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Environmentally friendly renovation ideas
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SSharon
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Mar 7, 2010, 08:54 PM
 
As some of you may know from facebook or from paying really close attention to my location I recently moved from Long Island, NY to New Jersey because I finally got a full time job! My wife and I bought a coop apartment and we are about to get started with some renovations. MacNN is the most well educated bunch of people I know and so I'm here looking for ideas like environmentally friendly paint or energy star appliances. We are totally gutting the kitchen and bathroom so start with those two rooms please.

It is a coop though so no solar panels on the roof, geothermal heating, or anything cool like that.
AT&T iPhone 5S and 6; 13" MBP; MDD G4.
     
mduell
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Mar 7, 2010, 11:23 PM
 
Don't renovate, save the tons and tons of carbon emissions.
     
lexapro
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Mar 8, 2010, 01:06 AM
 
Um, a highly rated energy efficient oven, fridge, lightning and toilet?
     
Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Mar 8, 2010, 09:36 AM
 
Remind me again: Where can I buy lightning?
     
downinflames68
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Mar 8, 2010, 10:19 AM
 
Wrap the shower's drain pipe around the input pipe of your hot water heater.
     
Phileas
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Mar 8, 2010, 10:25 AM
 
Buy no or low VOC paint. Home Depot is all you need, it's becoming pretty mainstream.

If you're serious about low impact living, try and reuse old stuff, like getting fixtures and fittings from your local Habitat Restore.
Pretty much all of our furniture is from junk and/or antique stores, with a bit of craigslist and yardsale thrown in. The secret is in having a few expensive signature items, then complement them with cheap finds. Having said that, we love mid-century design, so this kind of setup suits our tastes.

We recently bought a 1960's Danish designed rosewood sofa and chair for about the same price we would have paid at IKEA for something of far inferior quality. We're having it reupholstered at the moment and with a bit of care it'll outlive us, our children and our children's children.

But yes, reusing old stuff - except for appliances of course - makes a huge dent into your footprint.
     
Warren Pease
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Mar 8, 2010, 12:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
Don't renovate, save the tons and tons of carbon emissions.
This is probably the most green, but given that you do want to do something, I'd suggest looking for 're-stores' in your area. While they won't have a huge selection, you can buy appliances and materials that have already been used, saving the need of manufacturing something from new.

Our local re-store is tied with habitat for humanity.
     
SSharon  (op)
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Mar 8, 2010, 03:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Wrap the shower's drain pipe around the input pipe of your hot water heater.
This is a great idea and if I was building a new home I would certainly do it, but the hot water for my coop isn't under my control.

Not renovating isn't an option. I specifically chose the apartment knowing it needed some work. I will be getting all energy star appliances and reusing all my old furniture. I will keep an eye out for the re-stores since I'm not familiar with them.

Thanks for the ideas so far.
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nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 03:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Wrap the shower's drain pipe around the input pipe of your hot water heater.
That's a great idea. would involve some ridiculous plumbing with our current setup, but we'll probably be replacing the water heater this year with a tankless, so maybe we could relocate it to be near the shower.
     
Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Mar 8, 2010, 03:45 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Wrap the shower's drain pipe around the input pipe of your hot water heater.
Why would you heat hot water?
     
nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 03:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Why would you heat hot water?
The input pipe for the water heater carries cold water, so by pre-heating it with waste heat from the shower drainage you reduce the required energy expenditure by the water heater to bring the input water up to the desired temperature for output.
     
Laminar
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Location: Iowa, how long can this be? Does it really ruin the left column spacing?
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Mar 8, 2010, 04:04 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
The input pipe for the water heater carries cold water, so by pre-heating it with waste heat from the shower drainage you reduce the required energy expenditure by the water heater to bring the input water up to the desired temperature for output.
I understand the purpose of preheating the water entering the water heater. My question was pointed more towards the use of the term "hot water heater."
     
nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 04:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
I understand the purpose of preheating the water entering the water heater. My question was pointed more towards the use of the term "hot water heater."
You don't, you heat water until it's hot. Otherwise it would be a warm water heater.
     
Oneota
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Mar 8, 2010, 05:02 PM
 
Edit: Damn, someone beat me to it.
"Yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation.
     
mduell
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Mar 8, 2010, 05:52 PM
 
Originally Posted by downinflames68 View Post
Wrap the shower's drain pipe around the input pipe of your hot water heater.
How much energy do you expect this to save? The back of my napkin says it's trivial.
     
Oneota
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Mar 8, 2010, 05:56 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
How much energy do you expect this to save? The back of my napkin says it's trivial.
The Cheetos dust on the napkin vehemently disagrees, however. The honey mustard is undecided.
"Yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation.
     
nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:01 PM
 
Originally Posted by mduell View Post
How much energy do you expect this to save? The back of my napkin says it's trivial.
I think it would depend a lot on how your system is set up. For a traditional tank heater, it's probably not going to make much of a difference as your warmed water will just be mixing in with a bunch of other water and who knows if it will even actually make it to your shower. For a tankless though, I could see it being a bigger gain, as you're almost guaranteed that the water you're warming with your shower drain will be entering the heater and then coming to your shower.

So if you have a tankless heater positioned very close to your shower drain you might see some noticeable results. I assume you'd also want to insulate your shower drain as far as the coil around the heater's intake to reduce loss, and use highly conductive piping for the coiled segment.

The other big question is how much heat is lost into the air in your bathroom. In other words: how warm is the waste water coming out of your shower compared to the hot water going in?
     
Oneota
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:12 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
I think it would depend a lot on how your system is set up. For a traditional tank heater, it's probably not going to make much of a difference as your warmed water will just be mixing in with a bunch of other water and who knows if it will even actually make it to your shower.
I thought the idea was just to place the pipes adjacently, or have one pipe be inside the other -- in no fashion should the water coming out of your shower drain actually re-enter the water heater. That's probably a violation of any number of building codes and just generally really ickky (you do know what adolescent boys like to do in the shower, right?).
"Yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation" yields a falsehood when preceded by its quotation.
     
nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oneota View Post
I thought the idea was just to place the pipes adjacently, or have one pipe be inside the other -- in no fashion should the water coming out of your shower drain actually re-enter the water heater. That's probably a violation of any number of building codes and just generally really ickky (you do know what adolescent boys like to do in the shower, right?).
Yeah, exactly. The drain pipe coils around the heater intake pipe for maximum heat transfer, but they're still isolated systems. The mixing I was referring to is of cold water (now warmed by your waste water) into the tank of your traditional water heater.
     
Oneota
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:37 PM
 
Originally Posted by nonhuman View Post
Yeah, exactly. The drain pipe coils around the heater intake pipe for maximum heat transfer, but they're still isolated systems. The mixing I was referring to is of cold water (now warmed by your waste water) into the tank of your traditional water heater.
Ah, good. Just making sure there wasn't a misunderstanding somewhere.

But even though there's no guarantee that the hot water wouldn't go to the shower, one would think that the majority of energy expenditure is in getting the water to be hot in the first place, not keeping it hot once it's there, so it'll still reduce overall hot water energy costs (especially if your water heater has a thermal blanket on it, like it should).
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WhaMe
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:50 PM
 
For the colder months, get one of these and turn your thermostat down.

In the summer, leave the AC off and put ice cubes down your pants.
     
olePigeon
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Mar 8, 2010, 06:53 PM
 
Carpet your home with pelts from dogs euthanized by the ASPC. That's pretty green.
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you will understand why I dismiss yours." - Stephen F. Roberts
     
nonhuman
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Mar 8, 2010, 07:17 PM
 
Originally Posted by Oneota View Post
Ah, good. Just making sure there wasn't a misunderstanding somewhere.

But even though there's no guarantee that the hot water wouldn't go to the shower, one would think that the majority of energy expenditure is in getting the water to be hot in the first place, not keeping it hot once it's there, so it'll still reduce overall hot water energy costs (especially if your water heater has a thermal blanket on it, like it should).
Very true. Which is why when it's time to replace our water heater (within a year), I plan on getting a tankless heater.
     
   
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