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Miscellaneous Green Ideas

Use incoming water as a dehumidifier

Many houses have humidity problems. My house being a timber frame made with green wood, started life very humid (90% or so). Since it is heated with wood, I bring lots of damp wood in every year. I have been using an electric dehumidifier to reduce the problem. This is a solution which I dislike. It uses about 750 Watts of electricity when the compressor is running.

'So,' my brain says, 'what if we turn a humidity problem into a humidity solution.' To whit, sweaty pipes. My water comes from a well and is very cold, but I think that water in most places is going to be at least cooler than the dew-point on humid days. So If I were to put a radiator of some sort (say a baseboard heating unit) on a cold water pipe in an exposed place, I should be able to condense a lot of humidity, warm the cold water up to the point where it won't condense water where I don't want it. The water would be collected and could be used as a source of distilled water.

The house would be cooled, and dehumidified, the pipes and toilets (if I had any) would stop sweating with the problems that causes, no complicated machinery, no fossil fuel consumption. The down side might be that the water got too warm for use in drinking etc, but a small percentage of water is used for that, and it could be put in the fridge without guilt.

Reduce waste by having a place for everything.

When I am working on my land, I separate 'waste' into categories, each of which has a place where it will be useful. For instance, trees are cut up for firewood (or lumber if they are nice enough); branches down to 3/4" in diameter are cut up for kindling; smaller twigs are dumped into a compost hole. A compost hole is like a compost pile, but it is for longer timeframe materials (like wood), and is place where I want to raise the level of the ground. Large rocks go to a stone wall slowly increasing, medium sized rocks go to surround my foundation, and small rock fill in potholes in the road (private dirt road). Good soil goes on one of the gardens, reasonable soil gets used to fix the contours of the landscape, sand or gravel goes on the road. Fast decomposing organics of course go on the compost pile. This comprises the majority of the outdoor 'wastes'. The rest is assorted trash that finds its way on to the land, which is treated like the other trash.

Closing off a room.

In old houses, unused room were often closed off from the heat, in a modern well insulated house, I think this is a bad idea. If one room is allowed to cool to outside temperatures, it effectively moves the thermal envelope from the exterior wall where there is a vapor barrier and insulation to an interior wall without. This can cause condensation in the walls, and probably doesn't save any heating energy.

Arguing against Solar Electricity

One of the arguments used against using solar power for generation of electricity is that 'the sun only shines during the day'. This arguments neglects to mention that electricity is mostly only needed during the day. There is a huge surplus of electricity at night since most conventional power plants can't be shut down at night, and there is far reduced demand.