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Thread: Greening the homestead - Cheaply

  1. #1

    Default Greening the homestead - Cheaply

    I will shortly (as of Friday) be out of work for a little while. Long story.

    I donít want to spend too much time sat on my booty, as that tends to make me very depressed. So, I need to keep busy.

    Iíve looked into volunteering, but most organisations want a long term, regular commitment, and thatís not something I can offer as I will (hopefully) get a job again soon! I also need to Ďdownshiftí for a little while as my health hasnít been so good, and stress has been a big contributor to that.

    Ideally, Iíd like to green the house up a bit, but with only one wage coming in, I wonít be able to spend a lot of money on this. Some of the ideas Iíve come up with are

    Draft proofing the house Ė Itís only heated by a gas fire in the winter but sealing cracks etc might cut down drafts and mean I can turn the heat down more often. In the dead of winter I also use oil filled radiators (I know, green fail) and this might cut down how much I need them on. Lost insulation will have to wait because of the costs.

    Perform some extra appliance maintenance Ė Descale Kettle, Washing Machine, defrost the freezer.. things like that

    Installing a homemade grey water system - I was thinking just some way of collecting water to flush the toilet and water the plants. This would have to be homemade as I canít afford an expensive system at the moment.!

    Crafting a loft fan Ė I can just about handle fashioning together something to fit in the loft hatch to draw warm air in the summer up into the roof to keep the air circulating. Reading about, this is surprisingly effective at dropping the temp in the house, thus cutting down the use of other fans, and the running costs of the things like the fridge/freezer.

    Make a solar oven/dehydrator Ė At weekends and while Iím at home more looking for work, I can use to cut down my carbon footprint of cooking. Okay, we donít have lots of sun in the UK, but enough on sunny days.

    Work on my veggie garden (small as it is) Ė I donít have much room, so this is only a few plants, but itís a start.

    Iím not very physically strong, and I have little knowledge of building/plumbing etc so it would all need to be fairly light and fairly easy for a layperson to understand, also, minimal set up costs.

    Anything that helps me Ďgreen upí either the house, or my life, would be appreciated.



    Thank Yíall

  2. #2
    cedartree cedarblue's Avatar
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    Apr 2004
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    UK
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    Default Re: Greening the homestead - Cheaply

    do you drive?

    never fill your car more than half full on petrol as the weight will reduce your mpg.

    don't carry stuff around in the boot as that will create more weight and again, less mpg.

    keep below 3000revs, again, improves efficiency.

    don't use cling film or foil to cover left overs in the fridge - use a plate to cover.

  3. #3
    DavidT's Avatar
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    Apr 2009
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    County Clare, Ireland
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    674

    Default Re: Greening the homestead - Cheaply

    Hi there

    If you can green your house and save money, that'll make you feel better!

    Here's a good video on making a rocket stove. They only burn twigs and scrap wood and are very efficient.

    This is a good pdf comparing different types of biomass-fuelled cookers.

    Aprovecho is a good starting point for information about solar cookers. I downloaded a pdf on building solar ovens but I can't find the link at the moment.

    What are your windows like? These are often the source of much heat loss. Before double glazing became popular, my dad bought clear plastic sheets and battened them all over the inside of his windows, fair play to him all those years ago. Maybe do an assessment of yours and we'll come up with some ideas.

    Heavy curtains are a cheap form of night-time 'double glazing'.

    Have you thought about insulating around your fridge? So long as there is a vent at the back, it's worth doing.

    Mirrors help brighten rooms, especially if sunlight falls on them. I have custom-cut mirrors on the reveals on either side of the windows, though this is an expensive option.

  4. #4
    puca
    Guest

    Default Re: Greening the homestead - Cheaply

    Instructables is very good for teaching you how to make your own green gadgets, or gardening.

    Re insulation and saving heating bills: If you put a large piece of cardboard with foil over it (shiny bit on the outside) behind radiators, it can make them more efficient. You can stop heat from going out draughty windows by putting cling film on and sealing it there using a hairdryer!

    Re growing food: Whilst you only have limited space, have you thought about an allotment? If you have an interest in growing food, it can be done so incredibly cheaply, creating such little waste at all (for example, using old toilet rolls for seedlings). Or you could look for a local permaculture group!

    Where in the UK are you?

    Maybe you have a Freecyle or something similar? Maybe you could offer your skills on there, or even if you wanna grow more food, ask if anybody has garden space they wouldn't otherwise use for you to share.

    A lot of places have schemes where you can help out with one off projects (in Kingston we have a few). Volunteering doesn't have to be long term either, you could always help people catch up with admin, or filing work.

    Good luck on finding a new job!

  5. #5
    Incandescent
    Guest

    Cool Re: Greening the homestead - Cheaply

    Quote cedarblue View Post
    do you drive?

    never fill your car more than half full on petrol as the weight will reduce your mpg.

    don't carry stuff around in the boot as that will create more weight and again, less mpg.

    keep below 3000revs, again, improves efficiency.

    don't use cling film or foil to cover left overs in the fridge - use a plate to cover.
    so you're saying using 3000rpm as max is a good idea are you? ignoring the road, and type of car being driven? less revs does sometimes mean better mpg not always, 3000rpm would be ok in some cars on some roads, for example cars with low max revs say max 4500-5000 would probably be happy at 3000 crusing on most roads, Honda civic typeR tops out at 8000ish and wouldn't be happy at 3000rpm on the same road same conditions, cars are very individual, you can't use blanket terms like 3000rpm and think that'll work for all cars all the time, running and engine at lower than optimal revs uses just as much extra fual as running at higher revs than you need, my land rover for example needs all 4000 everyday end of story, learn the mechanics of cars and driving before lecturing others on it would you..

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