadly to intentionally designing a product so that it will have an artificially short life-span, which can include ...

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Does transporting plastic offset the benefits of recycling it?
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8 votes

tl;dr: No, shipping plastic waste to China for recycling does not offset the benefits, as it reduces the net energy savings by 3% or less. Polyethylene, The most common plastic According to ...

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Pure Plastic vs Biodegradable Plastic
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8 votes

It doesn't appear that there are any specific studies comparing the environmental impact of dog waste disposed of in biodegradable vs non-biodegradable bags, however there's quite a bit of work that's ...

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Is being a vegetarian really environmentally friendly?
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7 votes

Gram for gram, meat products produce from twice (comparing fish to wheat) to 150 times (comparing beef to root vegetables) more greenhouse gas emissions than plant products. In 2020, Our World in Data ...

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Is there no such thing as "pant" in the USA or outside some European countries?
7 votes

A more general term for this system, with a detailed English wikipedia article, is container deposit. Such programs currently exist in 10 U.S. states (representing about 27% of the total population) ...

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How to ensure you are using efficient chargers for cell phones, laptop computers, and other electronic devices?
7 votes

Power ratings -- choose level VI Take a look at any external power supply (EPS) you have lying around -- you should notice, along with all the regulatory markings, a roman numeral I through VI in a ...

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Is working from home a more sustainable choice?
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7 votes

Here's a piece of the answer for the U.S. Hopefully others can provide additional details covering other countries or regions. MAJOR EDIT: Comments pointed out that something seemed fishy. I double-...

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Which materials dumped into landfills are the largest sources of methane?
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7 votes

The source of methane -- degradable organic carbon A 2006 report by the IPCC, Guidelines for National Greenhouse Gas Inventories, Volume 5 -- Waste, includes six different categories of landfilled ...

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Which car is more sustainable, an all-electric Tesla Model 3 or a gas-powered Prius?
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7 votes

Operation You can use AFLEET, the Alternative Fuel Life-Cycle Environmental and Economic Transportation tool, from Argonne National Laboratory, to quickly do this analysis. Using the US average ...

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Approximate CO2 emissions for shipping a parcel from one location to another
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7 votes

Carbon intensity by shipping method The World Shipping Council provides this chart showing approximate carbon emissions by shipping method: Shipping emissions calculators If that's too ...

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Are there solar panels that can survive extreme temperature changes?
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7 votes

Effects of extreme temps on solar panels This answer on Chemistry.SE lists the three major factors which lead to solar cell degradation: Temperature UV exposure Mechanical damage ...

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How much irradiation from the sun is required to generate solar power?
7 votes

Solar Irradiance The amount of energy striking the earth from the sun is about 1,370W/m2 (watts per square meter), as measured at the top of the atmosphere. This is the solar irradiance. The value at ...

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Any way for microinverter PV array to power a house when the grid is down?
6 votes

tl;dr: Because of how the grid and your inverters work, it's unlikely that there is a solution for your current system. You will either need to set up a communication network with your microinverters ...

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Are green roofs more sustainable than roofs with photo voltaic?
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6 votes

The two are not mutually exclusive, and in fact installing PV panels over a green roof improves PV performance anywhere from 1 to 10% due to the cooling effect of the green roof. From the presentation ...

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Why aren't all nuclear plants running at their full installed power to decrease emissions?
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6 votes

TL;dr -- it's most economical to operate nuclear plants at a fixed output level, so other fuels are used to adjust for variations in demand. Nuclear output at any given time is limited by outages, ...

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Plane and train greenhouse emissions - comparison taking infrastructure in account or not?
6 votes

Cars, buses, trains, and planes: comparison including infrastructure "Life-cycle Environmental Inventory of Passenger Transportation in the United States", a 2008 PhD dissertation, provides a ...

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Is wind power practically dead?
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6 votes

TL;DR: Wind is not dead, but a diverse set of economic, technical, and political factors have resulted in a leveling off of the rate of new construction. The cost to build new wind declined for years ...

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Is a solar cell phone charger a sustainable choice?
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6 votes

The best article I could find which addresses this question is "Life‐Cycle Assessment of Solar Charger with Integrated Organic Photovoltaics". Their conclusion: Because of the complicated ...

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How much, if any, does resolution effect the net power consumption of watching online video?
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6 votes

The Natural Resources Defense Council commissioned a study in late 2015 to understand the energy consumption from 4K TVs, titled The Big Picture: Ultra High-Definition Televisions Could Add $1 Billion ...

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Where can I recycle #81 composite materials?
6 votes

According to this list on Wikipedia, #81 is paper and plastic composite. When it comes to recycling, you have two options: Go to the website of your county or city recycling agency to see if they ...

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Does putting an automatic car in neutral when stopped help save petrol?
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6 votes

According to this answer over on mechanics.SE, below a certain engine RPM, your vehicle automatically disengages the torque converter. That is to say, when stopped, there isn't a fundamental ...

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Why is composting of food waste "better" than burning it?
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5 votes

Composting has many benefits beyond dealing with waste The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists several benefits of composting: Compost reduces and in some cases eliminates the need for ...

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Are soybeans mainly grown for animal feed or oil production?
5 votes

I found some data from the American Soybean Association on their SoyStats page to help answer this. All data is for 2019. Soybean Product Million metric tons produced USD per ton Total value Meal 44....

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How do I recycle Kidde brand smoke detectors?
5 votes

UPDATE: Kidde's website now recommends disposing of alarms locally. The date on the website, September 2019, is later than when I wrote the answer below after contacting them. While it may still be ...

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