Tiny House, Tiny Living, The Tiny Life.

Posts Tagged Green & Eco Friendly

Next Generation Home

So I recently read a comment written by one of our readers, Jason, he made an interesting point when he said (paraphrasing) at what point can we take a house and stop it from consuming, to producing.  This is a very interest notion, traditionally houses and their systems require resources to operate, to maintain, to use etc.  Now being a producer could mean the house itself produces, a system within the house, the person who lives in the house; how can we turn this negative into a positive?

So it left me wondering how could I have a house that doesn’t consume, but produces; while this might actually be impossible if you start looking at the laws of physics it might be a more accurate statement that a house that can offset the inputs with it’s outputs.  But is this even possible?

The average American home creates 4 tons of waste in just its construction, the average house produces almost 90,000 pounds of carbon emissions.  Now a Tiny House will drastically reduces the amount you have to offset, but it will still be a good bit.  Here are some ideas that could help us get closer to making our house a producer, not a consumer.

Reduce your usage right off the bat

First and foremost I would urge you to first reduce what you consume, being conscious of what you consume, if you have to purchase something, think about how you can extend the life of it or if you can use something that you have to preform the function.  Finally if you have to use something, recycle or up-cycle it.

Grow your home

How about instead of building a home, you grow one!  Here are two idea, the first is a real example that is being used already, the other is a concept that is grown from protein structures.

Green Roofs

Not only does the roof process CO2, but it can grow food and drastically reduce cooling and heating costs.  This isn’t a new concept but still an attractive concept.

Green Power

Now obviously it take energy and resources to produce solar panels, geo-thermal taps, and wind turbines, so you have to take into account how much you have to produce to just offset the production, but I would suspect you could make up the difference and then some over the lifetime of the products.

What other ideas could make your home a producer, not a consumer?

How Green Is The Next National Security Plan

So I have been kicking around this idea for a week or two now and it certainly isn’t a entirely new concept, but it is the concept that by taking actions on the green front, will actually enhance our security.  Now before we get into this, I would like to steer clear of political aspect of this discussion, with the side note those who focus on Green initiatives are sometimes seen as the polar opposites to those who focus on National Security.  I think many would disagree with this view and those who didn’t could be brought to the table and see both sides.    The other thing that I would assert is that this concept isn’t exclusive to America, I speak generally about the world.  So here are a few examples of the threats I see and their solutions.

To expand on what I consider national security I think it is important to note that national security extends beyond terrorism and nuclear armaments.  It includes anything from any source that can threaten our safety, well being and long term livability.  This includes drought, blight, natural disaster, war, terrorism, etc.

Food

If you have ever seen the documentary Food Inc. (which I highly recommend) talks about how 90% of the corn and 60% of all soy beans come from one company that are one strain.  This means that a blight, whether engineered or natural, were to hit our country, we would loose 90% of all our corn in one fell swoop.  This is pretty concerning when you truly understand how much of our food comes form corn and in really unexpected forms.  If you look at how many individual strains of food we actually grow for the majority of our food, we are talking 22 types of plants with a specific strain make up 80% of our food.  Can we afford to lose 80% of our food?

So how to fix it.  We first need to encourage a larger diversity of plants, the idea being that some blights will effect some strains of plants and not others.  We then need to decentralize our food production, moving food production closer to the people.  This will take time, money and in all honesty could turn out to be more expensive as economies of scale decreases, but we also need to put a price on sleeping soundly at night.

Energy

I don’t think it takes any stretch of the imagination to see how us depending on other countries  for oil is a bad thing.  Especially when you consider that most sources of this oil are in politically unstable areas.  One thing we see as an option is to drill off shore, which as of late, we have seen how bad that has turned out to be.  The fact is that there may be a large volume of oil out there, but it is still a finite resource and it is getting harder and harder to get to.  With increased difficulty comes increased risk and while innovations can mitigate those risks, I am still left doubting it.

So the solution, I say save what we have in our country and lets focus on sustainable technologies.  While people talk about nuclear, I have to remind them of the heavy subsidies they get every year.  Nuclear is a pretty mature technology, I assert that if we took these subsidies and used them to develop solar/wind into mature technologies that we could come out on top.  The added benefit to this is that we can then decentralize power production to avoid 50 well place bombs to take out most of our power production.

To sum up I think that we are beginning to see how Green is better for everyone in many ways.  I found this video done by Pew which is pretty interesting.

Climate Patriots from Laura Lightbody on Vimeo.

Tree Museum

I came upon an article talking about Switzerland’s new tree museum, at first I had this wide range of negative reactions.  What have we come to?  Are we already at a place where we have to house these trees because we have damaged the earth so much?  etc etc.  The song Pave Paradise by Joni Mitchell (popularized by Counting Crows)

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot
They took all the trees, and put em in a tree museum
And they charged the people a dollar and a half to see them
Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you got till it’s gone
They paved paradise, and put up a parking lot

But as I was thinking about this whole concept while taking a shower, which is where I do my best thinking, I realized a few things.  First off, Switzerland is generally a pretty low impact place, not great, but not bad.  The second thing, the more important thing was thing: A museum is a structure that holds a culture’s/nation’s/etc best achievements.  The objects found in museams are held in a very high esteem, they are symbolic of humanity in a way, we find great value in them.  They inspire, they drive introspection, they ask questions that many are afraid to ask.

So as I come along this thought line I realize what this Tree Museam stands for.  A deep reverence for nature.   We are holding these plant, this earth in the highest esteem, we are saying that of everything that man has created, those things in the natural world we hold high on a pedestal.  I always wonder if aliens form another world where to come to our planet and look at us after we are gone, what would they think?  I think examples like this speak highly for us.  That regardless of our innovations, plants are seen as culturally important.

Maybe I am reading into it too much. What do you think?]

Tree Museum

9 Green Home DIY Projects You Can Do Now!

Great tips on some quick things you can do right now to help green your home and make your green go a bit further.

1. Change your light bulbs already! How many environmentalists does it take to change a light bulb? There are several answers to this joke (none of them that funny), but the real answer is: “all of them.” In your home, lighting accounts for nearly 30 percent of all electricity use. By using compact fluorescent bulbs, you can cut lighting costs by 30 to 60 percent, while improving the quality of the light and reducing environmental impact at the same time.
2. Convince your toilet to use less water. More water is consumed per person in the United States than in any other country. More than a quarter of all of the water used inside the home is flushed down the toilet, which is, literally, a waste. The toilet is the single largest user of clean drinking water inside the home, and it is also the easiest place to conserve water. Before you run out and replace your existing toilets, there are simple and effective things you can do to trick your old toilet to use less water, from flush adapters to flusher adjustments and tank tricks. And when the time comes to replace your working toilets, make sure you buy a low-flow or dual-flush model.
3. Use less water in the shower. Showers add up to nearly 20 percent of all indoor water usage and are the largest users of hot water. By simply installing a low-flow showerhead, you can save up to 4,000 gallons of water annually, and for every gallon of hot water you save, that’s gas or electricity you don’t need to use to heat it. If your average shower is 10 minutes long, upgrading your old showerheads to a low-flow model will save 25 to 55 gallons of water for every shower you take, and potentially shave 30 percent off utility bills!
4. Keep vampires at bay. In the average home, 75 percent of the electricity used to power home electronics—cable boxes, DVD players, video games, stereos—is consumed while the products are turned off. That’s money that could stay in your pocket. If something is plugged into the wall—a TV, a cellphone charger, an appliance- even if it’s not on, it draws electricity. We call this demand of energy “phantom loads” or, more appropriately, “vampire loads,” since they suck energy. While the amount of power used is relatively small, they can add up to more than 10 percent of your electricity bill.
Read the full article here

Ecospace – Tiny House

Here is a Tiny House that comes from the Designers at Ecospace.  They design a full range of building from small office pods and bigger.  Using SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels) these houses can be put together fairly quickly.  At only a few hundred feet, they pack a ton into this thing.  At around $55,000 this is a premium house, but I feel it serves to provide good inspirations for your own design.

outside

Made from sustainable cedar wood with an optional plant covered roof, low-energy heating, lighting and insulation, it’s right at home with the environment as well as your garden. Use it as your office and the garden commute will do wonders for your carbon footprint too.

loft

looking down

Click link below for more photos!

Read more

Page 112345...Last »