Anonymous
Anonymous asked in EnvironmentGreen Living · 1 decade ago

What are some great ways to be "Green"? and what is the cost?

Me and My fiance are getting married soon and buying a house. I want us to be as "Green" as possible.

What is the cost for Solar Panels? Whats the best place to get them?

What is the best type of light bulbs to use?

What are the best sink faucets to get?

I know there is a way to put a underground tank that collects water when in rains and you can use that to water your lawn and flush toilets.. what are those called and how much?

Where can you get a Bo-day for your toilets?

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    The things you list are the more expensive parts of going green. Going green is inherently cost-effective when we follow the 3 R's - reduce, reuse, recycle. There's tons of little things you can do that don't cost anything or actually save you money - like using vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and borax as primary cleaning products, or simply turning off appliances, not buying things you don't need, etc. I'll post a few of my favorite links.

    Solar panels - depends on supply and demand, size of your home and energy need, subsidies available from your power company and municipality, and local appropriateness. Best advice I can give you is to check your phone book and get estimates.

    Light bulbs - LED, then CFL.

    Sink faucets - anything low-flow is fine.

    Rainwater harvesting. There's lots of ways to do it based on the appropriateness of your area and home. Best to look into this after you have bought the home, unless you buy a preexisting green home. Cost will depend on how much digging and retrofitting has to be done and what type of system you get. There are also some available that can be placed in the yard or on the roof. This will usually save you money since digging can be expensive.

    Bidets can be purchased at Home Depot, Lowe's or any home improvement center.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The solar panels are only one piece of the whole system you'll need. There's also the rack to mount them on, wires, combiner boxes, disconnect switched, inverter. Then there's the question of are you going to remain on-grid or go off-grid. If off grid then you're getting into batteries, a charge controller, ... There's also the question of are there any incentives or programs available in your area. There's far toomuch to discuss in an answer. What I'd suggest is find a local solar installation company. Before you approach them, work out on paper what your electricity needs will be. List all the appliances you'd like to power using solar and for each appliance include how many watts it uses and how many hours a day you'll use it on average. Total it up and take the whole thing to an installer. They'll appreciate it and be able to take it from there.

    The best light bulbs are LEDs but they are very expensive. The best for your dollar are compact flourescent lightbulbs. People who switch from incadescent to compact flourescent typically make up for the cost in the amount of money they save on their electricity bill in less than a year. I did.

    For the faucets, look into aerators. These are things you add to the output of existing faucets that restrict the amount of water coming out by adding air. The result is that the water you get still does the same job even though you used less. For a shower, get a low-flow shower head. I replaced an old fashioned one with mine and love the spray I get. It's also adjustable. And they're cheap.

    Personally, I'd get a faucet that has just a single lever. This way I could shut off the water flow using my arm while my hands are still all filled with soap. Without that, you'd probably leave the faucet running until the soap was rinsed off.

    One other thing I do is composting and specifically, worm composting. All my organic garbage goes into my worm bin and rapidly is turned into worm castings. Then, in the spring I scoop up the worm castings and use them in my food garden. If you're interested in adding that to your list, you can find more details at: http://rimstar.org/vermicom

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  • John W
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    For solar panels, the least expensive would be solar thermal collectors, easily 1/10th or less the cost of solar Photo-Voltaic. Solar thermal can provide for hot water, residential heat and via an absorption chiller, air-conditioning. These three would be the majority of the household's energy needs, then you can place a small PV system in for appliances and to sell excess power to the utilities. It's really just a math problem to determine how much of your roof to devote to thermal versus PV.

    Currently LED lights are still expensive so you're best off with CFL lights. They are four times more efficient than incandescent and a wide variety of spectrums from a warm yellow to a blueish daylight are available.

    All sink faucets can have a flow restrictor added.

    The underground tank for rainwater is called a cistern but you can get rain barrows for less and without the need to dig a hole in the ground. A gray water system to pipe rainwater to your toilets would be expensive to retrofit into a house as it's a second set of water pipes, you may have to just manually carry the rainwater into the house to fill the toilet tank.

    Bidet's are available where you purchase toilets, there are basically three kinds, one is a separate commode that you squat over to wash your underside, one is a handheld shower to use while you're on the toilet and finally one is a sprinkler head integrated into the toilet seat that extends out and sprays your underside at the touch of a button. personally I prefer the first two. Keep in mind that you'll need to keep hand towels nearby to pat yourself dry after washing yourself. Bidets are great for post intercourse clean up.

    I would say that unless you are having a house custom built to your specifications or are planning a major renovation then your options will be limited to CFL lights, flow restrictors and rain barrels, the other options involve a significant amount of capital.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Ok I will try to answer each of your questions and give a site to go into more depth for explaination having said that though I am in full agreement with Wayne and shortgil... that there are better cost effective and green things that you can do than starting off with solar. I will address that part of the question last.

    The best type of bulb to use is one you are happy with after comparing cost/sustainability/lumens. On this note if it is at all possible I would go with daylighting/fiber optic daylighting if the house lends itself to it if not then I would go with cfl for general lighting and led for task lighting (site 1 is cfl)

    Sink faucets are not quite as important because you can install aerators in them that mix in air with the water and make it seem as if you have the same pressure but you use much less water (can be oicked up at any hardware store) Showerheads I would suggest a spa quality low flow shower head I have one called the evolve that costs around $35 and uses 1.5 gpm and has what they call shower start tech. (automatically turns water off to a trickle when it reaches 95 degrees then you pull a cord to restart that way you don't waste water letting it warm up) (2nd site)

    I have rain barrels and flush my basement toilet from rain water there are many different ways to do this. I collect in above ground reused cherry barrels and water my flowers and garden, rinse my recyclables, and flush with it. (My barrels cost $15 a piece I have 10 and I bought extra and sold them to others because they couldn't find any under $100, what I'm saying is if you go this way make your own.) ( The 3rd and 4th and 5th sites are rain harvesting, tanks and setting up the system)

    Here is a site for an add on bidet (6th site)

    Now to the biggie the first thing you should do prior to going with solar panels is look towards cutting away extra energy hogs and trim your usage why pay for energy you don't need to use? Even with net metering it is more important to cut unneeded waste than to jump right in. Get a kill a watt meter($30) look at your appliances, look at your phantom/vampire/standby power loss, have an energy audit done ($400 or do a version of it yourself if you are interested look at my past questions or email me I will tell you how) install caulking, weatherstripping, gaskets in switches and outlets, and attic insulation. After all these and more are done (some other tips in the next site) then go to the sites below and good luck

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  • 1 decade ago

    Going green is easy, there are so many great resources about the subject. My personal favorite is "The Green Book" which has parts of its book online as well at www.readthegreenbook.com.

    As I have been striving to "Go Green" I realize it is like stepping back in time without getting rid of my modern conveniences. I'm doing many things I learned as a child, like line drying my clothes, sweeping instead of vacuuming, opening the windows in the morning to catch the cool breeze, only buying what I need instead of everything that looks cool, growing some of my own food, and canning what I can't eat now.

    To me "going Green" is a frame of mind. Do what fits your lifestyle and do the easy things first, it is a process and like dieting if you go to radical to soon, you are more likely to go back to bad habits. I also believe there are good, better, best choices in most things. If you aren't ready to start a home garden, then try finding a farmers market, until you locate one look for produce grown as close to home as possible and go organic when available.

    Many people think "going green" is expensive, I disagree. Some changes may take an initial investment, but they usually have a short payoff time. Things like weatherstiping and insulation cost, but the energy savings will add up quickly. You may need to purchase reusable bags, but most stores give you a 5 or 10 cent credit, so you are paid back within a few months. I have solar panels that offset about 75% of my energy usage, they were about $26K, but I got a $10K rebate and should break even in my 6th year. The best way to see about your return for investment is to get a licensed contractor to give you an estimate. You can install low flow shower heads, and aerators on faucets to conserve water. A programmable thermostate can reduce heating and cooling costs etc. It may be expensive to do too much all at one time, so look at which areas seem to use the most energy and start there. If you have to buy appliances make sure they are energy star. If you can't change all the bulbs at one time start with the ones that are used most often. There are companies that do green home audits, like Green Irene. Most utilities will also give you an audit and let you know how to conserve energy and water as well.

    Reduce your packaging, if you eat more fresh food you will generally reduce packaging, it's the same thing they tell dieters, shop the perimiter, that is where all the meat, dairy and produce are located. Only buy what you will use, many Americans throw away a lot of unused food. Buy in bulk, that doesn't just mean large packages, but that area with the bins that you buy only what you plan on using.

    Replace disposable items with durable items, if you eat outside often and use disposable paper or plastic plates, it is a wise investment to purchase a set of reusable plastic plates. Replace disposable razors, diapers and cleaning products like swiffer. Avoid bottled water, get a home filter like Pur or Brita.

    Recycle, www.earth911.org will help you locate the nearest recycle center. I try to only purchase plastics that are #1 or #2, they are more easily recycled. I also buy recycled products when available, that includes paper towels, napkings, toilet paper, tissue, school/office supplies and clothing.

    Detox your cleaning, vinegar and baking soda clean almost anything, they can even losen a hair clog. Seventh Generation and Method are a couple mainstream brands that are very earth friendly.

    Just start small and build from there, don't get overwhelmed.

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  • 4 years ago

    Your question makes no sense. Nothing about Israel harms America. Israel is the USA's one true ally in the Middle East - both countries are fighting the same terrorists. Israel has been doing it a lot longer, and doing it on her own. As to the utter drivel that appears in certain other answers to this 'question', I am shocked by the lack of factual knowledge they display. The term 'Palestinian' originally referred to the Jews because they were the ones living there. Mark Twain, returning from a visit to Palestine in the 19th century, famously reported: 'Apart from the Jews living there, there is nothing but a few wandering Arab nomads'. Jews have lived in that area for almost four thousand years continuously. The 'Palestinian people' as we know them today did not emerge as a distinct entity until 1969 - some two decades AFTER Israel was reborn. They are comprised mostly of Arabs originally from Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, all of whom began moving to Palestine when they saw that the Jews were irrigating the land and transforming it from dessert into a viable, and beautiful, place to live in. No land was EVER stolen from the Arabs. The British held the mandate for Palestine and it was Britain who suggested Partition; just over half the land to the Arabs, just under half to the Jewish refugees. The Jews accepted unconditionally. The Arab world rejected the plan outright - and declared war on the new Jewish state less than twelve hours after it was established. The neighbouring Arab states then simultaneously attacked the new country of Israel. The land that Israel got while defending herself in this war, she kept - of course. Name me ONE country that has ever returned land obtained during a war started by its' enemy!!!

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  • Wayne
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Do the easy & cheap things before you tackle the big stuff. Here are some easy ways to be green:

    1. turn down hot water heater thermostat - cost $0

    2. add blanket to hot water heater - cost $20 (payback in less than one year)

    3. wash clothes in cold water - cost $0

    4. join arbor day society & plant the "free" trees - cost $10-$15

    5. use the "sleep mode" on your computer - cost $0

    6. line dry clothes - cost $0-$25

    7. switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs - cost $2-$3 per bulb

    8. drink tap water instead of bottled water - cost $0

    9. use your own re-usable shopping bags - cost $2-$3

    10. get your reading material at your local library - cost $0

    11. unplug your cell phone charger when not in use - cost $0

    12. use only "green" household cleaners - cost $0 - $negligible

    13. raise your thermostat a few degrees in summer (lower in winter) - cost $0

    14. fix any water leaks - cost $5-$10

    15. install low flow shower heads - cost $5-$50

    16. replace older appliances with energy star rated models - cost ??? -

    17. pay bills electronically

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Good for you for going "green"!

    Solar Panels:

    The reason people do not use it is because it is expensive. Most solar panels cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. What most people do not know is that there are tax credits that can be earned from using renewable energy sources. These credits can help pay for some of the cost of the solar panels. http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=products.pr_...

    Another option is to build your own solar panels or wind turbine. It really only takes some initiative. Most people dismiss this option because it seems like only the scientists and engineers can build these seemingly magical sources of energy. A little research reveals that all wind turbines are just spinning magnets with wire around them. The concept is elementary. As for solar panels, purchasing the silicon mixture (the blue metal) and attaching it to the other components is still cheaper than buying one already done, but like I said, it takes some initiative. http://tiny.cc/solarandwind

    The one problem with wind and solar power is their unpredictability. There might not be any wind on hot days when one might want to use an air conditioner. Also, it's never daytime 24/7. This is why power companies are reluctant to switch to these clean alternatives. They don't want the headache of predicting the weather, when they could just fire up a coal plant on a summer day. A way around this is to import electricity from the Mid-West (for wind power) to cities. Unfortunately, this type of infrastructure does not exist yet. A battery, although, works for most people to solve this problem. It captures the energy and stores it for use later on. It's like getting free batteries for your house. Why not use the energy from a windy night to power the lights for a couple days? Or why not sell the electricity created while your away on vacation to the power company. On a hot day, the power company is willing to pay extra for electricity. Batteries are important for people that have, or are thinking about getting, solar or wind power.

    Another solar power option, is a solar water heater. It is a great way that is not complicated at all. It is simple: the heater uses the sun's power to heat the water, with no gas or coal. Like the solar panels and wind turbine, a solar water heater can also be built for a lower cost. http://dwarfurl.com/c1222

    I already use this technology. I decided to build my own solar panel and was successful. Now it works well, and it helps take some of the electricity cost away. I could not build the wind turbine though. My neighbors were not to happy with a large object obstructing their view. But if it works for you, go for it. As for the solar water heater, that was also successful. It does not heat water during low light hours, but saves me some bucks during a sunny day. I suggest you go for it, but start at looking at Energy Star's website on federal tax credits, or talk to your town/city about it.

    Here are some way to save water:

    1.

    Install a water meter. You might be very surprised to find out how much water you are actually using. By installing a water meter you can raise your awareness and consequently reduce your water intake.

    * If you already have a water meter, learn how to read it. Among other things, it can be very helpful in detecting leaks. Read the meter once, wait an hour or two without running any water, and read it again. If it has moved, something is leaking.

    * Many water meters have a small wheel or gear that turns fairly rapidly if any water at all is flowing. In the photo, it's the little blue wheel. If you are sure all your water is turned off and you see this wheel moving at all, you have a leak.

    * If your water meter is underground, you may need to remove debris from the face to read it. Squirt it with a bit of water from a spray bottle.

    2.

    Check your plumbing for leaks, especially leaking toilets and faucets. Fix anything you find leaking. A silent toilet leak could waste from 30 to 500 gallons every day![1]

    3.

    Take shorter showers.

    * Take showers rather than baths. By taking a bath you are using up to 100 liters of water! Showering will generally use less than a third of this amount. See the water use table below.

    * Shave outside the shower, or turn off the shower while you shave.

    4. Catch the cold water that comes out of the faucet, tap, or shower while you are waiting for the hot water. Use it to water plants or pour into your toilet reservoir after flushing.

    * Water from a hot water tank may have more sediment or rust than water from the cold water tank, but is otherwise suitable for drinking. If you use a water filter, you can filter the saved water, and put it in bottles in the refrigerator for drinking water.

    5. Install low-flow shower heads and faucets or faucet aerators. Low-flow devices are inexpensive ($10-$20 for a s

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  • 1 decade ago

    Today fresh water levels in many parts of the world have dropped alarmingly, water conservation is thus very important. Please ensure that your home is as water efficient as possible. Here are some tips that might help you save water at home: http://www.bewaterwise.com/tips01.html. These are simple inexpensive tips. in fact they will help reduce your water bills by a significant amount. Hope this helps.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I have a page on my renewable energy blog outlining the different incentives and tax breaks being offered.. maybe worth checking out?!

    And about lightbulbs, flourescents have a higher initial costs, but use much less energy than incandescents, and last longer..

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