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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
Green Building Bible, fourth edition (both books)
These two books are the perfect starting place to help you get to grips with one of the most vitally important aspects of our society - our homes and living environment.

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    Ive got the job of painting ( in masonry paint ) the outside of my girlfriend's house. We're trying to do this without using a fungicidal wash ( used to kill off any plant growth on the walls ).This contains lots of nasty chemicals harmful to aquatic life & polluting to water-courses. Some P&D guys suggest using bleach as a much less harmful alternative. Im not really up on the chemistry side of things. It would be great to find an effective way to kill/clean off the algae/moss plant life with a substance that breaks down harmlessly prior to doing the painting. Can anyone help.
    Scrape off any visible moss etc. Then spray with weak bleach solution in a garden sprayer. I doubt any will find it's way into a watercourse.
    Well ! looks like the bleach thing is thinkin in the right direction. That's very helpful as we have been holding ourselves up & scratchin our heads on this one. I was going to make a solution using bleach. Wasnt sure how strong or weak. Also, was thinking i would have to do alot of scrubbing, followed by washing off with water. I like the elegance of using a garden sprayer, which could save my eyesight even though im gonna use all relevant PPE. Are you implying i wont have to scrub the moss off then, just wait for it to die off, then dry out, then begin painting ?
    just need to add here : what im dealing with isnt your typical moss. Its much less 3-D, finer, flat to the wall ( more 2-D ) spore/algal looking, powdery & would make your fingers green if rubbed across the surface of the wall where its present. That's why i thought id have to scrub it with the bleach solution, to physically shift it off. Then hose it down afterwards etc . .
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2011
    Sounds like a lichen (alga + fungus).


    Yeah lichen, could well be just that. Didn't know a lichen = alga + fungus. Will ask a botanist friend of mine. Interesting. Thanx for all comments so far.
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2011
    Fungicidal wash is pretty much identical to bleach! (bleach is cheaper of course)
    • CommentAuthornovice
    • CommentTimeAug 26th 2011
    Is ECOS LONG LIFE INSTANT ALGICIDE suitable? It's safe for wildlife :)
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeAug 27th 2011
    So is nuclear energy, but there's still a lot of people against it. :wink:

    Bleach is fairly innocuous unless it gets into watercourses or, particularly, a cesspit or septic tank in any quantity. The amount you're proposing/likely to need to use is so small as to be of negligible concern. :bigsmile:
    Yes i should have said lots of scrubbing with a brush in obviously green places.:cry:
    Have found a power washer very effective at removal of brick surface contamination and I understand masonry paint generally contains fungicide.
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011 edited

    Seems chlorine not too good for environment.

    I find elbow grease works on most things. Once cleaned think up a way to stop it reforming (whatever it is).

    I do find it a bit strange that to save the environment another bit is wrecked.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011
    Chlorine itself has never been good for the environment, but it does make clear that...

    "Because of its reactivity chlorine is not likely to move through the ground and enter groundwater. Plants and animals are not likely to store chlorine."

    Tony's the chemist. What's his take on it? :smile:
    • CommentAuthortony
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011
    A Risk Assessment Report (RAR) conducted by the European Union on sodium hypochlorite (contained in most household bleaches) conducted under Regulation EEC 793/93 concluded that this substance is safe for the environment in all its current, normal uses.[5] This is owed to its high reactivity and instability. Disappearance of hypochlorite is practically immediate in the natural aquatic environment, reaching in a short time concentration as low as 10-22 μg/L or less in all emission scenarios. In addition, it was found that while volatile chlorine species may be relevant in some indoor scenarios, they have negligible impact in open environmental conditions. Further, the role of hypochlorite pollution is assumed as negligible in soils.

    Chlorine gas and many other chemicals containing chlorine are a different story.
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011 edited
    So bleach is okay to pour down the drain then, shall stop paying a premium for that 'eco' stuff :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorbarney
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011
    Do they still use asbestos in bleach production ?


    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011 edited
    Ha ha. Nick, you bugger, you know exactly what Tony's said. And as I said above, it's not very helpful to the bugs that render the contents of a cess-pit/septic tank socially acceptable if used in quantity, but you'll have to go some to do that, unless you're obsessed with cleanliness. I use it in dilute form to spray the walls of the shower, which keeps them moderately mould-free, and to do that buy only about two 750ml bottles of bleach a year, which also covers the occasional quick squirt into the WC bowl to sort a particularly obstinate stain that EcoVer won't shift on its own, or to wash down the shower walls occasionally with a squirt of undiluted bleach onto a sponge. All those applications are hevily diluted.

    But we're talking about washing down an outside wall to remove whatever it is that's causing the bother, so the bleach will be going into the soil, which brings us to Tony's explanation... :wink: :bigsmile:
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeAug 28th 2011
    Perhaps Brian's suggestion makes the most eco-sense. Just make sure you plug the pressure-washer into the pv or wind-derived electricity, connect up to the rainwater harvester and away you go. Conscience-free. :smoking:
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2011 edited
    Just make sure you wear old clothes if you're going to be splashing the bleech around. Move the car? Neighbours washing?

    Aside: Perhaps I'm not the best to give advice. I managed to kill a patch of my lawn last month after demonstrating to my kids how vinegar and baking powder react when mixed :-(

    Hey perhaps that would work on the walls?
    • CommentAuthorseascape
    • CommentTimeAug 29th 2011
    How do they react? (scorched earth by the sound of it!). Both those products are recommended as 'eco, planet saving cleaners' and they do work well separately. Maybe test some on the wall before committing to bleach.
    • CommentAuthorCWatters
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2011
    Vinegar and baking powder volcano...


    Vinegar contains acetic acid which reacts with the sodium bicarbonate in baking soda to form carbonic acid which breakes down to form carbon dioxide and water.

    Not sure which bit killed the lawn but we had a nice brown patch with lines where the jet of foaming liquid went.
    • CommentAuthorJoiner
    • CommentTimeAug 30th 2011
    Was the film "Honey I shrunk the kids" based on your life, Colin? :confused:
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