Much of my area has problems with low rainfall and drought. As a landscaping alternative, many houses use clever designs with drought resistant plants, or low water / rock designs such as this one. It is still aesthetically pleasing, and it helps the overall community in trying times.
We have been looking into methods for helping birds and other pollinators thrive in our area, and have implemented some of the tips in our own backyard. Here, we collected an assortment of nearby plant materials, including fallen pine needles, leaves, twigs, and dried plant seeds, to offer as readily available nesting materials for our birds.
We made sure to cut each of the pieces into smaller, more manageable sizes, and placed them in holders at the end of the yard. With the first, we used a basket from a local thrift store, and placed it in a slightly protected area between some low plants. With the second, we filled an old suet feeder, giving a more raised option to obtain materials amongst some of the other plants.
Since we live in an area with a warmer climate, we do hope this will offer some help to our birds through the winter, especially since materials become slightly more scarce as trees lose their foliage.
6 Key Ingredients of a Net Zero Home are:
– Occupant Vigilance/Monitoring systems
– Proper Orientation and Responsive Envelope Design
– Xeriscaping and Rainwater Collection
– High Efficiency Appliances
– Healthy Indoor Environment
– Active Technology (Solar)
This LEED Platinum home plot exhibits a large variety of sustainable features, including this system for rainwater collection, which provides for 90% of the home’s water use. Several aluminum gutters attached to the house serve to capture and siphon rainwater down to a storage tank further down the plot. Since it is gravity fed, no pumps are required to move the water to the tank, though the home still has a water supply pump to bring water to the fixtures.
The house also incorporates a PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) manifold plumbing system, which serves as a main control center for all of the home’s water distribution lines, and allows for great ease of use. With this, individual lines to specific fixtures may easily be shut off when needed, and entirely from a central location.
More information on the PEX system :
After seeing all of the suggestions for utilizing Christmas trees after the holidays, our family set the tree in our backyard and crafted a variety of treats for birds to hang as ornaments. In addition to helping provide the birds with some extra protein and nourishment in the wintertime, the tree offers a small amount of additional shelter, and extra material for building nests.
For the ornaments, we made:
– Pine cones covered in peanut butter and dipped in birdseed
– Strings of apple and orange slices
– A hanging apple bowl with birdseed and fruit chunks
– Suet chunks covered in extra birdseed (YUM)
– Hanging Spanish moss as tinsel (for extra nesting material)
This LEED Platinum home plot exhibits a large variety of sustainable features, including this 30-panel solar installation atop the barn roof. The setup involves a 6.9 kW system, which serves to power roughly 1/3 of the plot’s operations (covering three buildings and a pond).
In addition, with the aid of supportive credits, the cost of the system was able to be reduced a great deal, to half of the overall total.
Our hotel/hostel has installed special Raindance showers, which use up to 60% less water than others. They are designed to limit flow and adjust to differing water pressures, using only 1.5-2 gallons of water per minute, while maintaining a full shower experience.
When we moved, we went to a few local stores to ask for any extra used boxes they may have, for us to pack with. Our Kroger told us the best time to come for boxes, and let us choose from a large selection in the back. Some of the boxes also had some thick packaging paper.
A liquor store would also put out its used boxes for people to take, and some had special cardboard separators that we were able to use for fragile glass and kitchen items.
When moving to your first home or apartment, there are a lot of good finds around thrift and reuse stores when looking for furniture or other home items. The majority of my apartment furniture is reused, whether from Goodwill stores or friends in the area. They are all very good quality pieces and have a great style too, while being much easier on my budget! Definitely recommended to those in need of things for the home.
I created a simple circuit to capture and utilize the energy generated by a single solar cell, in order to charge my phone.
This LEED Platinum home exhibits a large variety of sustainable features, including this use of cast concrete in both its floors and countertops. The stained concrete floors offer a beautifully rich color to the room, and can come in a variety of other shades.
Concrete serves as a good friend to the environment for a variety of reasons, including its high longevity, durability, and ability to give use to industrial waste byproducts. Utilizing stained concrete also minimizes the amount of flooring material needed, can offer the opportunity to include and repurpose recycled materials, and decreases the amount of allergens that may otherwise build up in carpets.
Learn More About the Benefits of Concrete :
Stained Concrete Information
This LEED Platinum home exhibits a large variety of sustainable features, including this notable cork flooring. Cork has excellent properties for such an application, in addition to giving a soft, warm color to the house interior (though other cork flooring can come in many patterns and colors as well).
Due to its highly porous composition, cork is able to better absorb impacts and provides very good acoustic and thermal properties, which are greatly beneficial to a home. It is also a highly renewable material, and exhibits a long list of other excellent aspects, as detailed in the last half of this page (click thumbnail below):
We were given this small bee house to try to encourage bees to stay and thrive in our area. Along with a garden planted to attract pollinators, we hope to see more bees in the future, since there have not been many for the past few years.
The house has been posted along a safe part of our fence to lessen the possibility of harm from wind and other factors.
I was not aware of some of the options for disposing of more complex materials (including light bulbs, batteries, and other items) until seeing some of these separated bins at our Home Depot. For the past few months now, I have made sure to put aside those items as they stop working and make a quick trip over to drop them off.