How to daisychain rain barrels.

Submitted by Barbara on Sat, 08/04/2012 - 16:37

There are many many different ways to approach rain barrels.

After looking at lots of different systems and a little personal experience, I have developed a favorite.

60 gallon barrels are less expensive than 300 gallon totes even when you account for the water they hold.  60 gallon barrels can often be found for free and are easier to get in the car.  300 gallon barrels are a little easier to deal with in that you have less pluming, fewer spigots and potential leaks.  We have some of each.

Thirft Shopping Works so get Inspired!

Submitted by Barbara on Fri, 05/25/2012 - 17:27

I decided to put together this information for those of you dont believe thrifting can fulfill your needs.  Here is an inventory of everything purchased on May 24th, 2012.  I have to admit that it isnt always this bountiful . . . but then going to Target can also be very disappointing. Back when I still went to Target now and again, I would find half the things on my list and come out with a $100 in stuff I hadnt planned to buy.  Thats quick way to be poor and really not very helpful when you think about it.

The risks of Solid-State Drives

Submitted by admin on Sun, 04/15/2012 - 15:08

Almost exactly a year ago, I bought a snappy little 60G SSD drive for my home server for only around $100 or so.  I have been very pleased with its performance; for example, I can boot the server in only about ten seconds!  Ironically enough, though, I keep this system running 24x7, and therefore rarely experienced this particular benefit.

Upcycled mini-Trombe wall

Submitted by Barbara on Sat, 01/21/2012 - 19:48

I hate to see anything go to waste.  I also hate to see my life cluttered up with useless crap.  After we had the exterior of our house redone in Certainteed Fiber Cement board, there was lots left over.  Lots and lots.  We found several small projects, but the most interesting was the mini-Trombe wall.


CO2 payback of solar panels and an electric car

Submitted by Greg on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 19:03

There have been a lot of studies and comparisons on the savings of CO2 emissions when pv solar panels are used in place of electricity from a utility company; however, since different solar panel manufacturers use different manufacturing techniques, and different kinds of power plants produce differing amounts of CO2, the results of these comparisons can vary widely.

Hand Washing Dishes vs Mechanical Dish Washers.

Submitted by Barbara on Sun, 01/01/2012 - 06:15

Dishwashers vs hand washing is one of those debates that rages though the green community and you can find plenty of facts, research and evidence to support both sides.

Trouble is, that most people try to compare apples and (some un-specified fruit that proves the desired outcome) so we here at set out to do our own first hand practical kitchen analysis.

Electric car home-charger options

Submitted by Greg on Tue, 10/18/2011 - 16:48

If you buy your car home charger through Nissan's program, you must use one of their installers.  Their minimum price with installation is around $2500, which can be excessive if you only need a little bit of electrical work done.

Another option would be to buy your own home car charger from Leviton:

Tetra Pak into Pencil Box

Submitted by Barbara on Thu, 09/15/2011 - 04:56

Many of you are already familiar with my on going battle with Tetra Pak.  Here is a new project for everyone.  I thought this would be a good project because I found very little in the way of recycled pencil boxes when looking for products for the eco school supply product list.  Most pencil boxes were small, kitsch and over priced.

You will need:

Estimating your electric car's kWhr consumption

Submitted by Greg on Wed, 09/14/2011 - 05:18

One of the most frequent questions I get about my Leaf is "how far does it go", or equivalently, "how much electricity does it use?"  Both questions hinge on the electrical consumption of the car.  "How far does it go" is equal to total capacity (24 kW·h) divided by consumption, and "how much electricity does it use" is equal to your total driving distance times  consumption. The leaf expresses electrical consumption by the reciprocal quantity, miles per kW·h, so those are the units I will use as well.

Using PG&E online usage history to measure electric car's consumption level

Submitted by Greg on Tue, 08/16/2011 - 04:49

PG&E has a great online utility that will show you your hour-by-hour electrical consumption, directly from your smart meter.  The image below is a screenshot of the first full charge of my leaf, done around 4am after driving to work and back the day before.

My leaf has arrived!

Submitted by Greg on Sat, 08/13/2011 - 20:51

I did not get it in time for Christmas, but my long wait is over -- my Leaf has arrived -- in the garage, plugged in and charging up!  I've been on Nissan's waiting list since June of last year, but I have actually been looking forward to buying an electric car for much longer than that.  Back when my previous car was about seven years old, I fi

Build your own bicycle cargo trailer

Submitted by Barbara on Sun, 04/10/2011 - 04:30

So being part of the riot4 austerity and just generally wanting to live a better, healthier life has led us to try and spend more time biking around.  Most of our local errands we accomplish on foot but what about errands that take us out of town but arnt so far that we need to take the car?  What about those intermediate distance shopping trips?  How to get the goods home?