Magnetic Refrigerators
Magnetic Refrigerators
Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric have teamed up to create a revolutionary new type of refrigerator that uses magnets to create cold, also known as the magnetocaloric effect (lowering or raising the temperature of the material by changing the magnetic field).
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
Ultra-Efficient Heat Pumps
The Building Technologies Office is ushering in the next generation of heat pump systems, which warm and cool your home by moving heat from one space to another. A fuel-fired, multi-function residential heat pump that can reduce primary energy consumption by 30 percent.
Clothes Dryers
Clothes Dryers
The same concept behind heat pump technologies that keep your home comfortable can also be used for another important application: drying your clothes. Oak Ridge National Laboratory and General Electric are developing a new type of clothes dryer that uses a heat pump cycle to generate hot air needed for drying.
Smarter, More Connected Homes
Smarter, More Connected Homes
We live in an increasingly connected world -- the same is true for our homes. New electronic devices and appliances can now be linked to the Internet to provide real-time data that makes it easier to understand and lower energy use.
Next-Gen Insulation
Next-Gen Insulation
Insulation is one of the most important ways to reduce your home heating and cooling costs. The Industrial Science & Technology Network is developing new foam insulation made with environmentally friendly and advanced composite materials that ensure heat doesn’t escape from the attic, walls and other areas of the home during cold winter months.
Advanced Window Controls
Advanced Window Controls
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pella Windows are working on new highly insulated windows that use sensors and microprocessors to automatically adjust shading based on the amount of available sunlight and the time of day to ensure proper lighting and comfort, saving consumers energy and money.
Reflective Roofing Materials
Reflective Roofing Materials
Cool roofs coated with materials containing specialized pigments reflect sunlight and absorb less heat than standard roofs. Expect these types of roof systems to get even “cooler” due to new fluorescent pigments developed by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and PPG Industries that can reflect nearly four times the amount of sunlight of standard pigments.

Energy-Saving Solutions

From heating and cooling to electronics and appliances, it takes a lot of energy to power our daily lives. Our homes use 37 percent more energy today than they did in 1980. But without energy efficiency -- through technology innovation and federal energy conservation standards -- this number would be a lot higher. In fact, even though our total energy use has grown, our energy use per household is down about 10 percent, despite that our homes are larger and contain more devices.

Save Energy Systems

22 April 2019

How to Start Your Own Composting Pile

Guest post by Matt Hagens In the world of gardening, compost is known as “black gold”, an amendment that provides remarkable benefits to both the soil and the plants growing in it. Through natural processes, unwanted waste is broken down by...

The post How to Start Your Own Composting Pile appeared first on HomeSelfe.


Guest post by Matt Hagens In the world of gardening, compost is known as “black gold”, an amendment that provides remarkable benefits to both the soil and the plants growing in it. Through natural processes, unwanted waste is broken down by...

The post How to Start Your Own Composting Pile appeared first on HomeSelfe.

Guest post by Matt Hagens

In the world of gardening, compost is known as “black gold”, an amendment that provides remarkable benefits to both the soil and the plants growing in it. Through natural processes, unwanted waste is broken down by bacteria, creating organic material rich in nutrients and beneficial microorganisms that increase soil fertility and bolster healthy root development in plants. As gardeners become aware of sustainable gardening methods, more are opting to compost their own waste using the following techniques and steps.

Different Ways to Compost

One of the great things about composting is the flexibility it offers you in regards to the method/system you follow. Choose a method that fits your budget and backyard setup.

A.  Piling is a simple, common process. Materials are literally heaped into a pile and turned periodically to aerate.

B.  Open bins are a partial structure allowing for ventilation and aeration while keeping materials confined. One side is easily accessible to add materials and turn the pile.

C.  Enclosed bins completely enclose the process via a lid and eliminate both the sight of a compost pile and the smell.

D.  Tumblers are a unique, efficient type of enclosed compost bin. Cylindrical in nature, they have a handle that allows them to be “turned” or tumbled easily.

Composting Basics

For simplicity sake, most decomposable materials are carbon or nitrogen-based (to varying degrees); these two types of materials need to be in the proper balance in your compost pile for decomposition to occur.

Carbon-based materials give compost its light, fluffy body and typically consists of items that are more wood-based, or fibrous: dried leaves, branches, stems, sawdust, tree bark, corn stalks, wood ash, pine needles, peat moss. These carbon-based materials are considered “brown” and provide food for the bacteria and microorganisms.

Nitrogen or protein-rich material (manures, food scraps, green leaves) provides the raw materials (amino acids and proteins) needed for the enzymatic reactions that must occur. They are considered “green” material.

Steps to Composting

Starting your own compost pile entails more than throwing yard and table scraps into a heap. Following the subsequent steps will aid in producing high-quality compost.

1. Clear a space in your yard or garden, exposing the bare soil. This allows earthworms and microorganisms to come up out of the soil into the pile, driving the decomposition Process.

2. Build a layer of straw or twigs as a base. A few inches of these materials helps to aerate the pile, providing good drainage.

3. Add layers of materials to be composted one at a time, alternating between brown and green materials.

4. Incorporate a nitrogen source. Manure or grass clippings work best; their purpose is to active the pile, starting the decomposition.

5. Keep the pile moist. Water it occasionally, or let rainfall naturally add moisture. It’s recommended that the materials should feel like a damp sponge, but unable to squeeze water out if you grab a handful.

6. Turn the compost pile every couple of weeks with a shovel or pitchfork, or spin the tumbler. This aerates the materials, providing oxygen to the bacteria breaking down the waste, and distributes fresh materials within the pile.

Start Your Own Composting Pile

Dos and Don’ts of Composting

To help speed up the decomposition process, keep in mind the following “do’s” and “don’ts”.

DO

•  Chop all materials into smaller pieces if feasible.

•  Cover the top of the pile with plastic sheeting or plywood if you live in a rainy climate.

•  Sprinkle in some nitrogen fertilizer if your brown ratio is too high.

DON’T

•  Don’t keep food waste at the top of the pile where it can attract rodents.

•  Don’t put the roots of plants into the pile.

•  Don’t add diseased plant tissue or weeds.

Materials to avoid in your compost pile:

•  Raspberry brambles

•  Large branches or sticks

•  Pet waste or used litter

•  Meat

•  Bones

•  Dairy products

•  Fats or oils

•  Pressure treated wood

•  Black walnut leaves or twigs

How to Tell When Your Compost is Ready

When the composting process has finished, and your compost is ready to use in the garden, it will look and feel like really, really dark soil with a deep, earthy smell. The pile will have shrunk to about one-half of its starting size, and none of the original materials will be recognizable. Once all of these things have occurred, it’s time to start incorporating it into your soil.

Composting your own yard and kitchen waste allows you to carefully monitor the process and the materials that go into the finished compost. The different ways to compost offer flexibility based upon the space you have and how much effort you want to put into it. Following the basics above helps to ensure the process runs smoothly without any hiccups!

 


Matt Hagens owns Yard Care Life where he writes about lawn and garden care.  He has developed a passion for helping other DIY’ers get the most out of their yards.  He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and 3 daughters who love to help out in the yard as well.

The post How to Start Your Own Composting Pile appeared first on HomeSelfe.


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