1:5:10:365 EcoTip Blog

February 29, 2008

:060 Tally the Savings

Filed under: :060 Tally the Savings — Tags: , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – 1:5:10:365 Tips :031 to :059

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:060 Tip: Here we are two months into this project of posting a 1:5:10:365 Tip a day for a year. If you have been recording in you journal each day it should now be fairly easy to track how much you have spent and how much you can anticipate saving. Under additional information there will be a listing of Tips :032-:059 and suggestions for considering them from the standpoint of costs or savings. By subtracting the costs from the savings each month you will be able to track both financial and environmental progress. Last month’s energy tips had reoccurring types of savings that could be expected every month. This months tips are more likely to help with maintenance, or indoor air quality. Energy saving tips are primarily aimed at winter (although many of them will also save on the cooling bill in summer).

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Additional Information

Don’t forget to bring forward your anticipated savings from month one (see Tip :30). The following tally is given as an example. Your own numbers will vary – Get them from your journal. For purposes of this tally only dollars will be counted – Of course there are other benefits as well. As an example: what I did will be in ($cost/$saved)

:032 Do-it-yourself Carbon Credits –  information

:033 Toys and Lead – information

:034 Buildings with Lead – information  

:035 Furniture with Lead – information  

:036 Winter Thermal Imaging – Costs about $250 savings primarily in winter and summer by correcting problems (savings covered in tips: :041, :043, :046, :047)

:037 Thermography Eco-Business – information

:038 Emergency Weather Radio – information

:039 Wizard Stick – helps with savings in tips :040, :041, :042, :043, :044, :045, :046, :047 ($15/$0)

:040 Tracking Air Infiltration – information

:041 Sealing Out Infiltration- This one can result in big savings – up to 30% of your heating bill ($cheep/$lots)

:042 Duct Leakage – information

:043 Sealing Ducts – This one can result in savings of 10% or more of your heating bill ($cheep/$lots)

:044 ICAT Can Lights – average payback about 5 years ($25/$0.42)

:045 Blower Door Test – information

:046 Isolate the Garage – indoor air quality benefits although there may also be energy savings

:047 Isolate the Crawlspace  – indoor air quality benefits although there may also be energy savings

:048 Crawlspace Check- maintenance savings

:049 Wet Crawlspace – maintenance savings

:050 Soil Mats – maintenance savings and indoor air quality improvements

:051 Sump Pumps- – maintenance savings and indoor air quality improvements

:052 NonToxic Termite Control – maintenance

:053 NonToxic Termite Control 2 – maintenance

:054 Mosquito control – information

:055 Donate – Don’t Toss- information 

:056 Freon Capture – information

:057 MTBE in Gas – information

:058 Evaluate Your Roof – big bucks can be saved if this tip keeps your roof intact and your home dry

:059 Stop Junk Mail – information

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February 28, 2008

:059 Stop Junk Mail

Filed under: :059 Stop Junk Mail — Tags: , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

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Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:059 Tip: Junk mail is responsible for a lot of paper waste. Even if you recycle – junk mail uses huge amounts of resources. If you want to reduce the amount of junk mail you recieve – check out www.stopjunkmail.com They have some great tips for cutting back on a wide variety of unwanted mailers. 

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February 27, 2008

:058 Evaluate Your Roof

Filed under: :058 Evaluate Your Roof — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

241-roofingjpg-small.jpg 

Credit: Extreme Weather Hits Home

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:058 Tip: When it comes time to re-roof consider upgrading your roof to a higher quality. It will last longer and be better able to withstand the challenges from extreme weather conditions.

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Additional Information

In my book Extreme Weather Hits Home, Protecting Your Buildings from Climate Change I talk about many of the steps that can be taken to make a roof more durable.

Some of these are illustrated in the above diagram.

1. Use solid sheathing not skip sheathing. If the shingles are damaged, the solid sheathing can provide temporary protection from water intrusion until repairs can be made.

2. Use H-clips (Hurricane clips) to join the exterior grade plywood panels together for greater strength while maintaining the correct spacing.

3. Use a self-stick membrane to seal the joints between sheathing. Only seal the joints. If you cover the entire sheet of plywood, moisture may become trapped leading to rot.

4. Use a high wind nailing pattern (six inches or closer).

ewhhsmallcover.jpg 

These and other tips for preventing damage and first aid measures for recovery from extreme weather conditions are covered in my new book.

Its available from your local book seller or on line. For more information go to www.extremeweatherhitshome.com

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February 26, 2008

:057 MTBE in Gas

Filed under: :057 MTBE in Gas — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

U.S. Production of Ethanol and MTBE, 1993-2002 Credit: US Dept of Energy

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:057 Tip: MTBE (methyl tertiary-butyl ether) is a gasoline additive that has been turning up in various water supplies. Of course gasoline contamination of any kind is a problem, but MTBE is long lasting and water soluble so it is presenting a number of additional environmental issues. Fortunately ethanol (alcohol) is an additive that can perform the same oxygenation function as MTBE without the same consequences to the environment. Alcohol is used in concentrations of up to 10% in gasoline to improve the burning characteristics and cut down on pollution (over 10% requires specially modified vehicles). Alcohol also will remove condensation moisture from gasoline (its the same thing that you purchase in many gasoline additives for removing water from your tank).

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Additional Information

You can get more information about MTBE in gasoline and the problems it causes from the EPA at: http://www.epa.gov/mtbe/gas.htm

I have heard that all gasoline in Califoria and New York now contains alcohol and no MTBE, but I am still working to confirm that. Every Union 76 station I have visited has had a sticker saying the gasoline may contain up to 10% ethanol.

I suspect that other states are also labeling their pumps.

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February 25, 2008

:056 Freon Capture

Filed under: :056 Freon Capture — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – :025, :026

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

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Courtesy of EPA region 7 – Katrina appliance graveyard

1:5:10:056 Tip: Refrigerators have a number of components that shouldn’t be disposed at a regular landfill and in fact should be recycled by an authorized “appliance deconstructor”. Yep that’s the official term for companies that recycle these types of things. After hurricane Katrina over 390,000 large appliances like refrigerators were inspected and deconstructed. Some of the materials that must be collected for recycling or hazardous waste disposal include:

Mercury switches,

Mercury thermocouples,

Fluorescent tubes

• Freon refrigerant

• PCB containing capacitors

• PCB containing ballasts

So don’t just abandon those old appliances. Most companies that sell and install new appliances will take the old one off your hands and be sure it is handled properly – but make sure you ask.

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Additional Information: You can check for recycling and freon capture options by checking with your appliance supplier, local sanitation company or by checking on-line at www.earth911.org and entering the item you want to recycle and your zip code.

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February 24, 2008

:055 Donate – Don’t Toss

Filed under: :055 Donate Don't Toss — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:055 Tip: Before you throw any clothing out – Think about recycling it. Someone else may have a use. If you can sell it at a garage sale, swap meet, or on-line, and make a few bucks – that’s still a form of recycling! Even ragged clothes that can’t be worn anymore have a recycling use. So if you can’t sell them –  give them away by donating to one of the many charities that have collection boxes around town.

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Additional Information

As I was researching this tip, I came across a comment by someone that said not to donate scrap clothing to Goodwill or other charities because they have to pay to have them hauled away. This may be true for some charities but my research led me to the American Baler website where they state: “Today Goodwill Industries also funds its programs through the resale of surplus textiles. Donated clothing and linens that do not sell in Goodwill retail stores are sold to brokers or buyers who typically recycle or resell the items in Third World countries. “… “Some items are resold as clothes and household goods; many are reprocessed into rugs and rags.” They typically get paid about 6 to 11 cents a pound. 

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February 23, 2008

:054 Non-toxic Mosquito Control

Filed under: :054 Eco Mosquito Control — Tags: , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am

mosquitolarva.jpg Mosquito larva http://www.in.gov

Suggested Review – none

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:054 Tip: Mosquitoes can be controlled non-toxically by treating the water where their larva develop with a biological insect control bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis israelenis. The treatment of standing water should begin early enough before the mosquito season to kill the larva. If you wait for the adult mosquitoes it is too late to use this method. 

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Additional Information

biological mosquito control with Bti  www.ARBICO.com

You can learn more about this method of mosquito control from ARBICO at http://www.arbico-organics.com/organic-pest-control-mosquito-control.html

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February 22, 2008

:053 Non-Toxic Termite Control 2

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Suggested Review – :051

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:053 Tip: Dry wood termites build their nests inside the wood in buildings. They have traditionally been killed by tenting the building and fumigating with pesticides. Non-toxic methods of dry wood termite control include electrocution, freezing, baking and microwaving. All of these techniques require special equipment. 

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Additional Information

To find non-toxic termite control methods in your area look for companies that use one of these alternatives.

The “electro-gun” is used to electrocute termites in their tunnels. Etex Limited, PO. Box 33160, Las Vegas, NV 89133 (702) 332-3966. Will direct consumers to the nearest KO using their Electro-Gun for controlling drywood termites and wood boring beetles.

“Isothermics” is a system of killing termites by raising the temperature of the building to a level higher than the insect can tolerate. Isothermics, PO Box 6981, Orange, CA 92613 (714)974-0951. Licenses and distributes heat tents.

Tallon pest control companies kill termites by freezing them with liquid nitrogen.

Tallon (800) 300-2653.

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February 21, 2008

:052 Non-toxic Termite Control

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credit: Ohio State University Termite Tube on foundation

Suggested Review – :048, :049

Today & Tomorrow’s 1:5:10:365 Tips for becoming a better steward for our home and planet deals with non-toxic termite control.

1:5:10:052 Tip: Subterranean termites live in the soil and travel through tubes that create pathways to the wood they eat. Traditional pest control involves poisoning the soil under a building to prevent termite colonies from forming. Some of the pesticides used for this purpose have persisted for years. There are a number of safer treatments now available for termite control. Bait stations can be set which confine the poisons so they are carried back to the termite nest, but I prefer the non-toxic approach.  figure6.jpg

credit: virginia cooporative extension subterranean termite damage

Keeping the soil free of cellulose debris can go a long way to preventing termite colonies from forming, Physical barriers can stop them from forming their tubes, and nematodes provide a biological control.

Tomorrow I will talk about non-toxic dry wood termite control.

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Additional Information

beneficial-nematodes.jpg 

credit: ARBICO beneficial nematodes

“Nematodes are microscopic, non-segmented roundworms that occur naturally in soil throughout the world. Inside the nematode’s gut is the real weapon — symbiotic bacteria that when released inside an insect kill it within 24 to 48 hours.” http://www.arbico-organics.com/organic-pest-control-beneficial-nematodes-info.html

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February 20, 2008

:051 Sump Pumps

Filed under: :051 Sump Pumps — Tags: , , , , , , , — John Banta @ 12:01 am
rh1400-install-150px.jpg credit: RadonSeal

Suggested Review – :047, :048, :049, :050

Welcome to today’s 1:5:10:365 Tip for becoming a better steward for our home and planet.

1:5:10:051 Tip: It is always best for crawlspaces to drain to daylight. When this isn’t possible a sump pump may be necessary.

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Additional Information

The RadonSeal company has a sump pump with battery back-up that sits above the water. If the power fails the pump operates on the battery back-up to help keep the substructure dry. Check them out at:

http://www.radonseal.com/pumps/battery-sump-pumps.htm

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