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going green for good!

Post in 'The Green Room' started by njtomatoguy, Apr 24, 2008.

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  1. drewmo

    drewmo Feeling the Heat

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    Recycle. Set up a system in the kitchen and/or garage to make it manageable. A majority of what you toss doesn't need to be tossed for good. We have containers for clean things, such as empty cereal boxes that we keep in the kitchen near the trash. Dirty things, tuna fish cans, etc., get rinsed and are stored outside the main living area. Other containers hold glass bottles and aluminum cans.

    I'm in the process of helping my father-in-law, who owns a 32-bedroom hotel, swap every bulb out of every chandelier in every room for CFLs. Each chandlier averages 6 25-watt bulbs. The CFLs we're putting in are only 5 watts each. Multiply that difference by ~200 bulbs and we've gone from 5,000 watts to 1,000 watts. I'll have to run the math on cost savings at some point.

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  2. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Want to start a brawl just tell someone you are a vegetarian. I don't know what it is but it hits the meat eaters in some dark secret place like being a gay grunt marine or biker. It just irritates them like a tick on a dogs back. Hell, I never liked meat but I ate it until I didn't have to any more and as far as I am concerned you can keep it all. No grand proclamation or bow to be taken me and the family just don't like the stuff so why eat it. We all have perfect or nearly perfect cholesterol numbers be it resultant or coincidental. One thing for sure though you can easily live without it as there is lots to eat out there. I did hear the other day that being a vegetarian is one of the "greenest" things you can do and that one cow accounts for more carbon than a car. Of course statistics usually lie more than a US President so take it for what its worth depending on who wants to find what.
    You want to cut down on trash here is a really big way that no one seems to notice. Take a look sometime at all the plastic in your garbage. It is truly amazing and if you burn pellets or corn you will have about double what anyone else does. I use pellet bags and stuff them one at a time with all the store bags and plastic wrappings that accumulate. You will be amazed at how much plastic trash you toss out that you can take in to whatever supermarket in your area takes them. Here it is Hannaford Supermarket. I just keep stuffing till the bag is jammed full and then staple the top closed and take it in with my returnable bottles and cans. I am talking around 5 - 10 LBS of plastic a week which for something so light is amazing. Pellet or grain bags work well because they stuff well without tearing. I guess they melt the stuff down to make more store bags.
    When it comes to fertilizing the yard why bother? Hell if you fertilize it the stuff will grow faster and you have to mow it more often. My yard is literally a once upon a time in the very recent past a hay field and it gets all the nutrients it needs by mowing it with a 5' mulching mower deck. Of course its pulled by a gas burning tractor and any greenie suggesting I get a reel mower can sit on one while its spinning. My wife once suggested getting one for use when the tractor is dead. Apparently she never used one or she wouldn't have asked. You don't mow 2 acres with one of those.
    On the electricity side I never much worried about the little stuff like the cell phone charger and I am not going to dive under the bed to unplug and replug it constantly. The big energy hogs are furnaces, refrigerators and air conditioners. Knock a tad off one of those and you are getting somewhere. Put the oil burner to bed and you will see a fairly big drop as will buying a new refrigerator if yours is old. Get all CFL lights unless it is the ones on a motion sensor that comes on an off a lot. I have them everywhere for years and they even survive outdoors in -30 well though slow to light up. Sams Club even has 25 watt CFL flood lights that survive the winter and work pretty well. Here is one you won't think of the humble coffee pot. When yours dies get one that doesn't have a heating element in the base to keep the coffee hot. It ruins the coffee in short order anyways and the last time I checked burns a hell of a lot of electricity to do it, something on the order of 1200 watts and who but me thinks to turn the thing off. The coffee lasts for many hours cold and all you need to do is nuke it in the microwave. Some of the new ones just run until the coffee is through. For Summer or Winter we make maximum use of shades and drapes to keep the heat in and the sun out. A ceiling fan in the bedroom takes the place of the window air conditioner much of the time except during the stickiest nights and then just on low often using the fan to draw in cooler night air.
    My new trick for this year will be a solar water preheater. It comes out of my ground at 42 -45 F and its a no brainer that it will take half the fuel oil or less to bring it up to temp if its coming in at 70 - 120. My garage attic was 117 F at 4PM the other day when it was around 70 outside. I am going to put a couple plastic barrels up in there and a small circulator pump to serve for the summer months. Eventually I plan on a full home made solar rig once I get the feel for it all. I also plan on loading up the attic above the house from its R 30 fiberglass with another 6-12" of cellulose insulation given all the bad properties they are starting to admit fiberglass has. The poor characteristics in a windy condition is enough for me right there and cellulose is far easier to add afterwards.
    Thats about as green as I am going to get for now aside from parking the truck unless needed for trucky sort of things sharing the small car and bringing back to life an old 500 cc twin Yamaha somebody gave me last winter. I have to confess though I do it because I am a cheap Bas$%#& who is sick of being robbed. I don't think for one minute the sky is falling any more than Al Gore invented the internet and I fear more this whole global warming thing is going to take on a cult like life of its own that is going to make some very special people piles of money. On the other hand its high time to change a few things so why not get right to it?
  3. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Well, I'm a meat-eater (I think that "medium" is the same as "burnt"), and I for one really don't have any problem with vegetarians. I have a problem with those who try and demand that I become one, or who freak out because meat was near their food, because that just strikes me as more of a phobia than a life-choice.

    I do have to give my vegetarian friends some good-natured ribbing, though (eg," do you want food, or food's food?"), but it's all in good fun. In the past when money's been short, I've been mostly-vegetarian at some times just for financial reasons. My wife is actually writing up a vegetarian cookbook at some point, since she tried vegetarianism in the past, until she found out that she was allergic to soy, which makes it much more difficult. So, she's going to write up a soy-free vegetarian cookbook to help those who do want to be vegetarians despite soy allergies.

    A friend who lives just a few miles down the road is a dedicated vegetarian, because his whole family has major cholesterol problems, and it's the only way he's found to keep his in a safe range. When he built his house a couple years ago, he planned ahead, and actually has a steamer built right into the kitchen counter. Add a counter-top steamer as well, and you can cook up a lot of vegetables and grains, quite easily.

    Each one is small. It's just when you add them all up that it matters. Some will be impractical (eg, cell phone charger, in your case, or the power supply for a cordless phone, since you might want to receive phone calls). But there are usually a lot that can be dealt with. For example, I have a good number of chargers for battery-powered tools, given the business I'm in. I need those to be convenient for charging tools, but I plugged them all into a power strip so I can shut them down when they are not in use.

    When I was driving a diesel (next big purchase is to get another - this gasoline-fueled truck I have now is ridiculous), I needed a block heater for the winter. Plug it in when you get home from the day's work, then unplug it the next morning. On a typical day, the heater is running for 12-14 hours, wasting energy. Just so the block would be warm in the morning. I put it on a timer so that it came on a few hours before I would leave in the morning (exact timing depends on the particular truck and the weather). The engine was still warmed-up to start, but I hadn't been heating it in -10 weather all night.

    I don't drink coffee, but my brother is a caffeine fiend, so I got him a cold-brew setup. It makes concentrated coffee extract, which you dilute with hot water as needed to make hot coffee (or cold water to make iced coffee). No energy to brew, and you only heat the amount of water that you need for a cup of coffee, when you want some. I may get one for making iced tea, this summer.

    Joe
  4. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm a member of PETA --- People Eating Tasty Animals !!!!!!!!!
  5. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    My own plan on the coffee pot, when my current one goes belly-up, is to get one that has no burner at all, similar to this one. It will brew the coffee, then store it into an insulated carafe which is supposed to keep it hot for several hours. Kinda hard to find one though, not many companies make one. What I want is one that has no computer in it, when you want it to start you push a button, then it shuts itself off completely until the next time you want to make coffee. With this one there's no need to microwave it unless it's several hours after the fact.

    [​IMG]

    In the meantime though, I've got my existing coffee and tea pot on a power strip. My pot takes 10 minutes to go from on to brewed. Since most days we brew, drink, then go to work, as soon as the pot hits 10 minutes I just shut the strip off.

    I agree on the vegevores, they can be a little on the PC side. Luckily vegevores aren't protected so I can still push back just as hard, asking them how they can heartlessly slaughter poor, helpless heads of lettuce. I mean, lettuce has just as much a right to live as a cow, right?
  6. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Yea I am anything but a veggi Nazi. I gave my daughter hell a few times for bothering others about meat. I even defend smokers though I never have. Personallyl I can't stand people who demand anyone be like them. I must be a true Civil Libertarian as I just want everyone to leave me alone ( which is a tall order mostly) and I feel the same for others. I do mention it once in a while to the younger guys I work with who smoke like chimneys. Strangely nearly all of em manage to quit sometime along the line on their own just because most of us either never did or gave it up. Something about talking about guys you remember coughing constantly when they were 40 now dead at under 55 that does the trick. The guidelines on smoking near government buildings are pure bullshit too. The weenies have it so no one can smoke even in the vicinity of a doorway which is nuts here in the sub arctic with all the wind and cold during winter months. You know something a few as*&h;(*&$ still complain which is pure lunacy. Thats the danger of government demanding anything, common sense goes out the window, especially if you work for the government.
    As for that coffee pot just make sure it is easy to operate before you buy one. We have one at work that got donated by someone and I can see why. You pay hell to get the darned thing to swing open or closed, the basket jams nearly every time and you often fold the filter when you close it or the jug doesn't quite push up on the drain block and it goes all over the place. No wonder it got donated. I did tear mine open this AM and found its integral to the top heater so you can't simply shut down the hot plate. I would buy a timer but since I make most of the coffee and do usually think to pull the plug we will live with it. Not a problem .
  7. SE Iowa

    SE Iowa New Member

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    Does anywho know of a good, fairly-widely encompassing book on food preservation and storage. I want to learn how they did it back 60-70 yrs (or greater)?
  8. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Here's 4 books I have found useful. The first I think comes real close to directly providing what you want.
    The Encyclopedia of Country Living, by Carla Emery (1994)
    When Technology Fails, A Manual for Self-Reliance & Planetary Survival, by Matthew Stein (2000)]
    Cheap Tricks, 100s of ways you can save 1000s of dollars, by Andy Dappen (1992)
    The Tightwad Gazette, Promoting Thrift as a Viable Alternative Lifestyle, by Amy Dacyczyn (1992)
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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  10. colsmith

    colsmith New Member

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    The harvest forum of Gardenweb http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/harvest/ is a great place to go with any questions you have about preserving food. The Ball Blue Book is the small book that gets updated every year or two that many consider the Bible of canning. You don't really want to preserve everything the way people did 60 years ago because nowadays much of that is considered unsafe.

    Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is the big book which has supposedly everything in it. I only do boiling water bath canning so things like jam, salsa, pickled asparagus, fruit sauce, etc., in other words acidic things. We canned something like 287 jars of stuff last year. Some of it goes as gifts, some items are quite prized and specifically asked for by my friends. :) Cinnamon pear topping is one, and roasted fruit salsa is another. Ate some store bought salsa at a friend's house Saturday, seemed like ketchup compared to our stuff. Of course we make really great ketchup, too.

    In general if you bake your own bread, make your own soup, can your own jam, whatever, you will get a much better product than you get at the store and makes you more self sufficient.

    Hanging up your laundry and not using a dryer is another good way to save energy, it is also easier on your clothes so they last longer. One area I could save energy still is if I would drive slower. Somehow I always consider the speed limit to be the LOWEST permissible speed. But we do keep our tires inflated correctly, that helps, too.
  11. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    One thing that we have been doing is trying to reduce our use of electricity from the coal burning plants. Last year we averaged 23 kWh daily, in April, this year we used 12kWh so we're headed in the right direction. Now if we didn't need grow lights to start our peppers and tomatoes we could do better and that's the challenge. The billing system makes it really easy to see results when you change things. Next will be CFLs for some of my garage fixtures.


    Less than a minute after I posted my eletricity went out for 3 hours. Is Big Brother lurking or was it really a tree limb??? Only the Shadow knows.
  12. njtomatoguy

    njtomatoguy Feeling the Heat

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    building material and stuff like that are expensive- neighbor told me about a place that sells gently used and donated new stuff.

    The habitat for humanity store.

    been there twice-looks like i'll have to keep going back- selection changes when donations come in, but found a tub surround i like, just have to line up borrowing my buddies truck.
  13. sgcsalsero

    sgcsalsero Feeling the Heat

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    Med. food is pretty decent, my wife makes falafel once in a while

    Let's see, polenta, gazpacho, hummus, there's a great place in town with vegetarian hoagies, portabello mushrm. burgers, I make quiche, corn chowder, potato soup, breakfast foods like french toast and mushroom omelets, irish soda bread fills me up, homemade pizza, eggplant parm., greek thing called spanikopita

    I'd do a search on 'peasant foods' as well as vegetarian, probably will use a minimal amount of meat, high end restaurants usually have a couple of these dishes

    Is Trader Joe's in your area, they have a decent selection of stuff and are customer friendly.
  14. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Kind of an odd ball thing to go green with but I picked up 5 chickens last spring for educational value for my young duaghters mainly. I keep them in a small coop and they have become decent pets to have around with minimal noise and they only eat a little bit of this cheap corn stuff. The green part is that they make eggs. High quality eggs with no funky hormones, or funk. They are fresh and actually have flavor. The high quality of home grown eggs means the yolks are firmer which makes them easier to pan fry without breaking the yoke.

    Every hen lays one egg every day and they only eat a small amount of feed. Something magical in those hens. One egg a day per bird might not sound like much but they add up very fast. More than my family can eat and eggs are a key ingredient to make many of Churchie's dishes.
  15. Telco

    Telco New Member

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    Are you in an area where you can let the chickens out of the coop? My mother has a flock of guineas that she lets run around on their own. Little buggers can see a tick from 20 feet away, and they love 'em. Her annoying yard bugs have gone down since she got those chickens, and she gets eggs to boot. Less corn needed when they are free-range yard birds.

    Don't forget, when the little one asks what's for dinner, it's Henny Penny Dumplings! :lol:
  16. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I keep suggesting to my wife that we should get a few chickens. She says two dogs instead. Maybe we have to make a deal.
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Have you tried CFLs for starting and vegging plants indoors? They work great and use a fraction of the juice consumed by high pressure sodium or metal halide bulbs and ballasts.
  18. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    We run the old fashion fluorescent 4 ft. bulbs, 35 watts each. Old shop lights. But they do run 24/7 ; it works great and plants don't get leggy.
  19. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think you'll get a lot more light for less energy consumption with CFLs. Plus, you can add and unscrew individual bulbs as your plants grow and/or as you move some outside. My impression is that CFL technology is more efficient, lumen per lumen, than the old tube-and-ballast arrangement. In any event, it wouldn't cost much to find out. Light 24/7 and lots of ventilation is definitely the way to go for the seedlings and young plants.
  20. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "Are you in an area where you can let the chickens out of the coop? My mother has a flock of guineas that she lets run around on their own. Little buggers can see a tick from 20 feet away, and they love ‘em. Her annoying yard bugs have gone down since she got those chickens, and she gets eggs to boot. Less corn needed when they are free-range yard birds.

    Don’t forget, when the little one asks what’s for dinner, it’s Henny Penny Dumplings!"

    We can and do let the chickens loose in the backyard for fun and while cleaning out their coop as much as possible. Someone really needs to be paying attention to keep them out of trouble though. The birds like to kind of roll in the dry dirt and get all coated in dust for bugs or whatever so they do make a mess. Also kicking through flower gardens looking for bugs tears them up. They can fly up and over a 6 foot fence BTW but we find that they never go very far from the coop. Also they will always return as it gets dark. They come when you call them and it is great fun to watch them run in their little herd. Chicken poop is not good to step in.

    We really have too many birds for our family but there's very little chance of eating them with the pet factor. Also the current price of chicken at the store makes it ridiculous to go through the efforts of preparing a bird to eat. The laying hens are not the same breed as meat chickensand aren't going to be good BBQ chickens either since they are old and tough but in a pinch I will gladly consume them.

    They love to eat ants too.
  21. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Highbeam: that rolling around in the dirt and dust is called a "dust bath".. believe it or not that is how they clean themselves. We used to have laying hens years ago. Notice how the yolks are a nice orange as opposed to the yellowish ones that are store bought. yum,yum.
  22. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Like most of us, I too keep trying to think of more ways to be truly green. I've done most of the traditional things: 32 mpg car (no SUV or PU), CFL's, wood heat, insulation, and more. And then an idea came to me that maybe the best way to measure how "green" a person is would be to base it on $ spent on consumption. In broad terms every $ spent buys something which took energy to produce. Therefore, the fewer the $ spent on consumption, the more "green" a person has to be.

    Dollars spent on true investments (stocks, bonds, savings certificates, 401k, etc.) shouldn't count, I think, but what about the mortgage payment? I finally concluded that the mortgage, real estate taxes, and insurance is consumption as it is directly related to the house footprint: the bigger (and more expensive), the less green.

    What do you think? If this idea has merit, it will be quite easy to see where the rubber hits the road.
  23. colebrookman

    colebrookman Minister of Fire

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    Like many things that seem simple this isn't. One person versus large families, big but old house versus new Mcmansion, young versus old, good health versus.... & on & on.
    Maybe it just needs a little discussion and someone brighter than me to work out the kinks. :-S
  24. My_3_Girls

    My_3_Girls Member

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    This may be the bacardi talking, but what about just consuming less? Not the obvious food stuffs, but actual consumption of everything ----> a fairly active member here has the yankee saying on his signature line 'use it up, wear it out or do without' - If everyone did this, where would we be right now? Yup, I realize this might digress into the Ashcan, but so be it.
  25. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Isn't this the same as spending less on consumption? If you spend less, you have to consume less, I think.

    You have a good point. What should be excluded as not consumption? Probably health care, perhaps education. Large family vs small can be factored by $ per person. Young vs old is a tough one. From the perspective of consuming resources, age really doesn't make much of difference. Do young "need" to consume more than the old? or vice versa? Good question. Old house vs Mcmansion, etc., either way resources are being consumed. Why distinguish? At the end of WWII the average house size was about 800 sq ft and family size was definitely larger than today. Today's average new home is more than 2500 sq ft. with fewer people living in the home. Should a person get an "un-green freebe" in housing choice? Housing is one of the most significant resource users.
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