Trying to Go green...Need input

MedicMoore

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I have been looking at various methods of going green for about 5 years now. Finally it is about time to put my thoughts into action and get to work. Problem is where to start, and with what to start.
My house is all electric. Currently I spend anywhere between 300-400$ a month for everything. I would like to cut that in half if not eliminate that eventually. Every bulb in my house in CFL right now.
The big energy hogs are my HVAC, water heater (tank). My thoughts were to go solar water and solar power, with hydroponic heating and switch out my heat exchanger in the furnace with water to air
heat exchange...But yeah so anyone got an idea on where to start?
 

tortoise

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Start by turning temps down in winter, up in summer. Use a low-flow showerhead to minimize hot water use. Wash clothes with cold water. See if there are cost-saving options through your power company. We pay 1/4 of the normal rate for use between 7 p.m and 7 a.m. on weekdays and on weekends. Our water heater doesn't run during that time. We watch the clock and avoid using electricity (especially laundry) before 7 p.m. In summer we don't turn AC on until the evening (if at all).

For investing into alternative energy, what is your budget? Are you looking at DIY solar water heater type options, or the big guns like a geothermal heat pump system?
 

MedicMoore

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Well right now I am looking into doing a grid tie system, until i can get totally off grid. As far as water, i plan on doing a a full closed loop system for heating, and hot water use using a vaccumed glass solar heater.
 

k15n1

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Hang dry your clothes if you can. Not only will it save energy, it'll prepare you for an off-grid life. Dryers consume a lot of power all at once, which is difficult to deal with when you're on battery/solar power.
 

Britesea

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It takes a while to get used to hang-dried clothes- jeans especially won't be as soft, although I find that if I 'snap' them a couple of times, it helps. I love the way solar-dried clothes smell, though
 

Denim Deb

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Love that smell as well. It's very rare for me to use the dryer now, unless we have a few days in a row that aren't good to hang them out.
 

Hinotori

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I'd love to hang clothes outside more. The drizzle we get for so many days of the year sucks. Summertime, I will even hang our bath towels out showers. They dry real fast and are great for the next day that way.
 

the_whingnut

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Make your own Soap!

Plant your own food! you can make raised beds from pallets (get the HT treated not the MT treated), old lumber and such

water collection

you may want to do more research on CFLs from what i understand they are not very green (they do save power) and are very unhealthy for you. But if you shift to solar power you can run LED or dc lights.

start out small and do a little at a time makes it easier to adjust
 

perchie.girl

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Start simply.... its important to know your location. But some of the biggest losses of eneergy are through your insulation as well as windows and seals on your doors.

You can improvise if you dont have the money to change out windows by making a frame like a picture frame and stretch plastic on it this will fit into the space infront of your windows. increasing the R value

In the summer time for windows on southfacing sides the biggest heat hole... (I live in the desert so this is my point of view ...here) You can use tinfoil put up in the windows simply by squirting plain old water on the window and squeegieing the tinfoil in place.... It will stay that way till you take it down.

For heat in the house you can build a mass heater fueled by a rocket stove. Those stoves and heat exchangers are almost 90 percent efficient. The heat exchangers themselves can be used as window seats or couch bases..... I plan on building one of those at my place one day.... Sigh one could dream.

I do not water anything around the house.... ever. Unless its to produce food. Not even ornimenals. My property is naturally xeriscaped because of its location but if I lived in the city I would be doing Xeriscaped landscaping.... They can be stunningly beautiful without having to mow a lawn.... Awesome.

deb
 

moolie

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"Green" for us is more about the little things--to use less, buy less, repair rather than replace, buy used if you do need something "new" to you, do everything as local as possible, and be connected to your local community. :)

Practice thrift. Trade, barter, give and receive--knowing your neighbors is key because these relationships can be the most valuable.

Totally agree that the cfl bulbs, while considered "energy saving" devices, are not the best for the environment--always take manufacturing and disposal into consideration when evaluating how "green" something is. How many lightbulbs need to be burning in the evening hours? Can the whole family spend time together in the same room rather than spread through a house that is lit up like a Christmas tree? We don't turn the lights on until we need to, and spend our evenings together doing homework, hobbies, playing games/cards, occasionally watching a movie on Netflix (don't have cable), just hanging out together.

Reduce plastic packaging from your life where you can--buy bulk and take your own reusable bags or containers. If you have reusable plastic containers, use them till you can't anymore, then recycle them rather than just chucking them in the bin. Move to glass, ceramic, metal containers--repurposing items you already have or purchase used rather than new. Don't buy items that come in that crazy hard-to-open hard plastic packaging.

Learn old-fashioned skills and change your hobbies/habits (like tv watching etc.)--gardening, food preservation in season, sewing, knitting/crocheting, vehicle/farm equipment repair, home repair/renovation skills, and even crafts like pottery and basket weaving.

Watch your water usage, scrape your dishes before washing (got a dog?) and evaluate whether you use less washing by hand or machine. Keep a jug of water in the fridge if you like to drink cold water, and don't buy bottled water--use a reusable container.

Pack lunches for work/school rather than buy/eat out. Turn leftovers into new dishes to avoid boredom, or plan a "meal chain"--cook a roast, then make a stroganoff or stew or lunch sandwiches etc. with the leftovers. Cook one-pot or crock-pot meals, think about how to use fewer burners for each meal and use your oven sparingly to save energy. Cook larger batches, freeze or pressure can extra food for easy meals later. We keep home pressure canned "convenience" foods like soups, stews, chili, plain beans, and meat (ground, chunks) on hand year round.

Don't use a fridge or freezer that's too big for your needs. Buy used appliances when old ones wear out (via craigslist or kijiji etc.). Great suggestions about hanging your laundry--if you have weather issues that affect your ability to hang outside, find creative ways to hang indoors (can use old fashioned pulley system to keep hanging bars up near the ceiling in warm rooms that can pull down as needed).

Evaluate your heating and cooling needs and install outdoor awnings/covered verandas on south and west facing sides that heat up too much if possible to cool your home more efficiently. Use your windows to cool your home in the cool of the night or morning, then shut everything up during the heat of the day--really saves on the A/C. Only use your A/C to cool the house prior to bedtime when needed, so you can sleep comfortably.

Just random thoughts for the moment, but there are so many ways to save money/energy :)
 
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