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Surrey Hills house
Surrey Hills house. In 2001, my partner Lena and I were faced with the prospect of living in a dark and dingy 1930’s duplex “one of a pair” solid brick dwelling built in 1930, renovating it, or buying another house. The old house had a maze of small pokey rooms. We viewed the high cost of selling and buying property, where a lot of money goes to the “middlemen and the taxman”, as a waste of money. We were really keen to make maximum use of the sun for heating and natural lighting, and decided to go ahead with renovating. We prepared a detailed brief covering our requirements, with a strong focus on low environmental impact features. After discussing the project with Andreas and Judy Sederof from Sunpower Design, we felt confident that we could achieve what we wanted, although the site and the existing dwelling presented challenges. It soon became clear to us that the expertise and ideas that experienced “sustainable and solar efficient” architects provide is invaluable.

There is growing interest in the community about sustainable housing and there has been a lot of recent media attention on climate change and Victoria's drought. There are significant opportunities for government to further promote the design and building of energy-efficient and sustainable buildings, both through incentive programs and legislation. The Bracks government announcement of another brown coal power station in Victoria is a step in the wrong direction.

We need to keep political pressure on for development and promotion of the use of renewable energy and set some stretch goals for sustainable housing. It may be cheaper to put solar panels on everyone’s house rather than build another greenhouse gas belching power station. Every new dwelling should have solar hot water and large rainwater tanks. Solar efficient dwellings are good for the environment and very pleasant to live in.

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Portal:Green living/Selected page/1

Awsome thermal curtains
How to make awesome thermal curtains.

Step 1. Measure the windows to be treated with thermal curtains. Be careful on how you convert your measurements into the fabric yard.

Step 2. Obtain the batting material and decorative fabric material. It is best if you can use recycled or sustainable material. Keep in mind that you want sturdy material that is not going to stretch or rip easily. Twill works best, while jersey is impractical.

Step 3. Wash the decorative fabric material before you fabricate your thermal curtains.

Step 4. Cut the batting material and the fabric out according to the measurements of the window, giving an allowance of 2 inches around the perimeter of the decorative fabric material. Remember, it is better to be a little over than too short.

Step 5. Pin the fabric on to the batting material so that it makes sewing easier. With the Warm Windows batting material, the fabric-side of the batting material must face the decorative-side of the fabric material.

Step 6. Use a sewing machine to sew the fabric to the batting material.

Step 7. Make holes in the material along the top for the grommets to be put into.

Step 8. Sew Velcro onto the sides of the curtain panels that need to be sealed onto the wall. Position and set Velcro on the walls relative to the position of the Velcro on the curtains. This allows for better insulation.

Step 9. Install the curtain rod and hang up the curtains.

Step 10. Make curtain ties out of the extra material, if any, if you want to be able to tie the curtains back.

And Voila!

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Green living/Selected page/2

Surrey Hills house
Surrey Hills house. In 2001, my partner Lena and I were faced with the prospect of living in a dark and dingy 1930’s duplex “one of a pair” solid brick dwelling built in 1930, renovating it, or buying another house. The old house had a maze of small pokey rooms. We viewed the high cost of selling and buying property, where a lot of money goes to the “middlemen and the taxman”, as a waste of money. We were really keen to make maximum use of the sun for heating and natural lighting, and decided to go ahead with renovating. We prepared a detailed brief covering our requirements, with a strong focus on low environmental impact features. After discussing the project with Andreas and Judy Sederof from Sunpower Design, we felt confident that we could achieve what we wanted, although the site and the existing dwelling presented challenges. It soon became clear to us that the expertise and ideas that experienced “sustainable and solar efficient” architects provide is invaluable.

There is growing interest in the community about sustainable housing and there has been a lot of recent media attention on climate change and Victoria's drought. There are significant opportunities for government to further promote the design and building of energy-efficient and sustainable buildings, both through incentive programs and legislation. The Bracks government announcement of another brown coal power station in Victoria is a step in the wrong direction.

We need to keep political pressure on for development and promotion of the use of renewable energy and set some stretch goals for sustainable housing. It may be cheaper to put solar panels on everyone’s house rather than build another greenhouse gas belching power station. Every new dwelling should have solar hot water and large rainwater tanks. Solar efficient dwellings are good for the environment and very pleasant to live in.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Green living/Selected page/3

After being hung up overnight in a breezy location, shirts worn once (even in the tropics!) smell quite fresh enough to wear again.
Washing and drying clothes. Washing and drying clothing are common activities that can use a lot of energy - if we aren't careful. But there are a lot of things, most importantly washing in cold water and line drying, which are not only greener, but will make your clothes last longer (as long as you don't leave them outside too long, to fade).

Why does it matter? - Energy usage: We need to use less energy with efficient washers and cold water (unless there is abundant solar hot water), and use renewable energy where possible.

Water usage: The more water we use, the harder it is to process the waste water, and the more strain we place on the water supply.

Water pollution: Minimize the use of detergent. Consider these words about the chemicals you use. Once people appreciate that they make other things dirty when they make their clothes clean, they think differently about what they're doing.

Labor: You have better things to do than wash clothes, and you'd rather your hands didn't become dry and cracked, so you would probably choose a washing machine over hand-washing your clothes. Reducing the need for washing: Environmental impact and labor can both be saved by measures that reduce the need for washing: suitable choice of clothes (color and fabric) and habits such as hanging and airing clothes. See the Clothing page for more detailed suggestions.

Saving energy: About 90% of the energy used for washing clothes is for heating the water. There are two ways to reduce the amount of energy used for washing clothes—use less water and use cooler water. Unless you're dealing with oily stains, the warm or cold water setting on your machine will generally do a good job of cleaning your clothes. Switching your temperature setting from hot to warm can cut a load's energy use in half.

...Archive/Nominations

Portal:Green living/Selected page/4

You can have a Green Christmas.
You can have a Green Christmas. Often the best time of year for catching up with family and friends, it's also the biggest time of spending - on presents, food, alcohol, parties and holidays. Unfortunately, all of our spending and consumption results in significant environmental damage and carbon pollution. However, you don't have to be a scrooge to reduce your carbon footprint at Christmas. Here are tips for a more sustainable festive season.

Buy a service, not a product: To reduce embodied carbon pollution and water consumption, think about buying someone a service - say a voucher for a massage, rather than a massaging appliance. Vouchers for other services, (such as gardening or housecleaning) or film and theatre tickets are also good. Beware gifts that will increase the recipient's motor travel.

Buy gift vouchers: Gift vouchers are a good thing for the environment. People use them to get exactly what they want. And they can use its value for a purchase in the store at any time after christmas. Make sure the validity is at least 6 months or a year, so that recipient will not forget to use it before it expires.

Buy gifts that give twice: Give your friends and family membership to charities, overseas aid groups or environment organisations.

Buy carbon offsets: You can choose the amount you want to spend and offset someone's car travel, household energy use or airline travel, once-off or for a year.

Buy energy saving gifts: For energy saving gifts to really save energy, generally they must be tailored to the recipient's circumstances. Many of these items require behavior adjustments to be fully effective, so be conscious of what the recipient is willing to do to get the full energy savings from such a product.

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