Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1. - General Discussion - Contractor Talk

Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.

 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 11-24-2008, 04:16 PM   #1
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also s
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 504

Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Hey guys,

Well I've been away from this site for a little while as I've been really busy trying to keep things together and also starting another company (non construction) but I've decided to use some of this time to redesign some of my house plans. I've heard a few ideas and come up with a few of my own for realistic green applications. I live in Portland Oregon which is probably the green capital of the nation. Our buses run on biodiesel and natural gas, we have an extensive mass public transit service and quite a bit of it is free in the downtown area, a tax paid recycle program that works very well and is no longer inconvenient. The only thing we separate is glass. Everything else goes in one big 75 gallon can they give us for free. It's made our city much cleaner and our water better.

We already have the hardcore green people here who are using alternative building products and I've checked into some of that. They do work and they will become more mainstream. The problem is that most of the general public just isn't willing to pay for it yet. The ideas I'm looking for are stepping stones for them to pay for serious energy conservation items down the line.

Most of the big green ideas, I believe, are flawed from 1 of two standpoints.

1. They are too expensive for most people to decide to actually use them. People say it's nifty and if it comes on my houses cool but if it costs extra they opt not to include it. Well if it's standard on the home my base price has to go up and they still don't want the extra costs (especially in tough markets).

Or

2. They don't actually work well and just change the problem. Like using corn as a fuel source. It takes 200 gallons of fresh water to create one gallon of Ethanol. It might help oil concerns but soon we'll have fresh water concerns too.

Sooo

I'm looking for good, practical, inexpensive ideas that will help reduce waste. Ideas that I can implement into my new homes as a base feature that don't cost me much extra to do that people will love and will set my homes even further apart from my competition.

Some of my ideas are:
1. A outside area where we can roll up the recycle and garbage cans next to the house and have a chute from the kitchen to the cans. Right now we fill tubs inside the house with recycle then almost daily take them outside to dump them into the big can. I'd like to make it so it goes directly to the outside can, same as the trash. Just a more convenient way to live.

2. Either a master switch or switched outlets where you can turn off the electricity to a large area with the flick of a switch. Here we're hearing a lot about unplugging items that waste electricity without even being turned on, well that's inconvenient. It's hard to climb behind stoves, microwaves, computers, stereo stands, etc... to unplug them. What if there's just a switch you flip at night or while you're at work that turns all that off, or even a timer. it'd be easy to wire in these switches during construction without a lot of extra cost.

I'd like to hear more ideas from people who actually build these products and homes, remodelers and handy men, any one who has a good idea. Then we can take these ideas and incorporate them into all our products.

Thanks,

Wack
__________________
"I only bother remembering things that I can't easily look up." Albert Einstein
wackman is offline  

Warning: The topics covered on this site include activities in which there exists the potential for serious injury or death. ContractorTalk.com DOES NOT guarantee the accuracy or completeness of any information contained on this site. Always use proper safety precaution and reference reliable outside sources before attempting any construction or remodeling task!

   

Advertisement

 

Old 11-24-2008, 04:27 PM   #2
Pro
 
Forry's Avatar
 
Trade: General Contractor, Remodeler
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Eugene, OR.
Posts: 830
Rewards Points: 526

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


I like #2. In Thailand, all but one of the hotels we stayed in had a master switch for the rooms power that was activated by inserting the room key into a slot just inside the door. Brilliant!

Advertisement

__________________
now i am scared for my future
i've got all ten
smashed a lot of them stupidly before
-john5mt
Forry is offline  
Old 11-24-2008, 05:12 PM   #3
Insert title
 
dougchips's Avatar
 
Trade: Doors-Windows-Decks
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: MA&RI
Posts: 4,692
Rewards Points: 2,022

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Wackman, dig through the older post at www.green-talk.com , the author built a "green house" and updates her blog a few times a week with green products, green projects and other green thoughts. I forget the name but I belong to a green building forum where ideas are shared. Some of the sites listed on the left side of the green-talk site have some good green building tips.
__________________
To get the best replacement windows, or sun rooms contact the replacement windows experts at FHI Vinyl Window Company.
dougchips is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Old 11-25-2008, 04:47 PM   #4
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also s
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Forry View Post
I like #2. In Thailand, all but one of the hotels we stayed in had a master switch for the rooms power that was activated by inserting the room key into a slot just inside the door. Brilliant!
That's a good idea. I like that one because it's really easy to do and cost effective. If people buy appliances with a battery for the clock then they don't have to reset stuff everytime either.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dougchips View Post
Wackman, dig through the older post at www.green-talk.com , the author built a "green house" and updates her blog a few times a week with green products, green projects and other green thoughts. I forget the name but I belong to a green building forum where ideas are shared. Some of the sites listed on the left side of the green-talk site have some good green building tips.
Thanks Doug, That's exactly the kind of thing I was looking for. I found a ton of stuff about expensive green ideas and a ton about green building products (also expensive) but very little about practical inexpensive changes done at the time of building. I'll check it out.
__________________
"I only bother remembering things that I can't easily look up." Albert Einstein
wackman is offline  
Old 11-25-2008, 04:57 PM   #5
Handle It!
 
MALCO.New.York's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything The Union Guys Do Not Want To Do
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY ~ Haverford, PA
Posts: 9,588
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


I have said it before....The "Green" Buzz is waining. It CERTAINLY is not dead, but the "Bandwagoners" are falling away more and more day by day.

THIS IS A GOOD THING! It is a weeding process.
__________________
Something to One may be Nothing to another!

Ultimate Wisdom---------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW-cnizLDEE
MALCO.New.York is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to MALCO.New.York For This Useful Post:
Dustyrose (08-13-2009)
Old 11-25-2008, 05:38 PM   #6
Insert title
 
dougchips's Avatar
 
Trade: Doors-Windows-Decks
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: MA&RI
Posts: 4,692
Rewards Points: 2,022

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MALCO.New.York View Post
I have said it before....The "Green" Buzz is waining. It CERTAINLY is not dead, but the "Bandwagoners" are falling away more and more day by day.

THIS IS A GOOD THING! It is a weeding process.
Odd, Google GreenBuild Boston or BuildBoston for the shows that they put on last week (ignore any of the articles of mine that you find/find good ones).

I can't think of any important building company that was not present at one of the shows with their lines of green building products. I scored a free waterless urinal that I will send to you if you promise to use it.
__________________
To get the best replacement windows, or sun rooms contact the replacement windows experts at FHI Vinyl Window Company.
dougchips is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to dougchips For This Useful Post:
dakzaag (08-22-2009)
Old 11-25-2008, 09:57 PM   #7
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also s
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MALCO.New.York View Post
I have said it before....The "Green" Buzz is waining. It CERTAINLY is not dead, but the "Bandwagoners" are falling away more and more day by day.

THIS IS A GOOD THING! It is a weeding process.
It's going stronger than ever here. Just met with an architect last week that wants me to build him a four unit town home project that is meant to look like an old firehouse converted to homes, even though it's new.

The whole fricking thing is green with a roof top swale and some sort of hemp based cladding that you trowel scratch and finish stucco coats onto.

He's already priced most of it out and said it'll be around 8% more expensive over all to build. Not too bad really, I don't believe that will prove accurate but if that's all it costs more that's not too shabby. It even has a corner unit "see inside" window where the edges of the window are plexi and you can see the section of the wall and the layers of construction.

Cool idea.

I can't see the green movement slowing down, if any thing It'll become more realistic and only things that actually work will prevail instead of any thing with green in the name like it is now.

Any way you slice it conserving energy and alternate fuel sources is going to become paramount real soon.
__________________
"I only bother remembering things that I can't easily look up." Albert Einstein
wackman is offline  
Old 11-25-2008, 10:20 PM   #8
Pro
 
mickeyco's Avatar
 
Trade: Squirrel Handler
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,432
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


You can use your old egg cartons to sort and store your change.






.
__________________
Some people climb mountains. I take out the trash. But we both do it for the same reason.
mickeyco is offline  
Old 11-25-2008, 10:28 PM   #9
Pro
 
Kgmz's Avatar
 
Trade: General, Electrical, and Plumbing Contractor
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Portland, OR & Eatonville, WA
Posts: 1,300
Rewards Points: 500

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


The cheapest green thing you can do, is to build smaller well designed homes.

Smaller well designed in itself is not always necessarily cheaper. But it is cheaper to heat and cool, and generally uses less materials.

Don't try and get into all the new green gimmicks, if used on a poorly designed home it still wouldn't be better than a well designed efficient home.

Last edited by Kgmz; 11-25-2008 at 10:33 PM.
Kgmz is offline  
Old 11-25-2008, 10:34 PM   #10
Pro
 
mickeyco's Avatar
 
Trade: Squirrel Handler
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,432
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Kgmz View Post
The cheapest green thing you can do, is to build smaller well designed homes.

Smaller well designed in itself is not always necessarily cheaper. But it is cheaper to heat and cool.
George Bush has a decent size home, 4000 sq ft, that is quite efficient.


Quote:
The Prairie Chapel Ranch ranch home owned by George W. Bush in Crawford, Texas, was designed by Austin architect David Heymann, an associate dean for undergraduate programs at the University of Texas School of Architecture. As the Chicago Tribune described the house in a 2001 article:
The 4,000-square-foot house is a model of environmental rectitude.

Geothermal heat pumps located in a central closet circulate water through pipes buried 300 feet deep in the ground where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees; the water heats the house in the winter and cools it in the summer. Systems such as the one in this "eco-friendly" dwelling use about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and cooling systems utilize.

A 25,000-gallon underground cistern collects rainwater gathered from roof runs; wastewater from sinks, toilets and showers goes into underground purifying tanks and is also funneled into the cistern. The water from the cistern is used to irrigate the landscaping surrounding the four-bedroom home. Plants and flowers native to the high prairie area blend the structure into the surrounding ecosystem.
Other news articles published in 2001-02 provided expanded descriptions of the ranch house:
"By marketplace standards, the house is startlingly small," says David Heymann, the architect of the 4,000-square-foot home.

Constructed from a local limestone, the house has eight rooms in a long, narrow design to take advantage of views and breezes. A porch
stretches across the back and both ends of the house, widening at one end into a covered patio off the living room.

The tin roof of the house extends beyond the porch. When it rains, it's possible to sit on the patio and watch the water pour down without getting wet. Under a gravel border around the house, a concrete gutter channels the water into a 25,000-gallon cistern for irrigation. In hot weather, a terrace directly above the cistern is a little cooler than the surrounding area.

Wastewater from showers, sinks and toilets goes into purifying tanks underground one tank for water from showers and bathroom sinks, which is so-called "gray water," and one tank for "black water" from the kitchen sink and toilets. The purified water is funneled to the cistern with the rainwater. It is used to irrigate flower gardens, newly planted trees and a larger flower and herb garden behind the two-bedroom guesthouse. Water for the house comes from a well.

The Bushes installed a geothermal heating and cooling system, which uses about 25% of the electricity that traditional heating and air-conditioning systems consume. Several holes were drilled 300 feet deep, where the temperature is a constant 67 degrees. Pipes connected to a heat pump inside the house circulate water into the ground, then back up and through the house, heating it in winter and cooling it in summer. The water for the outdoor pool is heated with the same system, which proved so efficient that initial plans to install solar energy panels were cancelled.

The features are environment-friendly, but the reason for them was practical to save money and to save water, which is scarce in this dry, hot part of Texas.
link

.
__________________
Some people climb mountains. I take out the trash. But we both do it for the same reason.
mickeyco is offline  
Old 11-25-2008, 10:42 PM   #11
Pro
 
Teetorbilt's Avatar
 
Trade: Residential Contractor
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Jensen Beach, FL
Posts: 10,471
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Xeroscape, I'm slowly doing it. One of the nations largest providers of groundcovers is in your backyard. No lawnmower, no irrigation system (not that irrigation is one of your problems) LOL. The groundcover co. is actually in WA., saw it on TV.

Plant deciduous trees where they will shade the house and windows during the summer and allow light/heat in during the winter.

If possible orient the home for maximum passive solar use. Make maximum use of overhangs/porches. The old timers weren't slouches when it came to these things and knew their sun angles. Monticello, designed by Jefferson is a very good (famous) example.

Solar waterheat and panels might not be suitable for your area (works great here), maybe geothermal is more suitable.

Wind generators??
__________________
You can't solve you're problems with the same level of thinking that created the problems.

Albert Einstein
Teetorbilt is offline  
Old 11-26-2008, 10:37 AM   #12
Insert title
 
dougchips's Avatar
 
Trade: Doors-Windows-Decks
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: MA&RI
Posts: 4,692
Rewards Points: 2,022

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


A bunch of companies are rolling out these types of green living roofs. Funny, odd, out of place, ugly, wacky idea........it will be interesting to see if it catches on here in the us since the idea is doing well in other areas of the world.

Note: this display is using young sod that has not aged enough to produce flowers. Once the roof is about a year old is looks great IMO.
Attached Images
 
__________________
To get the best replacement windows, or sun rooms contact the replacement windows experts at FHI Vinyl Window Company.
dougchips is offline  
Old 11-26-2008, 07:36 PM   #13
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also s
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Now they just need to genetically engineer the roofgrass to make it's solar collecting abilities power the home and instead of releasing CO2 to release hydrogen to be collected and power our cars!
__________________
"I only bother remembering things that I can't easily look up." Albert Einstein
wackman is offline  
Old 11-26-2008, 07:42 PM   #14
Al Smith
 
A W Smith's Avatar
 
Trade: Home Improvement contractor since 1983, In building field since 1974, Licensed
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: South River NJ
Posts: 2,392
Rewards Points: 1,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


I have always had this habit of letting my finger off the trigger of my circular saw and letting it coast through the last part of the cut, Nowdays I kid people and tell them I am trying to "reduce my carbon footprint"
__________________
Al Smith
http://www.awsmith.com
A W Smith is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 11:45 AM   #15
Pro
 
orson's Avatar
 
Trade: Kitchen & Bath
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Millersville, PA
Posts: 1,347
Rewards Points: 502

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Wackman,

Since you're recycling almost all your trash you might find it usefull to know that there is a company making a composting unit that is designed to go under your sink and not stink up the house.

This isn't the model I originaly saw, but here is an example:
http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produ...sh%2Drecycling
orson is offline  
Old 11-27-2008, 11:52 AM   #16
Handle It!
 
MALCO.New.York's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything The Union Guys Do Not Want To Do
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY ~ Haverford, PA
Posts: 9,588
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


For the record and being the nay-sayer that I am, at this stage of the Recycling Game................Recycling anything but Aluminum and WHITE/CLEAR Glass is NOT in any way, shape or form GREEN!

The amount of Energy consumed in the retrieval, delivery, separation, distribution, processing to bulk, re-distributing, reforming and shipping again to the end processor is a GREAT BURDEN on the atmosphere and Natural Resources!

But it eventually will become an Environmentally Economical Endeavor! Eventually.
__________________
Something to One may be Nothing to another!

Ultimate Wisdom---------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW-cnizLDEE
MALCO.New.York is offline  
Old 11-28-2008, 03:28 AM   #17
Pro
 
wackman's Avatar
 
Trade: Builder, Additions, large remodels...Lately also s
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Portland Oregon
Posts: 890
Rewards Points: 504

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by MALCO.New.York View Post
For the record and being the nay-sayer that I am, at this stage of the Recycling Game................Recycling anything but Aluminum and WHITE/CLEAR Glass is NOT in any way, shape or form GREEN!

The amount of Energy consumed in the retrieval, delivery, separation, distribution, processing to bulk, re-distributing, reforming and shipping again to the end processor is a GREAT BURDEN on the atmosphere and Natural Resources!

But it eventually will become an Environmentally Economical Endeavor! Eventually.
Do you think it's less energy than was spent for the discover, collect, create, ship etc... process from raw materials the first time? Plus it seems to me like it's that much less of the raw materials needed for more consumption.
__________________
"I only bother remembering things that I can't easily look up." Albert Einstein
wackman is offline  
Old 11-28-2008, 06:38 AM   #18
Handle It!
 
MALCO.New.York's Avatar
 
Trade: Everything The Union Guys Do Not Want To Do
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Brooklyn, NY ~ Haverford, PA
Posts: 9,588
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wackman View Post
Do you think it's less energy than was spent for the discover, collect, create, ship etc... process from raw materials the first time? Plus it seems to me like it's that much less of the raw materials needed for more consumption.
Just stating the facts at this point in the Recycling Economy.

In time it WILL become "Green". And actually turn a profit, which it does not do now.
__________________
Something to One may be Nothing to another!

Ultimate Wisdom---------
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OW-cnizLDEE
MALCO.New.York is offline  
Old 03-16-2009, 03:41 PM   #19
 
RED HORSE 554's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 150
Rewards Points: 75

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


1) Incorporate Native Plants in Your Landscaping 2) Plant Deciduous Shade Trees to Reduce Energy
3) Plant Evergreen Trees to Block Cold Winter Winds
4) Use “Xeriscaping” in Your Landscape
5) Supply Efficient + Non-polluting Reel or Electric Lawn Mowers
6) Convert to Drip Irrigation Systems
7) Cut Down on Energy Use with Solar Powered Landscaping Lights
8) Supply Rain Barrels to Irrigate + Landscape
9)Composit 10) Use Natural + Organic Products and Techniques for Landscape Maintenance 11) Supply a Small Kitchen Garden of Fruits + Vegetables

Last edited by RED HORSE 554; 03-16-2009 at 03:47 PM. Reason: adding things
RED HORSE 554 is offline  
Old 03-16-2009, 03:49 PM   #20
Pro
 
mickeyco's Avatar
 
Trade: Squirrel Handler
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Chicago
Posts: 3,432
Rewards Points: 2,000

Re: Practical GREEN Ideas That Don't Cost Much, Part 1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by dougchips View Post
A bunch of companies are rolling out these types of green living roofs. Funny, odd, out of place, ugly, wacky idea........it will be interesting to see if it catches on here in the us since the idea is doing well in other areas of the world.

Note: this display is using young sod that has not aged enough to produce flowers. Once the roof is about a year old is looks great IMO.


How do you cut the grass?









.

Advertisement

__________________
Some people climb mountains. I take out the trash. But we both do it for the same reason.
mickeyco is offline  


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
cost plus % contract chaney Business 10 03-17-2009 02:58 PM
Going Green Rick2008 General Discussion 28 05-06-2008 08:08 PM
Green Roof System Corya29 Roofing 1 04-05-2008 11:29 AM

Join Now... It's Fast and FREE!

I am a professional contractor
I am a DIY Homeowner
Drywall Talk is for
PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTORS ONLY!

At DrywallTalk.com we cater exlusivly to professional contractors who make their living as a contractor. Knowing that many homeowners and DIYers are looking for a community to call home, we've created www.DIYChatroom.com DIY Chatroom is full of helpful advices and perfect for DIY homeowners.

Redirecing in 10 seconds
No Thanks
terms of service

Already Have an Account?