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Ways to Make Our Planet Greener

Post in 'The Green Room' started by elkimmeg, Mar 22, 2007.

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  1. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    As an inspector I visit many construction sites. I see one alarming waste. No No not the home, but what sits in the dumpsters.

    Carboard can and should be recycled but its the wood that bothers me more. There is an amazing amount of wood being tossed out.
    Most of it clean wood. I often wondered if their was a way to recycle that wood. Maybe chewed up into chip board or manufactured lumber
    What about processing it into Pellets / bio combressed logs? Personally I would never throw out a good piece of lumber. I would use it the next job.

    Just wondering how to cut down the waste and turn it back to another productive use.. Part of the pellet higher price and shortages of supplies is competition for raw material.

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  2. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    Wrong Forum.....
    Really belongs in the "Green Room".....

    Rob
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I agree Elk. It's as if all sense of environmental awareness was dropped when construction began. It begins often with a big whomping burnpile of green wood and debris that smolders for days and continues from there. It's a rare job where recyclables are separated and good wood is saved.
  4. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    I agree 100% on this one. We grabbed quite a bit of the construction waste from a local house, with the permission of the builders, and have been using it for kindling and small fires. Even that is wasteful though, as many of it is still very useable lengths of dimensional lumber.



    The other thing that bothers me is the amount of flat out garbage contractors bury around the foundation. When doing a paver job for someone two years ago, we were digging up sheetrock, vinyl flooring, gatorade bottles and other random crap.
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Not that I like to see it but I do understand why it happens.

    Time is very expensive and there is little or no incentive to do anything other than throw this extra material into the dumpster. When I wire in a new circuit, I leave an extra 6 inches or so hanging out of the receptacle box to allow me some flexibility in trimming off the wires to fit the outlet. I waste 6" of expensive wire every time but the value of that 6" of wire is far less than what it would cost the one time that the wire is too short and I need to rerun the circuit.

    How many times have you ordered exactly the right amount of concrete to fill your forms? There is always some waste in an effort to not be short.

    Sure, in a perfect world with cheap labor and expensive materials every piece of material could be used but that is not the world we live in now and I don't expect to see it anytime soon.
  6. keyman512us

    keyman512us Member

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    Highbeam:
    Good points highbeam...don't be afraid to leave some of that extra 6" inside the box for the next "poor ^astard" that might have to work on it (me for example). I would rather "play with some spaghetti" than have to play micro-surgeon!
    (couldn't resist...thanks for letting me 'vent' on that point)

    Elk...Highbeam (as well as everyone else) brings up some good points in regards to the point of this topic. It's a "whole new ballgame" in the building trades. Unfortunately "Material is worthless...Labor is everything" seems to be the trend. Things are starting to change however.

    Trends in the "waste business" especially in MA where the costs are skyrocketing...have forced alot of those materials to be "removed from the stream" before they hit the local landfill. MA DEP regs have required "construction debris" to be handled in different ways since 05'...now how well the disposal contractor complies...good question.

    With as competitive as the construction market is today...I don't think you can expect the contractor to do the recycling "before" it hit's the rolloff...that job is better left to the waste hauler. If you follow that roll-off on it's journey...i'll bet it gets "tipped" in a sort warehouse first.

    If you want to see some "real recycling" I'll take some pictures of wood recycling facilities in this area...you may get a few laughs!

    Unfortunatley...The attitude of our local BOH is that even the scraps you describe...are not considered "clean firewood/fuel". They have even gone so far as to describe it as "Un-acceptable material to be burned: ..Any waste product from a household or business activity.."

    The local newspaper reporter even made reference to me burning "slabs" from the sawmill: "While Mr. Arsenaults choice of burning sawmill cuttings seems to fly in the face of the proposed regulations.."

    We won't even go into the reaction to the sugestion of burning "pallet wood".

    Now you know why I'm pulling my hair out up here in G-Vegas???
  7. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    "don’t be afraid to leave some of that extra 6” inside the box for the next “poor ^astard” that might have to work on it (me for example). I would rather “play with some spaghetti” than have to play micro-surgeon! "

    Ha! the extra 6" is the extra that wouldn't even fit in the box. I also like a long lead to work with and I refuse to use the push-n-pray receptacles so I am looping wire which takes some slack for me.
  8. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I too wire with excess. I can always trim, but an inch short might as well be a mile short. However, that is a separate subject. What is needed on jobsites is a recycling program. Instead of one big mondo dumpster, there needs to be separate containers for typical waste products, wood, metals, glass and the thousand and one pop cans that seem to come with the job. When I was doing an electrical work I kept a garbage can for house wiring copper and aluminum service cable. At the end of the year I would cash it in for scrap. With 12/2 costs today it might save more than you think.
  9. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Let's not only blame construction here. Open freezers in grocery stores, Malls that have lights on 24/7, stores that run the sign 24/7 rather than turn it off after 9 or 10 when most people are at home. How about turning off every other street light after 2am? Why are parking lots lit after the store closes? How about building codes taking walls from r19 -> R 29. ( a layer of rigid foam on the outside of the existing method would do it) R38 attics -> R60. Triple pane windows. How about embracing diesel cars? A VW TDI gets better milage than a Prius in the real world. (forget the sticker, I know people who have both... TDI wins) How about standards on building air conditioning and heating. 1/2 the people I work with every day are in Austin, and I see video conferences with them in sweaters in August cause it's cold in the building. That's nuts.

    Better MPG standards for light trucks. What else could we make roads out of? (No ideas here, but the amount of work and energy that goes into building a road is unbelievable)
  10. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    Warren -

    Have you seen the decorative streetlights outside Vassar College since they redid the roadway there? It's like a stadium when you drive through at night! Good example of rampant waste - we couldn't believe it. I would hate to live next to it.

    I'm also hoping we get some NY eligible diesels in the near future - I drove a BMW 320d in Germany and loved it - got ~45 MPG driving 100-120 MPH on the autobahn from Dresden to Berlin and back. And I had a lot more fun than I would have in a Prius :)

    -Colin
  11. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I get 50 mpg highway on my VW TDI Golf, but operating/maintenance costs are pricey. Diesel is 10-20% higher than unleaded gas in WI. And routine maintenance and repairs have run higher than any other "economy" vehicle that I've owned. Still, it's fun to drive, and I'm glad that I bought it.
  12. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, it is awful bright. For everyone else.... what Colin is referring to is about a 1/2 mile long stretch of road along the border of Vassar College in Poughkeepsie. The town wanted to make the college look more "walking" friendly for all the wealthy parents who were concerned that the little nippers.. I mean the prospective college kids, would not be safe when they went out drinking.. I mean out for a pizza. Late at night. It literally looks like day light out of a bunch of old fashioned looking lamps. The combination of old style and blinding light is a bit odd.

    I wondered if those were LED's though. If they are, at least they put in good lighting for the kids. I have no problem with lights if they serve a purpose like keeping students walking at night safe, but it sure seems dumb to have all the lights blazing in the Home Depot parking lot all night.
  13. cbrodsky

    cbrodsky Member

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    Just curious - how much mileage do you have on the golf, and at what point did you start running into high costs? I've been debating looking for a used Jetta TDI - probably 2004 or newer when the engine changed. I have an A4 that I'll be turning in later this year and will either re-lease that or get a VW TDI and wait until Audi (hopefully) brings diesel quattros in. The A4s get remarkably good mileage given they are fairly heavy, quiet, and have AWD but I wouldn't mind going up another 10-20 MPG with a TDI.

    -Colin
  14. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I'm at 41k on the Golf. Maintenance was higher right off the bat with synthetic oil changes running $75. I'm on my second set of tires already. I'm used to going 60k at least on a set of tires, but the tires that came on my Golf don't last long according to my local mechanic who changed my tires for $300 (dealer wanted $600). I've been under warranty, so have only had maintenance to pay for, but it seems like every time I bring the car in for dealer scheduled maintenance, I get hit for $300-500 which includes the oil change, tire rotation, etc. With synthetic oil, I'm running 10k between oil changes.

    The timing belt is a big deal with the Golf. The dealer estimate was $800, and it has to be changed between 60k and 80k. My warranty period is about up, so I'm on the look-out for a local mechanic that is comfortable working on VW diesels. To be fair, other than some minor electrical issues, I haven't needed any warranty work to be done.

    As I mentioned before, it is a fun car to drive. I put on about 20k per year. It handles nicely, and has some burst to it. I test drove a VW Rabbit diesel about 10 years ago, and it was a dog getting it up to speed on the interstate. This thing flies more like a sportscar.
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