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Help me make my apartment self-sufficient and green Answered


I'm interested in making my apartment greener and more self sufficient than it already is. I want to do this for many reasons, but mostly to see how far I can take this. I'm sure a lot of this will depend on what I can put up with, but i'm looking for some ideas of things to implement. I'll follow Instructables if they exist about it and if they don't, I'll create some to document this.

There are some restrictions: I am a renter and I don't own the place. I can make some changes, but I can't cut the walls out or replace appliances. I also can't put anything on the roof or outside of my apartment. I'm also very serious about conserving floorspace in my apartment and not accumulation a lot of junk. I need a bit of space to do my projects and have some sanity in this place (I live in NYC). This means no giant compost piles or what not in my living room.

Here's my thoughts on things that I will need to work on:

  • Measuring my consumption of things
  • Reduce energy use
  • Reduce energy waste
  • Produce some of my own power (Solar? I have a big window)
  • Alternate lighting and heating methods?
  • Making my own food to reduce the amount of waste packaging
  • Using local ingredients
  • joining a CSA (just did that this week actually!)
  • Growing some of my own food
  • Reducing garbage and waste water
  • Reusing things that I can

Can you add to the list? Anything that you could help clarify? Anyone interested in taking the challenge with me?


8 Replies

NachoMahma (author)2008-10-30

. Many of the newer uninterpretable power supplies (UPS) have built-in Watt meters. Probably accurate enough of what you want to do. When you get done with your energy usage survey, plug your computer into it.

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drocko (author)NachoMahma2008-11-03

Good call. I already have a UPS without a watt meter though, so I'm considering getting a kill-a-watt device to measure things.

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NachoMahma (author)drocko2008-11-03

. Depending on how serious you are about your measurements, you may be better off buying an "industrial" wattmeter; the "consumer" units are notoriously inaccurate (or used to be a few years ago). You may even be able to find a logging/charting model in your price range.

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NachoMahma (author)NachoMahma2008-10-30
  • uninterruptible power supply

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Lithium Rain (author)NachoMahma2008-10-30

Come bump the petition to edit comments...

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Kiteman (author)2008-10-30
You should, of course, search the site, or browse the Green category projects.

My first thoughts are:

  • Grow things in window boxes (peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes, herbs etc).
  • Cover the upper halves of windows in solar cells to charge things.
  • Could you get away with Savonius-type turbines on the corner of window-boxes, set up to trickle-charge things?
  • Windbelts across windows.

Hope that's a help.

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drocko (author)Kiteman2008-11-03

The wind turbines and wind belts seem like great ideas. I'm not sure how my landlord will feel about me putting something outside of my windows, but I can ask. I have been planning grow some plants for food in the house, maybe compost as well. What I have been wondering about instead of solar power is the use of a 12 volt system to power LED lighting for the house and a bicycle stand that functions as a generator to charge it. In the winter when I'm less likely to bike outside I can charge the battery and get exercise and in the summer when I'm biking outside it will be lighter longer and I'll need less lighting inside... Just a thought at this point.

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11010010110 (author)2008-11-02

some obvious stuff - go vegan or atleast vegetarian - power off all electronics that are in stand by - check power use of your computer and up / down grade it. the most power using computers are pentium 4 and higher. some modern computers use low power but most dont. i use pentium 3s as my main computers and they work excellent if you use lightweight software. all notebooks use way less power than full size computers. use LCD monitors on the computers you use frequently - reduce lighting levels to the minimum required - identify stuff that is not green and dont support it

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