Posts Tagged Green & Eco Friendly

Osprey House

Here is a Tiny House that was designed to be eco-nomical, eco-friendly, and eco-logical.  Measuring at 523 square feet and $50,000-$100,000 this Tiny House is designed to be setup off the grid.

The Osprey includes a bedroom, bathroom, living room, galley kitchen, and integrated decks.  It can easily go off-the-grid, as well, if that’s what the homeowner wants or needs.  The standing seam metal roof has room for thin-film solar to generate some or all of the home’s energy needs.

  • Energy Star, low-e windows;
  • Energy Star appliances;
  • R21 walls, R19 floors, and R50 ceilings;
  • 15.5 SEER/8.5 HSPF ductless HVAC;
  • On-demand tankless water heater;
  • Zero-VOC paints and an air filtration/cleaning system;
  • Low-flow faucets and showerheads;

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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?

Wine Barrel Floors

So I saw this today and it had such character and the reuse and re purposing of these materials is so neat I had to share.   As most of us know, wine is often fermented in wooden barrels.  Typically these barrels are oak, often from french oak trees, but what I didn’t realize is that they only last about 10 years and cost around $1000 a barrel!  So this company takes the barrels which are often sold for rather cheap, straightens them out, mills then and the installs as wood flooring.

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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.