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#274799 - 02/10/09 07:59 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
Bigtoe Offline
Major Contributor

Registered: 10/14/07
Posts: 2238
Loc: Outer Banks
I guess there are 2 types of "grey water". The 2 "grey water" systems I am familiar with are used in 2 subdivisions. The "grey water" is treated effluent that is being sprayed on the lawns instead of on leach fields. The "grey water" comes from all of the waste that the houses create not just sink water.

These systems work great when they are brand new but as with all mechanical systems efficiency goes down with time and eventually components break down. Both systems here are brand new and were installed not to be green but to save on the cost of the land required for the leach fields.
_________________________
Your Outer Banks real estate agent. Helping people buy and sell OBX real estate since 1989.

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#274970 - 02/10/09 06:35 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Bigtoe]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
There are different ways of doing grey water systems... it is more about thinking about the ways to reduce the water usage by reusing some water in other places where possible.
For example, some systems take the grey water from sinks and showers and funnel them into toilet water (where it is just going to be met with waste anyways), or into other uses.
Waste water with phosphates and other chemicals should not be leached into the soil! It can be incredibly harmful to the health of the community and the environment. Certain chemicals that we flush down the toilet or wash with are incredibly harmful to plant and animal life (including humans). This includes our use of anti-bacterial soaps. Exposure to low-level antibiotics makes for more resistant strains of bacteria that will no longer be responsive to anti-biotics. There is only soo much water, and we just continue to add more phosphates, more anti-biotics, more pharmeceticals, more chemicals to a limited supply. We are constantly exposed to low levels of chemicals which can cause all sorts of problems to our health and well-being.
Of course components will break down (just like roofs, heating systems, etc)-- but if maintained properly they can last for many many years. These systems are incredibly cost effective. In fact, they can actually save as much as 50% (or more) from your water usage, meaning great savings.

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#276377 - 02/17/09 03:49 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
A quick way to be more sustainable in your business-- use business cards, mailers and advertising that are more environmentally conscious.
There are many companies now that offer business cards and other advertising on recycled paper or use non-toxic materials. Google "recycled business cards", you'll find at least one company. They can also use vegetable based inks and water reduced printing systems. Think of how much waste your company creates in mailers, business cards, etc. This could be drastically reduced by taking a little more effort to find a different printer. It is also a unique way to advertise yourself and set yourself apart.
Little things can make a big difference.

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#276546 - 02/18/09 01:36 PM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: RC21]
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Let's help get ourselves out of the building slump by providing some alternatives in the market. North America is slowly getting behind by not upping its commitment to sustainable technologies.
Check out
http://www.propertywire.com/hot-topics/sustainable-housing.html
for some details on global sustainable properties.

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#278553 - 02/28/09 01:33 PM Wind Energy
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
It costs anywhere between $2,000-$8,000/per kilowatt power produced to purchase a small wind turbine. However, the wind turbine costs represent only 12%-48% of the total cost of a small wind electric system. There are also costs for other components, such as inverters and batteries, as well as sales tax, installation charges and labour. People sometimes opt to install the turbine themselves.

After installation, there are maintenance costs, as with any mechanical device. These are said to average approximately 1% of the original cost per year. The blades and bearings need to be replaced approximately every ten years. The wind turbine can last 20-30 years (or longer) if properly installed and maintained. It must be oiled, greased and safety inspected regularly. Bolts and electrical connections must be checked annually, along with checking for corosion and to ensure proper tension on the guy wires.

In cold conditions the turbine will have to de-iced and the batteries must be stored in an insulated place. Turbines should never be placed on a rooftop, as they are said to cause damage to the roof through vibrations. There have also been some complaints of noise or vibrations causing discomfort to those living inside a home with a turbine on the roof.

The turbine does produce noise. From a distance of 250 m away a typical wind turbine produces approximately 45 dB (A) decibels) of noise. This is similar to the noise inside a typical office building. If not properly installed or maintained, turbines have the potential to get louder.

The blades of most turbines are made of fibreglass or wood, and as such are transparent to electromagnetic waves such as radio and tv.

They should be placed in a large open area with a certain level of wind (which varies depending on the type and size of the turbine). It is recommended to have them in an open area free of trees or buildings, approximately 1/2 an acre or more in size for best use.

From what I have read, the claim that wind turbines are dangerous to birds is misleading, with a large window on a home posing more of a threat. This can be reduced with certain measures, such as netting.

Wind power does not create toxic by-products in its generation. Some of the material inside the batteries can be toxic, and should be disposed of properly. Overall, the environmental impact and toxicity of turbines is considerably less than the use of fossil-based or nuclear energy. The electrical components should be stored properly to keep away children or animals, like any other mechanical or electronic devices capable of carrying electricity.

There are a couple types of wind turbines, the horizontal axis wind turbine (HAWT) and the vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), a design more like an egg-beater.

An adequate wind turbine can generate 50-100%+ of a household energy needs. If it creates a surplus of energy, this energy can usually be sold to a local energy provider. How much do you pay for energy every year? If your energy bill was $0 every year, how much would you save? How long would these savings take to pay for the system? Probably much less than 20 years, the lifespan of a typical wind turbine.

A wind turbine is not for every property or person, and is best used in combination with other energy systems (such as passive heating and cooling, geothermal systems and solar devices). But if you live in a rural environment and have space available, it is an option you should consider. There are government grants available to help subsidize the costs, and savings in the long term will help pay for the system.

If you had the property available to install a wind turbine would you?

Have you heard any success or horror stories about wind power?

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#284384 - 03/31/09 11:00 PM No fuel, no power home.
RC21 Offline
Member

Registered: 12/16/08
Posts: 84
Loc: Kitchener, Waterloo, and Cambr...
Constant year-round temperature in your home with no outside power or fuel necessary:
http://enertia.com/Home/tabid/36/Default.aspx

Thought it was interesting.

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#286723 - 04/19/09 05:55 AM Planet Forward - Watch PBS and prepare to be informed
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Just caught this program tonight but I think it premiered on April 15. Planet Forward is a very impressive undertaking - Panels of people concerned abut where energy is headed...discussions, videos, short documentaries, plus a rap song and a cartoon and an absolutely entertaining and informative approach to getting a lot of different ideas on the table for discussion. I don't know how to describe it to make it sound interesting, but I couldn't leave the screen. This program includes experts, policymakers, citizens and the American consumer. People will have a chance to be heard on their opinion of the challenge in front of us. This could be the venue that the average American uses to stay informed and to share ideas on one of the biggest challenges of our times: Do we leave the fossil fuels behind? If so, how do we do it?

According to their web site, the discussion's just beginning on Planet Forward. Selected citizen contributors will be featured on the Planet Forward web sequel, which premiers May 21.

Even the statistics were impressive. They did a fantastic job of discussing the costs of a lot of our options, at least as best they can be estimated.

The solar panels we see now will soon be built into the shingles that go on the roof - that was great info. I also learned that, like my propane bottles on my travel trailer, the batteries in electric cars will soon be switched out or charged at battery stations.

The program dealt with what other countries are doing as well as our options. Of course, the solution will be a little of everything, not one single answer. The web site should have lots of good info. Not sure if this program will be ongoing or is just a short run series. If at all possible, try to watch it or take in the web site.

I was happy to see a happy homeowner showing a monthly check for $98 that the light company paid him for his unused energy. The initial setup was pricey, of course. I did like the way the program addressed costs on the areas they were covering.

Try to catch this program. You won't be sorry.


Edited by Darlene B (04/19/09 05:56 AM)

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#297297 - 07/06/09 03:57 PM Steel Framed Homes
Alex11 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 32
Loc: California, Mission Viejo
Is anyone working with steel framed homes?
A friend owns a company that builds them. I am wondering how much demand there is for green building in this market.

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#297459 - 07/07/09 02:12 PM Re: No fuel, no power home. [Re: RC21]
Alex11 Offline
Member

Registered: 06/10/09
Posts: 32
Loc: California, Mission Viejo
The site is interesting. The packages are pretty expensive. Do you know anybody who has used them?

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#297460 - 07/07/09 02:34 PM Re: No fuel, no power home. [Re: Alex11]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
http://enertia.com/WhatsNew/Testimonials/tabid/112/Default.aspx

That is the link to the testimonial page on the web site.

These homes are probably few and far between compared to conventional subdivision homes. It will be a while before most of us can say we have been inside one. As these new techniques become more widespread in the coming years, we will see a shift to customized homebuilding and a thinning out of the conventional homebuilders. Actually, the customized, innovative homebuilding will become conventional. Won't that be great?

Somehow I overlooked this post. I will spend some time in the web site tonight.

Today's subdivisions will be peaking out a lot sooner than subdivsions 40 or 50 years ago. Back then, homeowners had very little to tempt them except bigger kitchens and CH/A. Today at least some buyers feel that will take money that a large subdivision home would cost and put it into a smaller home that offers long range savings.

Great site, RC21.

Excuse any typos. My home is full of yellow jackets, and we have no formal weapons agreement.

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#305158 - 09/05/09 02:17 AM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Alex11]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast

Alex, I somehow overlooked this post. I would like to see this thread on steel framed housing get some feedback.

Check this out...the Steel Framing Alliance. I found this on their web site...Sustainable Green Steel Framed Homes. Here is link to that web page:

http://www.designandbuildwithmetal.com/AIA_CEU/Programs/sfa_sfa506.aspx

I spotted this link on the website for metal roofing. The name says it all.

http://www.coolmetalroofing.org/

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#370829 - 03/26/11 10:49 PM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I love these little pocket communities. See what you think about these small clusters of green homes. Kinda pricy but what a great life these folks must have living in one of these communities.

http://www.cottagecompany.com/

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#372992 - 04/17/11 08:46 PM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
ReferralAgents Offline
Member

Registered: 04/06/11
Posts: 22
Loc: Florida, USA
Wow, I would say very pricey. What would be more intersting to see is the trade off of paying for a more expensive home with less square footage and how that relates to the savings/benefits you would receive for living in the green home. Plus, what is the maintanence cost for the up keep of the green components of the building.

Don't get me wrong, I love green homes and green building, I'm a LEED AP, just wish there was more evidence provided by the builder/developer about the maintenance costs and so on. Just selling some one on the idea of a green home is sometimes just a marketing scam and real facts on savings as well as the true benefits of the engery efficient design would be nice to see once and awhile.

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#373008 - 04/18/11 04:51 AM Re: Steel Framed Homes [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
I think the cluster or pocket neighborhoods offer more than just the green home...they offer a lifestyle that appeals to many people. Instant friendships with people who have common goals, weekend barbecues with the neighbors, walking trails where the kids will be safe, fewer homes so strangers will not be confused with neighborhood residents, bike trails so folks don't have to travel to the spa to get a little exercise. Possibly those items drive up the price some. The Cottage homes in the link were in Puget Sound and had waterfront access, so that would have some impact.

I am very happy green homes are sprouting up, especially after the last ten years of boxes with cathedral ceilings and short driveways. How disgusting it is to see these subdivisions with huge homes so close together that they look like one long townhome project when you first enter the subdivision. Cars have to park everywhere because the builder did not provide a small lot for visitor parking. Driveways are short so cars stick out over the sidewalks and force kids, seniors and the disabled into the street. They are tomorrow's sad neighborhoods.

You do have an excellent point about the trade-off. While it is wonderful that green building is now accepted by mainstream buyers and builders in the residential markets, there will be problems for a long time as technology catches up. Today's subdivision sales offices have displays in their lobbies that show the type insulation offered, how it compares to their competition's insulation of choice, samples of their energy efficient windows and lots of convincing handouts. The basic stats and visual aids are there to sway the buyer who is interested. However, doing the type comparison you are discussing will take ready and able green buyers who will ask the right questions and put forth an effort to do some serious due diligence. Hopefully their agents will have some LEED training or at least stand by what they have learned through their green classes. If they have had no green agent training, they can still advise their anxious buyers to look before they leap. I have little doubt these homes will be more green than their competitors with the smaller price tag. Your concerns are more about the long range benefits...and we already have an idea how some of these green homes will score further down the road. They will perform efficiently for a while, then need the maintenance you mentioned (and it will not be cheap), then become outdated as green technology improves by leaps and bounds. Still, if folks buy now and create a market for green homes, then the next generation will benefit just as this one did because twenty years ago people purchased hideous large solar panels for their homes. God bless those folks because that was really a gamble back then given that people had little to go on but a salesperson's promise and a hope for the future. One thing we have going for us is the school children, learning in kindergarten and elementary school about being green...planting, watering, recycling. They will grow up to be the green consumers of tomorrow and they will be able to do their cost studies and make wiser choices.

I will pass on commenting on the marketing scam because you called it correctly. I just wonder how many mold remediators bought new business cards with a new title, "Green Home Consultant" or something close. Education is the answer and the internet is the solution. There is no excuse for not learning how to protect your money if you have a computer.

Please go to the LEED thread and post some information for these buyers when you get time. Some go to subdivisions without any representation at all. They will do well to listen when people with LEED training speak to them. I certainly would if I were going to spend $300,000 more or less on a green home.

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#396523 - 12/09/11 06:24 AM Re: SUSTAINABLE LIVING [Re: Darlene Bitner]
Darlene Bitner Offline
Darlene B
Veteran Member

Registered: 03/10/05
Posts: 1208
Loc: Texas Gulf Coast
Here is some good info on water heaters. Water heaters are always a good topic since they have improved so much over the years and we now have more options. This article points out that the newer options may not be the best...showing some good points about the old water heaters that are now higher tech and more efficient.

http://omparamapoonya.hubpages.com/hub/energy_efficient_water_heaters

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