Nabih Tahan, an architect in Berkley, California has built a “passive house” that captures and recycles heat produced in the home, thus eliminating the need for a furnace altogether. Essentially the house is very well sealed, making forced air ventilation a necessity. The heart of the system is a heat exchanger that strips the old, stale air of its heat and uses it to heat the incoming fresh air. Tahan explains that this concept is best applied to new construction or to major remodels, due to the extensive sealing and insulation required.
“By doing smaller insulating renovations, you can improve energy consumption and you’ll definitely make a difference,” he said. “But to get to Passive House standards, you really have to either rip out the outside or the inside of the house.”
When the economy slows, consumers cut back on purchases, and in turn manufacturers ship fewer products. The demand for used corrugated cardboard, for example, drops. Corrugated cardboard, which is used to make packaging, brings about $25 per ton, one-fifth of the $125 a ton it brought in April.
With the holiday season barely half over, you and yours may have noticed a sharp uptick in the amount of post consumer waste your household is generating. You wouldn’t be alone if you had, but it doesn’t have to be all bad. In recent years, my family has been able to dramatically reduce the amount of waste that we generate at the holidays by opting for reusable gift bags over traditional wrapping paper, opting for gifts with little or no packaging, and making holiday meals mostly from scratch thus keeping can, box and bag waste to a minimum. But what to do with that old Christmas tree? Read more of this >>
There’s nothing like the holidays for putting the issue of post consumer waste front and center. And this raises a question: wouldn’t it be great if we could take some of that waste and turn it into a valuable resource instead? That’s the idea behind biodiesel–to take old, worn out frier grease and transform it into an environmentally friendly fuel for our cars and trucks.
Thanks for the YouTube Links. I think the trash issue will become something everyone has to face. The current economic trends are actually causing recycling centers to close because the demand for recycled materials is almost zero and the centers cannot get financing to secure extra storage space. The blog link I sent addresses the reduce side of the recycling triangle, but GreenStreets could really get social networking traction focusing on the reuse portion. There are a few “freegan” sites to match new users and old stuff, but a place to post creative alternative uses for old stuff is lacking. This could lead to great competitions and a renewed focus on a cultural norm from the Great Depression. Just a thought on an underserved market niche.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!