Author Topic: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?  (Read 43663 times)

human

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #50 on: August 14, 2016, 02:47:39 PM »
It's just hard for me to imagine anyone thinks the small things matter if the sacred cows can't be slaughtered. It's like a mustachian saying I make my lunch every day so I can buy a new 100k mercedes every year, burn it dec 31st before buying the next one.

Overpopulation is definitely a problem, we may not necessarily be overpopulated in Canada but it seems the average family here can't have one kid without a new hydro dam peoject being created. The irony is India and China may be responsible for a lot of unregulated industrial pollution and untreated sewage. Per capita they use so much less energy.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #51 on: August 14, 2016, 06:35:08 PM »
Back on topic.

Today's small wins:

Vegan breakfast and lunch, dinner likely to be vegetarian (I eat fish once or twice a week and meat maximum of twice a week. Other meals are mostly vegan with some vegetarian thrown in).

Using cloth pads instead of disposable paper-and-plastic menstrual products.

As usual, using non-disposable packaging for food.

As usual, using public transport and the power of Walking!! instead of driving to work.

Hang-drying my clothes, washing them only on cold wash.

Carefully using up fruit and veg that was close to going bad.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #52 on: August 14, 2016, 06:38:09 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #53 on: August 14, 2016, 06:41:08 PM »
'Bubble glazing' is a great idea! Does it work to keep the heat out in Summer, too? We have a few very drafty old windows which I want to get double-glazed eventually, but in the meantime, bubble glazing it is!
Yes. And it can easily be free. Big pieces usually wrap things like sofas or fridges wen they come new, so you could just ask around for anyone who is getting a big item, or go to Harvey Norman or the like, ans ask if they are throwing any (used) out. That way you get pieces big enough to cover a whole window without joins.

But, if your windows are drafty you should investigate sealing the cracks first.

The 'cracks' are caused by the windows in question being 68 years old, so the inside bit of the window (glass in a wood frame, that swings in to close the window and out to open it) isn't completely flush with the window frame. If that description makes sense. I've had someone look at it already who said my options were to replace the window entirely or double-glaze it, but I'll seek out another opinion just in case.

Indio

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #54 on: August 14, 2016, 08:18:27 PM »
Today, I installed swarm guards on the entranceway of 3 of bee hives that I noticed were making a lot of drone comb and were likely to swarm in a few days. By installing the guards, I prevented the colony from producing 1, 2 or more queens and then a cluster of bees flying off with her. I removed brood frames and made 2 smaller winter colonies with the queen cells so I wont need to buy bees from GA or CA to repopulate my bee hives in spring. That lowered my beekeeping carbon footprint.
From the backyard I harvested, 5 green banana peppers, 1 large acorn squash, 3 marketmore cucumbers, 2 bottle gourds (intended to be birdhouses next year), 25 tomatoes, 1/2lb of green beans and kale. Using seeds saved from spring planting, started more frisee and mesculun for Fall garden.
Fed 6 meat turkeys herbs and weeds from garden to fatten them rather than using commercial feed.
Read manual again for saltwater filtration system on pool and reduced the programming time. Pool water comes from rain barrels/cisterns.

clarkai

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #55 on: August 14, 2016, 08:42:34 PM »

Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

I use dish washing water and cooking water (from cooking legumes,  potatoes, and so forth) for watering my vegetables.  But that's a much smaller scale than what you're talking about.


On the small actions vs "sacred cows" thing, I believe that we become our habits. So if some one is in a place of skipping factory farmed for meat one meal per week, I'm going to encourage them, because that's them acting in a way out of their norm, which is obviously a result of questioning and thinking, and that can help people shift their habits over time, and start questioning bigger ticket items, such as air transportation.

I personally live a life as environmentally friendly as I can. I'm not reproducing  (I do want to foster in the future), I don't eat any animal products, I cook most everything from scratch, we avoid buying new, I ride my bike and the bus every where  (we don't own a car), we don't have a/c, I line dry our clothes when possible,  and the only time I can see us flying in the future is for a funeral. This list goes on, but the point is I've gotten here through a series of little steps (and a couple big ones). I have way more that I want to do, and hopefully will do in the future.


On another note, I really love how the environmentalist choice is usually the healthy and frugal choice as well.

Today's small steps were using pee to fertilize starts and convincing a friend to spend two hours biking to go swimming instead of twenty minutes of driving :p

deborah

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #56 on: August 14, 2016, 08:51:21 PM »
'Bubble glazing' is a great idea! Does it work to keep the heat out in Summer, too? We have a few very drafty old windows which I want to get double-glazed eventually, but in the meantime, bubble glazing it is!
Yes. And it can easily be free. Big pieces usually wrap things like sofas or fridges wen they come new, so you could just ask around for anyone who is getting a big item, or go to Harvey Norman or the like, ans ask if they are throwing any (used) out. That way you get pieces big enough to cover a whole window without joins.

But, if your windows are drafty you should investigate sealing the cracks first.

The 'cracks' are caused by the windows in question being 68 years old, so the inside bit of the window (glass in a wood frame, that swings in to close the window and out to open it) isn't completely flush with the window frame. If that description makes sense. I've had someone look at it already who said my options were to replace the window entirely or double-glaze it, but I'll seek out another opinion just in case.
You can get rubber strips to attach to the window frame to get rid of the gaps (from Bunnings or elsewhere - see https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/door-window-gate-hardware/door-window-seals/window). I used them on my similarly aged house. They were not as satisfactory as they could have been because in places there was still a gap, and in other places they were a little too thick, but they did make a difference until I got the windows fixed (they all had been painted a million times, had some weathering where they hadn't been painted often enough (and of course the paint on top of the weathered paint made bumps). A bit of sanding and some wood filler improved the level no end, and only took a little work, except where the window frames were rotten.

stripey

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2016, 09:02:43 PM »
+1

(As an aside, my father went the DIY double-glazing route as he had the time, means and inclination. His only complaint is that there's the smallest amount of condensation in between the panes but it only shows when the temperature is less than -5*C)

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2016, 09:24:40 PM »
'Bubble glazing' is a great idea! Does it work to keep the heat out in Summer, too? We have a few very drafty old windows which I want to get double-glazed eventually, but in the meantime, bubble glazing it is!
Yes. And it can easily be free. Big pieces usually wrap things like sofas or fridges wen they come new, so you could just ask around for anyone who is getting a big item, or go to Harvey Norman or the like, ans ask if they are throwing any (used) out. That way you get pieces big enough to cover a whole window without joins.

But, if your windows are drafty you should investigate sealing the cracks first.

The 'cracks' are caused by the windows in question being 68 years old, so the inside bit of the window (glass in a wood frame, that swings in to close the window and out to open it) isn't completely flush with the window frame. If that description makes sense. I've had someone look at it already who said my options were to replace the window entirely or double-glaze it, but I'll seek out another opinion just in case.

You can get rubber strips to attach to the window frame to get rid of the gaps (from Bunnings or elsewhere - see https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/door-window-gate-hardware/door-window-seals/window). I used them on my similarly aged house. They were not as satisfactory as they could have been because in places there was still a gap, and in other places they were a little too thick, but they did make a difference until I got the windows fixed (they all had been painted a million times, had some weathering where they hadn't been painted often enough (and of course the paint on top of the weathered paint made bumps). A bit of sanding and some wood filler improved the level no end, and only took a little work, except where the window frames were rotten.

Ooooh. Those look good. Can windows still be closed / open with those rubber strips on? I like being able to open the windows in summer when it's cool in the evenings.

jengod

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2016, 10:42:14 PM »
If you're interested in greywater and other slightly more intense than normal water-saving household water tech, I highly recommend Laura Allen's The Waterwise Home book. We have been to a couple of her seminars and she is terrific. We can't do greywater until we rip out our ugly concrete porch but she taught me a lot about other ways to save, how to daisy-chain rain barrels, et al.

* Line-dryed all the kids' swim stuff.

* Picked up 9 recyclable bottles and cans and will redeem for $0.45.

* Harvest a patch of purslane growing on the sidewalk, will use for smoothies, salads, etc.
Waste is lost profit made visible. #zerowastehome #permaculture

Fresh Bread

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #60 on: August 14, 2016, 11:26:55 PM »
HaH - we had great success using decent weight curtains in front of our old windows. All the casement ones are draughty, the sash windows aren't but have incredibly thin glass in from the 50s. We also used white electrical tape to seal up cracks in doors and windows that don't get opened in winter!

I have been told by a professional that simply replacing old paper thin glass with modern thicker glass will improve sound and heat insulation. There's also a special 'hush' glass, I imagine it's just nice and thick - we went in a room in a showroom encased by it and it seems legit! That means we could keep the original wooden frames where they aren't warped or draughty, saving time and resources. In Sydney all the installers think we are mad to consider double glazing and they are probably right.


I can't think of a single extra environmental thing I did today unfortunately! But I did line dry clothes, get organic veggies & charge my electricals with the solar panels :)

At the weekend I realised if I charge my hand held vac with the sun, it's bagless so a better alternative to the regular vac (we are slaves to pet hair). Also yesterday, I decided to try no-poo for my hair which I think will mean less chemicals but also less water use long term.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #61 on: August 14, 2016, 11:40:05 PM »
HaH - we had great success using decent weight curtains in front of our old windows. All the casement ones are draughty, the sash windows aren't but have incredibly thin glass in from the 50s. We also used white electrical tape to seal up cracks in doors and windows that don't get opened in winter!

I have been told by a professional that simply replacing old paper thin glass with modern thicker glass will improve sound and heat insulation. There's also a special 'hush' glass, I imagine it's just nice and thick - we went in a room in a showroom encased by it and it seems legit! That means we could keep the original wooden frames where they aren't warped or draughty, saving time and resources. In Sydney all the installers think we are mad to consider double glazing and they are probably right.

We have heavy block-out curtains for the windows in question :-) so we've already done that step.

Electrical tape is a great idea! Thanks!

Why would you be mad to double glaze - does it not make that much more of a difference compared to replacing old windows with new single-pane windows?

I have to admit, I love the look of my 1948 leadlight windows, so double glazing appealed to me for the simple fact that you can apparently layer the beautiful original glass with the new stuff, i.e. keep the 'look' of the old ones while gaining the efficiency of new windows. Yes, I'm a sucker for my beautiful old house.

Fresh Bread

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #62 on: August 14, 2016, 11:50:14 PM »
The installers say in Sydney it just doesn't get cold enough :) They are right, it never drops to zero. Plus there are plenty of vents and so on in our double brick house so we can't really 'seal' it. To be honest, we've gone all out on the roof insulation and some floors are done and then in winter we block off most of the vents and it's comfortable and not icy getting up in the morning any more.

Are you thinking of going the secondary glazing panel across the back of the window or getting actual double glazed units put in the old frames? I don't think our old sash windows can accommodate double glazing unfortunately otherwise I would do it.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #63 on: August 15, 2016, 12:02:13 AM »
The installers say in Sydney it just doesn't get cold enough :) They are right, it never drops to zero. Plus there are plenty of vents and so on in our double brick house so we can't really 'seal' it. To be honest, we've gone all out on the roof insulation and some floors are done and then in winter we block off most of the vents and it's comfortable and not icy getting up in the morning any more.

Are you thinking of going the secondary glazing panel across the back of the window or getting actual double glazed units put in the old frames? I don't think our old sash windows can accommodate double glazing unfortunately otherwise I would do it.

Doesn't double glazing also keep the house cooler in summer? We get hot winds hitting our house in summer which I would expect 'better' windows to lessen the impact of... I would love the rooms with problematic windows to stay warmer in winter but also cooler in summer.

Honestly I need to investigate the options before I really know, but my Dad (former owner-builder) was talking about possibly having new frames put in with the beautiful old panes inserted into the frames at the front and new, thicker glass at the back. Which sounded like what I want, but I have no idea how expensive that would be. I have no idea how much replacing a window costs even aside from the double glazing, use of original glass etc add-ons!

Thanks for being so generous in sharing your knowledge. It's great to be able to pick someone's brain.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #64 on: August 15, 2016, 12:47:35 AM »
The Internet tells me that double glazing does as much for heat reduction as for cold. So that's good. While my house is surprisingly cold, summer is definitely the bigger issue in Perth.

deborah

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #65 on: August 15, 2016, 01:14:08 AM »
'Bubble glazing' is a great idea! Does it work to keep the heat out in Summer, too? We have a few very drafty old windows which I want to get double-glazed eventually, but in the meantime, bubble glazing it is!
Yes. And it can easily be free. Big pieces usually wrap things like sofas or fridges wen they come new, so you could just ask around for anyone who is getting a big item, or go to Harvey Norman or the like, ans ask if they are throwing any (used) out. That way you get pieces big enough to cover a whole window without joins.

But, if your windows are drafty you should investigate sealing the cracks first.

The 'cracks' are caused by the windows in question being 68 years old, so the inside bit of the window (glass in a wood frame, that swings in to close the window and out to open it) isn't completely flush with the window frame. If that description makes sense. I've had someone look at it already who said my options were to replace the window entirely or double-glaze it, but I'll seek out another opinion just in case.

You can get rubber strips to attach to the window frame to get rid of the gaps (from Bunnings or elsewhere - see https://www.bunnings.com.au/our-range/building-hardware/door-window-gate-hardware/door-window-seals/window). I used them on my similarly aged house. They were not as satisfactory as they could have been because in places there was still a gap, and in other places they were a little too thick, but they did make a difference until I got the windows fixed (they all had been painted a million times, had some weathering where they hadn't been painted often enough (and of course the paint on top of the weathered paint made bumps). A bit of sanding and some wood filler improved the level no end, and only took a little work, except where the window frames were rotten.

Ooooh. Those look good. Can windows still be closed / open with those rubber strips on? I like being able to open the windows in summer when it's cool in the evenings.
They CAN but it depends on how much thickness they add and how much of a gap there is.

Double glazing reduces heat loss in winter to 49% of the original, whereas it only reduces heat gain in summer to 90% of the original - so there is a little to be gained in summer but a lot in winter. This is why most energy efficient housing inspections don't recommend double glazing in their top 10 recommendations. It is much more efficient to have exterior awnings to shade windows and reduce heat gain (they reduce heat gain to 15 - 25% of original).

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #66 on: August 15, 2016, 06:31:39 PM »
Double glazing reduces heat loss in winter to 49% of the original, whereas it only reduces heat gain in summer to 90% of the original - so there is a little to be gained in summer but a lot in winter. This is why most energy efficient housing inspections don't recommend double glazing in their top 10 recommendations. It is much more efficient to have exterior awnings to shade windows and reduce heat gain (they reduce heat gain to 15 - 25% of original).

Thanks Deborah! You know so much about this stuff.

When I was looking into double glazing some companies are claiming a much greater reduction of heat gain than your figures (for example: http://www.duoglass.com.au/why-double-glaze/thermal-comfort) - so I wonder if there is some variance between companies / technologies or whether the double glazing technology has improved in recent years? Certainly the example given on that page, of it being 30 degrees outside and 24 inside, would make a huge difference to my life.

I inspected my problematic windows with your advice re: awnings in mind. They both sit close under the roofline (20cm between top of window and bottom of roof) with decent eaves that do shade them much of the time. So they effectively already have awnings! However the windows themselves are definitely letting heat in - in summer you can stand near those windows and feel hot air coming through (even when they're shut). These windows face north-west and hot wind hits the house from that direction in the late afternoon and evenings. So I think a system that seals those windows effectively (whether double glazing or new single-pane windows - and definitely bubble glazing in the meantime!) will make a big difference in summer as well as winter.

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #67 on: August 15, 2016, 07:15:07 PM »
Double glazing reduces heat loss in winter to 49% of the original, whereas it only reduces heat gain in summer to 90% of the original - so there is a little to be gained in summer but a lot in winter. This is why most energy efficient housing inspections don't recommend double glazing in their top 10 recommendations. It is much more efficient to have exterior awnings to shade windows and reduce heat gain (they reduce heat gain to 15 - 25% of original).

Thanks Deborah! You know so much about this stuff.

When I was looking into double glazing some companies are claiming a much greater reduction of heat gain than your figures (for example: http://www.duoglass.com.au/why-double-glaze/thermal-comfort) - so I wonder if there is some variance between companies / technologies or whether the double glazing technology has improved in recent years? Certainly the example given on that page, of it being 30 degrees outside and 24 inside, would make a huge difference to my life.

I inspected my problematic windows with your advice re: awnings in mind. They both sit close under the roofline (20cm between top of window and bottom of roof) with decent eaves that do shade them much of the time. So they effectively already have awnings! However the windows themselves are definitely letting heat in - in summer you can stand near those windows and feel hot air coming through (even when they're shut). These windows face north-west and hot wind hits the house from that direction in the late afternoon and evenings. So I think a system that seals those windows effectively (whether double glazing or new single-pane windows - and definitely bubble glazing in the meantime!) will make a big difference in summer as well as winter.

The effectiveness, usefulness, and cost breakdown of double glazed windows will depend greatly on your climate. In places with cold winters (regular temps below freezing) they make a lot more sense. In more temperate climates, less sense.

deborah

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #68 on: August 15, 2016, 08:40:26 PM »
Double glazing reduces heat loss in winter to 49% of the original, whereas it only reduces heat gain in summer to 90% of the original - so there is a little to be gained in summer but a lot in winter. This is why most energy efficient housing inspections don't recommend double glazing in their top 10 recommendations. It is much more efficient to have exterior awnings to shade windows and reduce heat gain (they reduce heat gain to 15 - 25% of original).

Thanks Deborah! You know so much about this stuff.

When I was looking into double glazing some companies are claiming a much greater reduction of heat gain than your figures (for example: http://www.duoglass.com.au/why-double-glaze/thermal-comfort) - so I wonder if there is some variance between companies / technologies or whether the double glazing technology has improved in recent years? Certainly the example given on that page, of it being 30 degrees outside and 24 inside, would make a huge difference to my life.

I inspected my problematic windows with your advice re: awnings in mind. They both sit close under the roofline (20cm between top of window and bottom of roof) with decent eaves that do shade them much of the time. So they effectively already have awnings! However the windows themselves are definitely letting heat in - in summer you can stand near those windows and feel hot air coming through (even when they're shut). These windows face north-west and hot wind hits the house from that direction in the late afternoon and evenings. So I think a system that seals those windows effectively (whether double glazing or new single-pane windows - and definitely bubble glazing in the meantime!) will make a big difference in summer as well as winter.
OK, they have a number of glazing options. From http://www.duoglass.com.au/showcase/faq "by using our most technologically advanced glass - help keep the inside of your double glazed window and therefore your home at 25 degrees". I was quoting double glazing. This changes if you have tinting or reflective glass or various coatings. These by themselves give you quite a reduction in summer heat, but the benefits come from the coating rather than the double glazing. There are now a number of places that add film to windows, and they are much cheaper than double glazing.

If your windows are more than 20 degrees west of north (may be slightly different for Perth - this is for Melbourne), they are probably west as far as sun is concerned, and you probably get the really hot late afternoon sun directly on at least some of the glass, turning the window into a big heater. Awnings, shutters or a shade sticking out of the west side (like an eave, only on the wall and vertical rather than horizontal) prevent the sun shining directly onto the glass. You can experiment by putting a sheet over the window on the outside one afternoon. Awnings would have the added advantage that they would reduce the amount of wind hitting the window.

I have the same problem with my house, as the walls are all about 45 degrees from the main points of the compass. This makes even awnings a bit tricky as the early sun and the late afternoon sun still shine onto them. But I was amazed at the difference awnings made when I installed them, so I am an acknowledged awning bigot!

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #69 on: August 15, 2016, 11:49:42 PM »
From http://www.duoglass.com.au/showcase/faq "by using our most technologically advanced glass - help keep the inside of your double glazed window and therefore your home at 25 degrees". I was quoting double glazing. This changes if you have tinting or reflective glass or various coatings. These by themselves give you quite a reduction in summer heat, but the benefits come from the coating rather than the double glazing. There are now a number of places that add film to windows, and they are much cheaper than double glazing.

If your windows are more than 20 degrees west of north (may be slightly different for Perth - this is for Melbourne), they are probably west as far as sun is concerned, and you probably get the really hot late afternoon sun directly on at least some of the glass, turning the window into a big heater. Awnings, shutters or a shade sticking out of the west side (like an eave, only on the wall and vertical rather than horizontal) prevent the sun shining directly onto the glass. You can experiment by putting a sheet over the window on the outside one afternoon. Awnings would have the added advantage that they would reduce the amount of wind hitting the window.

I have the same problem with my house, as the walls are all about 45 degrees from the main points of the compass. This makes even awnings a bit tricky as the early sun and the late afternoon sun still shine onto them. But I was amazed at the difference awnings made when I installed them, so I am an acknowledged awning bigot!

I think I understand it better now. Thanks. I was comparing double-glazing+coating to just double glazing. You're saying that in this scenario the double glazing would reduce heat loss in winter, and the coating would be what reduced heat gain in summer. Both seem like very good things to me!

I've looked into window tinting / coating before for a different window, one which is well-sealed but gets a lot of sun. I'll investigate that again.

The problem windows at the front of the house are indeed more than 20 degrees west of north.

Do you have any vertical awnings on your windows? If yes, would you be happy to share photos? I've been looking online but haven't found what you're describing. Even retractable outdoor blinds over the windows in question would make a huge difference, I think.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #70 on: August 21, 2016, 02:17:06 AM »
Anyone do anything special to reduce their impact this weekend?

I didn't do anything out of the ordinary, but did maintain my good habits (line drying, saving water to use on the garden, minimising driving). I put some effort in to my garden today: if I can grow food that will be a win on so many fronts! And in the meantime it's a very low impact hobby.

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #71 on: August 21, 2016, 02:26:57 AM »
I have been mainly eating vegetarian meals at work, its hard to go vegan as they don't really have those options, and most of the vegans/ vegetarians at work just supply their own food, I have also been using reusable containers instead of the plastic disposable ones work supplies for packing my lunch. Small things, but every little bit helps

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #72 on: August 21, 2016, 02:35:51 AM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

When i was a kid my family used the washer's dirty water to water the lawn. The amount of soap that was used was very little, and didn't cause any problems with local plants/grass

stripey

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #73 on: August 21, 2016, 04:16:37 AM »
Making odd meals out of the fridge contents so that when I go interstate for a couple of days there shouldn't be any additional food wastage!

Melody

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #74 on: August 21, 2016, 04:33:29 AM »
Researched buying a soda stream (because i feel bad about all the soda water bottles our household goes through).

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HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #75 on: August 21, 2016, 07:02:20 PM »
Researched buying a soda stream (because i feel bad about all the soda water bottles our household goes through).

You've seen the FrugalWoods hack for sodastreams, right? They did some weird welding thing to use a giant bottle of CO2, or something (I know nothing about how sodastreams work).

Melody

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #76 on: August 25, 2016, 04:47:23 PM »
Researched buying a soda stream (because i feel bad about all the soda water bottles our household goes through).

You've seen the FrugalWoods hack for sodastreams, right? They did some weird welding thing to use a giant bottle of CO2, or something (I know nothing about how sodastreams work).
The soda stream costs $84 to set up (machine plus 3 bottles) and $19 to refill the canister thereafter. (Each canister makes 60L of soda water.) So we would have to drink about 120L for the payback period (so for our household about 1 year). We still decided to do it because of environmental reasons  (lots of plastic bottles not having to be transported or recycled) and convenience  (bottles are heavy and we both like to shop by walking or bike). After the initial year $19 per 60L ispretty good.

Likewise after reading this thread we bought some who gives a crap. If anyone reading this (new customer) wants $10 off use code doinggoodlookinggood

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Fresh Bread

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #77 on: August 25, 2016, 05:03:49 PM »
Our toilet rolls arrived two days ago, v pleased with the quality. I ordered 48 for the best value and now we have a toilet roll storage problem! I have made an art installation in the spare room, at least the wrappers are pretty.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #78 on: September 05, 2016, 07:04:49 PM »
Our toilet rolls arrived two days ago, v pleased with the quality. I ordered 48 for the best value and now we have a toilet roll storage problem! I have made an art installation in the spare room, at least the wrappers are pretty.

Are you still finding them, uh, enjoyable? I really like WGAC. Almost time for another order. As a side-benefit, I love not having to buy TP for months at a time.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #79 on: September 05, 2016, 07:30:06 PM »
Housing thermal efficiency update: shade blinds for the deck have been ordered and will hopefully be installed in about a month. My passive solar house enthusiast father* looked at the way the sun hits the deck and the French doors to the deck in the afternoon on the weekend and confirmed that the blinds should make a significant difference to how warm the adjacent rooms get through Summer.

My local window tinting place sent me samples of their laminates which I have blu-tacked to a window to consider. I don't much like reflective tinting anyway, but seeing it in situ has confirmed that it is not the option for me. I think I will get the enerlogic instead. I'm wondering whether it's worth getting an East-facing window tinted; I will be getting the North and West windows tinted for sure.

The other part of my big housing efficiency push is to replace ancient single-pane windows with new double-glazed windows. I've had quotes from two companies, but their quotes annoyingly don't include U value, SGHC, or other technical details that I need to pin down to be sure I'm comparing like-for-like. Following up on that is a job for later in the week.

Smaller things: I'm right in the middle of replacing ornamental deciduous trees with evergreen fruit trees, both to get better bang for buck for the water and other inputs (may as well get fruit out of the garden, right?) and to improve the micro-climate with year-round lush greenery. Also, my hideously energy inefficient washing machine that has been on its last legs for a few years now will soon be replaced with a much more efficient new-to-me model free, courtesy of a sibling's laundry renovation. It won't be the MOST energy or water efficient model ever, but it will be a LOT better than what I'm currently using.

*Pro tip: if your dad is the kind of person who talks about wanting to build a straw bale house, and you as a young adult decide you want to improve the thermal efficiency of your home, your dad will be very happy AND you will get great advice from him.

Eucalyptus

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #80 on: September 05, 2016, 07:42:41 PM »
Our toilet rolls arrived two days ago, v pleased with the quality. I ordered 48 for the best value and now we have a toilet roll storage problem! I have made an art installation in the spare room, at least the wrappers are pretty.

Are you still finding them, uh, enjoyable? I really like WGAC. Almost time for another order. As a side-benefit, I love not having to buy TP for months at a time.

I saw Who Gives A Crap for the first time the other day. I'm a strong believer in water and sanitation charities for bang for buck. I've seen both issues first hand throughout sub saharan africa, and the difference just a good waterpump makes to a village and especially to the women and children in it. The flow on effects are huge, it really is Step 1 in solving the problems of the worlds' poorest (after getting them away from immediate life threatening danger like war zones).

I thought it was a pretty interesting charity model! Last year I donated a few hundred to WaterAid. I wonder which is more efficient though; buying cheap 100% recycled environmentally friendly toilet paper locally in bulk, and then donating the difference to WGAC to a charity like WaterAid (who also do sanitation and toilets, eg in Burkina Faso). I want  to do some calculations as to which results in more $ going to charity. For those who have the motivation and gumption to donate anyway (and a Moustachian budgeter), it might be more efficient to use the first suggestion, though I can totally see how the WGAC model could work for SpendyPants.


HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #81 on: September 05, 2016, 07:46:24 PM »
I saw Who Gives A Crap for the first time the other day. I'm a strong believer in water and sanitation charities for bang for buck. I've seen both issues first hand throughout sub saharan africa, and the difference just a good waterpump makes to a village and especially to the women and children in it. The flow on effects are huge, it really is Step 1 in solving the problems of the worlds' poorest (after getting them away from immediate life threatening danger like war zones).

I thought it was a pretty interesting charity model! Last year I donated a few hundred to WaterAid. I wonder which is more efficient though; buying cheap 100% recycled environmentally friendly toilet paper locally in bulk, and then donating the difference to WGAC to a charity like WaterAid (who also do sanitation and toilets, eg in Burkina Faso). I want  to do some calculations as to which results in more $ going to charity. For those who have the motivation and gumption to donate anyway (and a Moustachian budgeter), it might be more efficient to use the first suggestion, though I can totally see how the WGAC model could work for SpendyPants.

I couldn't find cheap recycled TP locally, so it's a no-brainer for me. Spend the same as I would anyway, but know that it's better for the environment than my other options = win-win.

Fresh Bread

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #82 on: September 06, 2016, 01:07:26 AM »
Our toilet rolls arrived two days ago, v pleased with the quality. I ordered 48 for the best value and now we have a toilet roll storage problem! I have made an art installation in the spare room, at least the wrappers are pretty.

Are you still finding them, uh, enjoyable? I really like WGAC. Almost time for another order. As a side-benefit, I love not having to buy TP for months at a time.

Yes. I give them a double thumbs up.

stripey

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #83 on: September 13, 2016, 04:15:35 AM »
I've been using WGAC for about eighteen months now (and I still have their Chistmas-edition rolls on the shelf). The box of double rolls works out to be $1/double roll. I have no complaints (although I would prefer a locally made option).

Can't comment on their tissues or paper towelling because I don't use either of these items (although I do keep a single box of tissues in case visitors ask for one).

As I tend to do most of my grocery shopping by bicycle or bus, the door delivery option is fantabulous for my situation too.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #84 on: September 18, 2016, 08:09:28 PM »
Convinced Mr Happier that individual serves of raw meat don't need to be put in ziplock bags to be frozen - instead they can be put into Tupperware style containers, thus reducing our consumption of single use plastic. Yay!

Fishindude

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #85 on: September 19, 2016, 06:27:49 AM »
I burn a lot of fuel, drive a big truck, travel a lot, have a large home and buildings, eat out a lot, drink bottled water, and am guilty of being a pretty normal consumer, however my hobby, passion and lifes work of the last 26 years has been a really cool, large scale environmental project.   We purchased a 100 acre row crop grain farm (where we live) which had been farmed hard for many years, corn & beans to bare dirt after harvest and have been converting it into riparian wildlife habitat.   Have eliminated farming, planted over 40,000 trees, 60-70 acres of native prairie grasses, built two large ponds, planted food plots for wildlife, done selective logging and timber stand improvements in forested areas, cleaned up old farm junk, improved springs and water sources, etc., etc.    Have also purchased two smaller adjoining properties to enlarge the footprint and do more of the same.   

We do maintain an energy efficient home and buildings, raise a garden, eat wild game, burn wood for supplemental heat, recycle, try to minimize landfill input, do not litter or pollute, etc.

TravelJunkyQC

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #86 on: September 19, 2016, 08:02:12 AM »
Woke up feeling like shit, no fever, but still sick. Put on my big girl pants and biked to work anyway instead of taking the car. Was wheezing the whole way with my mouth open because I couldn't breathe through my nose, but at least I had the wind at my back.

Brought lunch in a glass container too, because of course.

It's 10 am and I'm already looking forward to bedtime tonight.

jengod

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #87 on: September 19, 2016, 10:35:41 AM »
I burn a lot of fuel, drive a big truck, travel a lot, have a large home and buildings, eat out a lot, drink bottled water, and am guilty of being a pretty normal consumer, however my hobby, passion and lifes work of the last 26 years has been a really cool, large scale environmental project.   We purchased a 100 acre row crop grain farm (where we live) which had been farmed hard for many years, corn & beans to bare dirt after harvest and have been converting it into riparian wildlife habitat.   Have eliminated farming, planted over 40,000 trees, 60-70 acres of native prairie grasses, built two large ponds, planted food plots for wildlife, done selective logging and timber stand improvements in forested areas, cleaned up old farm junk, improved springs and water sources, etc., etc.    Have also purchased two smaller adjoining properties to enlarge the footprint and do more of the same.   

We do maintain an energy efficient home and buildings, raise a garden, eat wild game, burn wood for supplemental heat, recycle, try to minimize landfill input, do not litter or pollute, etc.

AWESOME. Can you share more about your projecct? Do you have a website or a blog? Who are your influences--I've been reading a lot of John Seymour books and permaculture texts lately and it all sounds like it's in the same wheelhouse, but curious what inspires you?

Our environmental stuff:
* Participated in the coastal cleanup day this weekend with the Cub Scouts, collecting several buckets of trash from the banks of the local creek, keeping it from becoming part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch come winter rains.
* Send my kids to school with totally reusable lunch kits, no disposables packaging.
Waste is lost profit made visible. #zerowastehome #permaculture

Fishindude

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #88 on: September 19, 2016, 10:52:24 AM »
AWESOME. Can you share more about your projecct? Do you have a website or a blog? Who are your influences--I've been reading a lot of John Seymour books and permaculture texts lately and it all sounds like it's in the same wheelhouse, but curious what inspires you?

No website or blog, but did have an article about my project in The Izaak Walton league monthly magazine several years ago.
I'm just an avid hunter, fisherman, outdoorsman who is lucky enough to have some discretionary income to spend on this passion.   In addition to what I've self funded, there are numerous federal programs you can enroll land in for habitat improvement.   Some pays and annual fee to the landowner, some reduces your tax base, and some share the cost of plantings.  I've gotten to know folks at my local soil office and utilized these programs when they made sense.
I guess the real motivation was seeing the wood lots, swamps and habitat that we enjoyed loafing around in as kids being gradually stripped, leveled and planted with crops.  Felt like if my family and friends were going to have local recreation land, then I better take care of and improve what we have.   These days I enjoy the habitat work nearly as much as the recreation.

clarkai

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #89 on: September 19, 2016, 06:15:24 PM »
Today I:

+ Rode my bike to school.
+ Prepared a legume-based lunch.
+ Used up the last of some greens that were about to go, and composted the rest.

Tonight I'll:

+ Start chickpeas in the slow cooker for lunch tomorrow.
+ Prep breakfast tonight so that it's super quick tomorrow.
+ Go to bed early, thus saving light- I'm super exhausted today.

Jack

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #90 on: September 21, 2016, 01:46:22 PM »
On another note, I really love how the environmentalist choice is usually the healthy and frugal choice as well.

That's not a coincidence. Once you account for all externalities, "most sustainable" and "cheapest" become synonymous.

Why would you be mad to double glaze - does it not make that much more of a difference compared to replacing old windows with new single-pane windows?

I have to admit, I love the look of my 1948 leadlight windows, so double glazing appealed to me for the simple fact that you can apparently layer the beautiful original glass with the new stuff, i.e. keep the 'look' of the old ones while gaining the efficiency of new windows. Yes, I'm a sucker for my beautiful old house.

Considering total lifecycle costs, double-pane windows can be less sustainable than keeping the existing windows. (Double-pane vs. single-pane when you're insisting on replacement windows regardless is a different question.) An important component of this issue is the fact that old windows were made with old-growth wood that lasts forever (with proper maintenance) whereas new double-pane windows have rubber seals and things that will tend to fail sooner rather than later (years or decades, not centuries).

Brokenreign

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #91 on: September 21, 2016, 02:24:59 PM »
Fun topic!

Today I:
- Will not consume animal products
- Will tend my garden and harvest basil to make pesto, chard and bok choy for stir fry, and see if any squash are ready
- Will eat leftovers out of recycled take-out containers
- Will not give birth to any children :)

I was going to quip that I used a condom today but you beat me to the punch. Also it would be disingenuous to claim sex on a Wednesday. Kudo to you sir/ma'am/gender neutral descriptor.

Most of the food I ate today was stuff that was going to be thrown away at the office.

Continued my multi-week streak of no driving and no meat.

Stared at my tiny phone screen instead of my power-hungry work desktop screen, for the environment of course.

I don't really concern myself with the environment but being frugal, hating driving and not procreating seems to have positive results in the end.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #92 on: September 27, 2016, 08:16:31 PM »
Today I'm planting some of the fruit trees and plants I bought yesterday; in the short term buying fruit trees is 'consumption' but in the long term they will provide food for us and shelter for animals. If I'm going to 'spend' water on my garden anyway, I'd like it to be productive.

I'll also be sowing seeds for flowers to attract and feed bees and other beneficial insects.

Breakfast and lunch are both vegan today.

Why would you be mad to double glaze - does it not make that much more of a difference compared to replacing old windows with new single-pane windows?

I have to admit, I love the look of my 1948 leadlight windows, so double glazing appealed to me for the simple fact that you can apparently layer the beautiful original glass with the new stuff, i.e. keep the 'look' of the old ones while gaining the efficiency of new windows. Yes, I'm a sucker for my beautiful old house.

Considering total lifecycle costs, double-pane windows can be less sustainable than keeping the existing windows. (Double-pane vs. single-pane when you're insisting on replacement windows regardless is a different question.) An important component of this issue is the fact that old windows were made with old-growth wood that lasts forever (with proper maintenance) whereas new double-pane windows have rubber seals and things that will tend to fail sooner rather than later (years or decades, not centuries).

Didn't realise I hadn't commented further on double glazing since this comment. We do need to replace the original windows (boo) if we're going to get anything approaching decent thermal efficiency. Given we're replacing anyway, I've done heaps of research and we're going ahead with double glazed windows.

Sandia

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #93 on: September 27, 2016, 10:41:43 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

When i was a kid my family used the washer's dirty water to water the lawn. The amount of soap that was used was very little, and didn't cause any problems with local plants/grass

We toss the washing machine outlet hose out the window into a garden. So far, so good. To be on the safe side, we buy washing powder that claims to be environmentally friendly, and use half or less the recommended amount (clothes are just as clean).

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #94 on: September 27, 2016, 10:52:24 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

When i was a kid my family used the washer's dirty water to water the lawn. The amount of soap that was used was very little, and didn't cause any problems with local plants/grass

We toss the washing machine outlet hose out the window into a garden. So far, so good. To be on the safe side, we buy washing powder that claims to be environmentally friendly, and use half or less the recommended amount (clothes are just as clean).

I don't use laundry detergent at all after someone whose husband worked in a lab creating detergents told me that they don't actually do anything (it's the agitation and water that does the actual cleaning). I'm not sure it's strictly true, but my clothes are just as clean now as when we used detergent.

Sandia

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #95 on: September 27, 2016, 11:08:30 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

When i was a kid my family used the washer's dirty water to water the lawn. The amount of soap that was used was very little, and didn't cause any problems with local plants/grass

We toss the washing machine outlet hose out the window into a garden. So far, so good. To be on the safe side, we buy washing powder that claims to be environmentally friendly, and use half or less the recommended amount (clothes are just as clean).

I don't use laundry detergent at all after someone whose husband worked in a lab creating detergents told me that they don't actually do anything (it's the agitation and water that does the actual cleaning). I'm not sure it's strictly true, but my clothes are just as clean now as when we used detergent.

GASP I don't know why I never thought to ditch the laundry soap completely. Thanks Happier! Do you know if this works for hankerchiefs? They are by far the dirtiest thing we wash (they even get their own separate load).
I'll have to keep the soap around for the housemates, but cutting out my own consumption would be grand.

HappierAtHome

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #96 on: September 27, 2016, 11:21:07 PM »
Does anyone have any experience using grey water residentially? I have a very small yard; we estimate our watering at around 3500 gallons per month.

Not yet, but I've started looking into the local regulations for grey water in my city.

Do you collect rainwater from your roof already? That's something I want to look into soon.

When i was a kid my family used the washer's dirty water to water the lawn. The amount of soap that was used was very little, and didn't cause any problems with local plants/grass

We toss the washing machine outlet hose out the window into a garden. So far, so good. To be on the safe side, we buy washing powder that claims to be environmentally friendly, and use half or less the recommended amount (clothes are just as clean).

I don't use laundry detergent at all after someone whose husband worked in a lab creating detergents told me that they don't actually do anything (it's the agitation and water that does the actual cleaning). I'm not sure it's strictly true, but my clothes are just as clean now as when we used detergent.

GASP I don't know why I never thought to ditch the laundry soap completely. Thanks Happier! Do you know if this works for hankerchiefs? They are by far the dirtiest thing we wash (they even get their own separate load).
I'll have to keep the soap around for the housemates, but cutting out my own consumption would be grand.

I don't know for a fact that it would work for hankies, but why not give it a go and see? Worst that could happen is that you'd have to run a load again.

Fishindude

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #97 on: September 28, 2016, 05:04:53 AM »
How does being vegetarian reduce environmental impact?
Vegetables require oxygen and nutrients to grow, same as animals fish & fowl.

ShoulderThingThatGoesUp

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #98 on: September 28, 2016, 06:15:09 AM »
This weekend I participated in planting ~30 trees and shrubs to create a riparian buffer near a stream in my community. I've gone several times to remove invasive knotweed as well. We're working on reducing erosion and mowed area.

Also, I barely ever use gasoline since our one car is a PHEV. We didn't drive a huge amount to begin with, but we've probably saved 70 gallons of gasoline since June.

Haven't used any climate control in the past two weeks, either, except the occasional fan on.

ETA: I've also been drinking leftover coffee from the event for the past several days rather than making my own, since I knew Starbucks would have to throw it away. (They donated it.)
« Last Edit: September 28, 2016, 06:16:48 AM by ShoulderThingThatGoesUp »

GuitarStv

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Re: What small things did you do today to reduce your environmental impact?
« Reply #99 on: September 28, 2016, 05:21:16 PM »
How does being vegetarian reduce environmental impact?
Vegetables require oxygen and nutrients to grow, same as animals fish & fowl.

While it's certainly possible to sabotage vegetarian/vegan food so that it's less environmentally friendly (eating 2000 calories of cucumber or lettuce that was flown across the country is a pretty big impact), it's generally a smaller environmental footprint to eat fewer animal products.  Most farmed meat requires that plant material be grown and shipped to location, then yields less per calorie from the meat than what was put into the animal via feed for example.