Living Building Challenge
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
An overview of groups, initiatives, planning certifications, and neighborhood developments that promote sustainable communities, including Transition initiatives, ecovillages, One Planet Communities, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and others.
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
Cam describes the benefits of writing this blog and his recent book.
We Westerners tend to think we’ve got it all going on when it comes to green living in general, and green building in particular.
12 of Morton’s buildings have been awarded the National Frame Building Association’s Building of the Year Award for 2011.
Morton Buildings is a proud ENERGY STAR® partner and also employs LEED Accredited Professionals to assist customers looking to achieve certification.
Western civilization is totally dependent upon cheap and abundant energy. Three quarters of the petroleum we burn in our engines is imported. Could it be cut off suddenly? Without cheap and abundant energy, our way of life would collapse. If we value our freedom and independence, we should not be relying on foreign petroleum. We should be making our own energy.
Congress is about to pass legislation to ease the worry of homeowner debt, but it's also possible to build your dream home without a mortgage.
For an investment of less than $10,000 and about a week of labor, you could have a custom workshop, barn, garden shed or office.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
The countdown to savings is on now at Morton Buildings.
Every natural environment is beautiful in ways we cannot imagine. We must preserve natural beauty for precisely that reason, because we could not conceive of natural beauty on our own without nature’s inspiration.
We are unique and brilliant creatures. Humanity has expanded into every corner of the planet. With our extraordinary tools, we are stronger and faster than any other species. And we are improving.
We could feed every hungry person tomorrow but we haven’t collectively decided to do so. In my beautiful vision, we would tolerate nothing less.
Applying human objectivity to the biggest, most intriguing and most definitively human problem, ever, is quite an endeavor.
Why is it unrealistic to believe we can agree that clean air and water are important and limited resources? How insane is it to think we could imagine a world of beauty and abundance? That’s what I’m going to aim for.
Steve explains how our pursuit of environmental sustainability can also drive us crazy if it's not put in the correct philosophical context.
Here's what it means when a building department requires "sealed drawings" of your project.
Musician Ben Sollee has defined the pace and purpose of touring, ditching the van and taking the 2 Mile Challenge.
Some of the difficulties we encounter in gardening at a high elevation
The challenges that we encounter trying to grow a garden at high latitude.
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
Husqvarna has issued the Ethanol Challenge in order to provide the tools for consumers to gain awareness about ethanol.
Last year, more than 30,000 Americans participated in the National Bike Challenge and rode more than 12 million miles. This year, the League of American Bicyclists wants to know if riders are ready for a bigger challenge.
The X Prize Foundation recently announced the winner of their "What's Your Crazy Green Idea" competition.
MAX ran with the motorcycles in the Vetter Fuel Economy Challenge, with surprisingly high marks--127 miles per gallon. Surprising to the author, at least.
The US Pro Cycle Challenge is a major cycling race that brings cyclists from all over the world including the recent winner of the Tour de France.
Climate change is here to stay, with violent and unpredictable weather. This presents challenges to home gardeners, so is there a way to storm proof our gardens?
Fracking, buying American, GMOs and unplugging topped the green news this week.
Renowned motorcycle inventor and longtime aerodynamics expert Craig Vetter stopped by the MOTHER EARTH NEWS office on his way home from his latest fuel economy challenge.
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses mandatory green building codes for all new commercial buildings nationwide.
The Living Building Challenge provides builders with information and a forum for sharing advice in an effort to promote the highest building standards.
Robyn finds enthusiasm for and interest in green building during a recent trip to the Carolinas.
For the past year, I’ve been chronicling the progress of a green-built home here in Boulder, Colorado, where I live, via this blog and accompanying videos. Watching the project unfold has been enlightening for many reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to see firsthand many of the cool technologies we read about and hear about. Sometimes that entails a little sacrifice.
Expect to see more modular homes, a boom in the green remodeling business and a ton more “green” products when it comes to green building trends in 2010—and be prepared to ask a lot more questions.
For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and create—healthier, more efficient homes. Cool by us.
Our favorite natural homes of 2010 range in size and grandiosity, from a 280-square-foot mountain cottage to an urban warehouse-cum-artists’-loft. Every one of them can teach us a lot about living green.
A Christmas present leads editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence to ponder the benefits of green-building initiatives in Arizona.
Editor-in-Chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence gets a great dose of green--and cheeseburgers--in Austin, Texas.
A cordwood building consists of short, round pieces of wood (think firewood) held together with mortar, and there are many advantages to choosing this type of construction.
The book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A Do-It-Ourselves Guide is a collection of skills, tools, and technologies usable by urban residents wanting to have more local access and control over life's essential resources.
Shocked that nearly everything in their Dallas home was made overseas, a family starts over and furnishes their home only with items made in the USA. ABC News challenges everyone to take a pledge to purchase products made in America.
Share your simple living ideas to help those in need.
By making good plans and imagining the future with a positive outcome, you can be ready to take advantage of opportunities when they come your way.
Mindy Pennybacker’s new book, Do One Green Thing: Saving the Earth Through Simple, Everyday Choices, and her website, GreenerPenny.com, offer easy tips for daily green living.
I’ve heard that the moment you plunk down a deposit for a vacation or buy yourself a plane ticket, a good chunk of you is already at the beach (or the mountains or the city . . . or wherever).
I’m sitting on the deck of my room at the Northern Queen Inn in Nevada City, California, on a gorgeous spring day.
Most American homes are codependent with a lifestyle-support-system of roads, wires, pipes, lines of credit, satellites, and a collective identity determined by the supply side. Yet just about any household budget offers continuing opportunities for creating a healthier, less expensive lifestyle that’s also easier on the environment.
As a new year unfolds, Natural Home forecasts 2010 predictions—and it's good news—Americans will become smarter, greener consumers.
In most cases, we can't do all of the things we would like to live more sustainable lives — at least, not all right away. We can all do something, though, and making the choices and taking the steps that we can is an effective, satisfying way to make our lives more self-reliant and better for the planet every day.
Watch this video to learn how a straw bale house goes together from start to finish.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting.
Check out this interesting video showing the construction of the Builders without Borders Straw Bale Eco-House.
Eric, Michael and Loren decided to build a winter shelter from natural and re-used materials two winters ago, their first ever natural building experiment. This is an account of that experience that changed their lives in mysterious and unforeseen ways (for the better!).
Here are some tips for making a new garage more environmentally friendly.
Yes, unreinforced masonry is a risk in earthquake zones. Here’s how you can find the earthquake risk for your area, plus tips for making adobe houses more stable.
Learn what it means to have LEED-certified home and about the LEED for Homes program that started in 2008.
Kids love to build forts and space ships, and create secret places to dream and imagine.
Save forests, use local materials, build a durable house made of whole trees.
Mayors from across the country have created an alliance to facilitate green buildings for K-12 schools.
Using low-cost — but durable — earthbag construction, you can create a beautiful green roof.
Sustainsia’s compact, green-built work pod could solve my office needs.
BuildingGreen.com founder and Environmental Building News editor Alex Wilson wins Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.
This week green building author, architect and Natural Home columnist Carol Venolia dispenses advice on green remodeling during workshops sponsored by Design~Build~Live in Austin, Texas.
The Boulder, Colorado, green-building program will get a makeover for its second year.
Homeowners beware. Your drywall could be poisoning your home. Officials believe that since 2001, drywall imported from China has contained high levels of sulfur that could be leaking into homes and other buildings.
As we continue to watch a zero energy home get built in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, I’m digging the opportunity to learn more about building materials that I’ve seen in finished form but never in process. I like the
The past couple of weeks have been heartening for me. First of all, I’m always ridiculously happy to see the month of March end. No matter what’s going on in my life, the onset of April’s longer days and the sudden burst of plum blossoms in my back yard causes a tectonic shift in my mood. I can’t help it. I’m just completely in love with spring.
In response to last week’s post, we received a letter asking why the forest products industry would be considered a “foe” to green buildings. “I can understand why plastics and vinyl doesn’t make sense, but aren’t wood products exactly the kind of material that qualifies as green?” this reader asked.
Natural Home is ahead of the most recent trends, highlighted in the National Association of Remodeling Industry’s builder poll.
The U.S. Green Building Council singles out the Forest Stewardship Council as the only trusted wood certifier.
Here's where you can find or build a press for making compressed earth blocks, and some helpful advice on sealants.
Welcome to by blog “City to Country, One Step at a Time.” Here’s how I ended up as a modern homesteader on a little acreage in the Canadian West Coast bush.
If you are growing vegetables, making a few homemade wares here and there ... you are practicing good, old-fashioned homesteading techniques.
Many decisions go into remote living to decide if it is right for you.
Ed and Bruce share their experiences with homesteading and self-sufficiency in a rural setting. This segment is on using natural resources around the homestead.
How a single purchase of a magazine in newsprint in 1970 changed my life.
The DOE and NREL released a study outlining ways to build grocery stories and medium-sized businesses that need 50 percent less energy.
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
Treat your building professional as you would want to be treated--and more great advice from contractors and designers who have seen it all.
Steve explains why building a scale model is such a good way to design homestead structures, and how to do it.
This May 2014, Be the Change Project is attempting to build a cob house in one day with 50 people.
Straw bale and timber frames are highly compatible, beautiful, and the efficiency and longevity of using these natural building techniques is superior in a cold climate setting.
60 people raised a cob house in one day in Reno, Nevada, with the Be the Change Project and House Alive.
Learn more about this building project, which utilizes SIP technology combined with an unusual geometry.
Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how the new energy and climate legislation that creates opportunities in green building.
See green building in action! The third and final season of the Greensburg TV series is scheduled to begin on May 2, 2010.
A review of the Husqvarna hatchet.
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
KOR Water has announced the reusable Nava filtering water bottle.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
The new metal roof was nailed down just hours before the storm hit.
Noting the “firsts” and “lasts” occurring on the homestead at early summer.
Choosing homesteading as a way of life and what it takes.
Wherever you live, you can practice sustainability and share your successes with your neighbors.
Enjoy visiting green living fairs, shows and workshops from Maine to Texas in every season of the year.
Luke Dinan, a young man from Toronto, Ontario, is forging his way towards sustainable living and a self-reliant lifestyle; a path we can appreciate, strive for and maybe contribute to.
Washington, D.C., Nevada and New Mexico see the most LEED-certified green building per capita in 2010.
If you’re the first of your friends to move to the country, get some chickens and plant an organic garden there will be some inevitable social fallout.
Our typical day living in the mountains in the winter.
The all-new RZT S ZERO is available in select markets and will be headlining the Cub Cadet Test Drive Experience Tour.
Be aware: Living sustainably can be hindered by homeowner association rules.
The daily realities of living in the mountains.
An introduction to me, a home-schooled 11 year old.
An article about when the best time is to start a new homestead.
Spring time is a time to experience the newness of life and living in the Sangre de Cristo mountains amid the wildflowers, birds, green woods and new birth.
Ryan Mitchell, founder of TheTinyLife.com, is saving up to pay cash for a 130-square-foot home on wheels in North Carolina. He’s seeking perspective, clarity—and a girlfriend who gets it.
An interview with the founder of a small organic gardening business that focuses on education and helping gardeners go organic. Learn more about this company and vote for it to win funding from a small business competition.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
You can't just hit the ground running when you make the transistion from rat race to homestead. There are lots of lessons to be learned. What wisdom can you share with the homestead hopefuls?
A rural home in La Porte, Iowa thrives on all the elements of nature including bird feeders, a veggie garden and table scraps.
Many people perceive going green as an inconvenience and an unnecessary burden on their daily lives. What they don't realize is that they can take simple steps to help protect the environment without the disruption to their lifestyle, but save money as well.
Calculating the amount of mountain snow to actual moisture.
Barebones strives to make the experience of outdoor recreation and hobbies a priority.
What does it take to build truly sustainable houses – the kind people really want and can afford? If you build small and use natural building materials, then most likely you’ll be able to build your own home in a reasonable amount of time for cash.
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
Sue McKay Miller divested herself of nearly everything she owned and moved into a yurt in the wilderness to determine how much she really needs to live a satisfying life. Turns out, she really doesn't need much.
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
I had heard there are thousands of new earthen houses in Thailand. That really amazed me, so I set out to learn the details about the modern earth building movement in Thailand.
This blog post is a description of starting a building project using Structural Insulated Panels, also known as SIPs.
Just so you don't think it's all fun and games living out here in the country....
Cam describes the building of his chicken coop.
I had no idea putting dirt in a box was this difficult.
How to build a greenhouse of used sliding-glass patio doors that is warmer and less expensive than plastic, and keeps out burrowing animals.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
President Obama plans to help earn the White House LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Building community through sharing work and food.
Dan Chiras announces a four-day energy workshop he'll be teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
Know of a group that's doing great work to support your community or have a community-building idea of your own? If you live in the Northeast United States, Green Mountain Coffee and Ashoka's Changemakers are holding the "Revelation to Action" contest to find and help fund the most innovative ideas to bolster communities in the Northeast states.
Build your own wood-fired earth oven for baking fluffier, more flavorful bread and other baked delights.
Build a simple backyard barbecue pit with no more than a shovel and a good cover panel for your next barbecue party.
Most people have at least heard of Habitat for Humanity. But when I dug a little deeper and sifted through the ol’ letters in the attic of the house (so to speak), I uncovered some interesting details.
Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.
Michael Morley's SIPs home project is underway, and despite an unexpected snowstorm, progress has been made on the concrete slab and the risers.
Recycling building materials from other sources is a great way to cut the cost and reduce the environmental impact of your DIY projects. We want to know where readers go to find reclaimed or used building materials, and how they use these materials in home projects.
Michael Morley has an exciting update on the house he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The dome is starting to go up!
Michael Morley is making progress on the SIPs home he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The roof is in place and the shell is essentially done.
Check out these renewable-energy courses to see if there’s an Evergreen class for you.
Michael Morley's SIPs home project is underway. On Tuesday, March 2, the excavator dug trench footings in at the site.
"Earthen Floors" by Sukita Reay Crimmel and James Thomson provides essential information for creating beautiful floors using natural techniques.
What is the best way to learn cordwood construction? Are there workshops or classes offered?
The fundamental building blocks, descriptions, diagrams and pictures of best practices cordwood buildings.
Learn how to build using the cordwood construction technique. Author Richard Flatau recommends taking a workshop or building a practice building.
The best time for selling your cordwood home. Tips, websites, suggestions, and what to do BEFORE you build.
Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
Live in a dome home in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
Share your thoughts about natural building methods including straw bale building, cordwood construction, earth building and more.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
The success of Urban Gardens is a story about an expansion of one’s reach outside of one given discipline.
Fall may be turning to winter, but there’s still time to enjoy those last sunny days before the harsh chill settles in.
The 20th-Annual Organic Growers School takes place March 8 through March 10 at the University of North Carolina at Asheville (UNCA) in Asheville, N.C. The event, which is open to the public, provides practical, region-appropriate organic growing and permaculture workshops, homesteading and rural living classes, as well as a seed exchange, silent auction and trade show.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
What skills are you learning in hopes of saving money?
Where is the strange and wonderful place this homesteader describes? And how do you get there?
The American Society of Safety Engineers’ Ag Branch encourages purchasing tractors with a Rollover Protection Structure. Programs exist that will help offset the cost of the ROPS to add to older tractors. Tractor rollovers are common accidents that will lead to severe injury or death, but an ROPS will keep the driver safe.
New wood stove, another unexpected advantage of downsizing, and Murphy's Law.
Finding friends out in the country can be challenging.
We look for materials bargains while devising a way to pay for it all.
We finally build somthing!
Cam has a (temporary) job outside of the house and he has gained a new appreciation for being self-employed.
Cam often finds himself relating to song lyrics.
A typical day of activity on a modern homestead and off grid.
Things that occur when switching from summer to winter mode. Fall is almost non existent.
What exactly is ‘modern homesteading"? There are as many definitions as there are people doing it. What does the term ‘modern homesteading’ mean to you?
How packing snow against your house can add R-value to your insulation - and subtract energy costs.
Sheepskin rug keeps a childhood story alive.
Riches sometimes come from natural resources - not always connected with dollar signs.
Tree rings tell the tale. It is nice and green here now but our plants and weeds are acclimated to semi arid and have deep roots.
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
Instead of throwing out that empty feedbag, get creative and turn it into something new! Homesteader Ed Essex shares ideas for finding new uses for old objects.
Sailors for the Sea presents its new Rainy Day Kits teach young sailors to care about marine ecology and the environment with fun, interactive games.
Sharing our first experience with an indoor/outdoor vertical hydroponic garden.
Now is a great time to sow a cover crop or two that will enrich your garden soil over the winter.
Save time and avoid blisters and burnout by following these common-sense guidelines this leaf season.
If you're like me, your life's been a series of trials and errors, mistakes and missteps. At times we get it right, but many other times we founder. The goal of my new blog is to help you and others spend more time enjoying life and less time in pain and struggle.
Your mind can often trip us up, make things worse than they are, even lead us into disaster. You can control your own mind and change negative messages to positive ones, creating a much more productive,calmer. and fullfilling life.
Check out this green gingerbread house built by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff: It includes cookie and candy versions of SIPs construction, a living roof, and a solar electric system.
Each year we learn more and more about living off grid and homesteading. These are just a few of the third-year experiences we wanted to share.
Regular tasks that keep our cabin comfortable and welcoming.
Even when the chicks have left the nest, they never really leave.
Learning to appreciate seasonal differences.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
If you go shopping for an electric bike, you’ll find a wide range of prices and brands. Discover how to determine the best electric bicycle brands for your lifestyle.
There is hard work homesteading in the mountains and the weather dictates much of those challenges.
It takes commitment and determination to live remotely in the mountains.
Immigrating to Canada can be a daunting process, but the Canadian government provides resources to help.
Taking time to reflect on the past brings renewed appreciation to the present.
Other than the four regular seasons there is a fifth season in the mountains called mud season.
How to cope mentally with living in a remote location.
For many people, going green seems like a daunting task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes is all you need.
Celebrate meals with homegrown or local food. Tips for making your celebration gatherings zero-waste events.
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
Passive House standards incorporate passive solar design principles, but the two labels don’t mean the same thing. Learn about the difference between passive solar design and Passive House certification.
GO Home, built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic LLC, received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) 2011 LEED for Homes Project of the Year Award.
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
Building housing projects in developing regions is extremely rewarding, but also quite challenging. It’s prudent to draw ideas from as many resources as possible to improve the process. The following guidelines have proven effective.
If you're searching for kids' playhouse plans, look no further — this whimsical cob building provides an inexpensive child's oasis with a natural cooling system.
Extolling the virtues of salvaging and reusing building materials
The Solar Energy Tour is coming to communities all over the U.S. the first weekend of October — learn how to attend an event, or create one yourself.
The full team from thePOOSH.org attended Over the Moon Festival last autumn in the UK and built a beautiful bender as a temporary shelter area and stall.
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
Did you know that a dirty filter in your HVAC equipment can reduce its efficiency by up to 20 percent? Didyou also know that it is recommended to check your filter every month? Don’t despair!
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Building a small cordwood cafe in Colorado. A fun project for everyone!
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
The last week of the month has been a busy one with are preparations for the ending of winter and the start of a new growing season. We've got some details on a new cover crop and why we choose and simple composting toilet system compared to others.
Talking about the excitement of Anna's new book cover that we got to preview from the publisher this past week and the anxiety of our new born chicks as they go out into the big world. Also have some details on how to make your own cleft graft.
Talking about how to make a DIY electric fence wire holder and how we got a tailgate transplant for around 150 dollars and some signs of spring.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
Finally, we start to take shape.
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
We heard from a variety of experts about the type and number of batteries to use in our DIY solar setup. Meanwhile, we checked in with the garden and bees.
A key choice was what type of house to build. We aren't in Texas more than a few weeks a year until we make our final move back. We wanted a structure we could enclose to protect the interior from the elements and yet build in stages as time and money allow.
Experiences building a water-saving bath house out of salvaged logs.
BuildingGreen’s 2010 Top 10 Green Building Products list includes a low-flow toilet, composite decking, a high-performing wall system and other products that conserve energy and resources.
The International Green Construction Code, an International Code Council initiative, released its first set of green building standards today. Standard 189.1 addresses energy efficiency, site sustainability, materials and resources, and more.
Are you looking for professional training as a solar installer or retailer? Check out this list of workshops available at the American Solar Energy Society's 2009 Conference.
See how a structure made from cob, a form of earthen construction, handles a laboratory shake test.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
Today as I was researching Habitat for Humanity, I learned how far its helping hand reaches. Even more interesting to me, though, was that Habitat continues to build in such war-torn counties as Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.
Dan Chiras discusses the long-term benefits of building a green home.
Earlier this month I visited Greensburg, Kan., and toured a few of its many green buildings. Here's what I found.
If you are planning to build a healthy home your first step is to find a site that will support health and here are some helpful tips about siting
A homesteading family undertakes Extreme Home Makeover: Goat Edition at the possible expense of their sanity.
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
Step-by-step building instructions for a passive solar greenhouse.
Watch this video to learn how to build tiny home for just $2,000.
Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.
A new building insulation guide is available from NAIMA Canada to assist homeowners in choosing the right insulation for new building and DIY home renovation projects.
Website links to earthbag building projects.
Though he didn’t know exactly how, Cadmon Whitty decided to substantially retrofit his older home with straw bales, making it more energy-efficient, more valuable, and more aesthetically attractive in the process — all on a shoestring budget.
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
A video documenting the "One Day Cob House" build in Reno, Nevada.
Cadmon Whitty decided to substantially retrofit his older home with straw bales, beginning with rewiring a home, making it more energy-efficient, more valuable, and more aesthetically attractive in the process — all on a shoestring budget.
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
Jim and Julie are starting their homestead in Texas while still living in Australia. Managing the project by remote control is the challenge, and they are learning as they go. This is an adventure of faith and confidence.
The Phoenix Commotion gives low-income people trade skills and shelter by teaching them to build their own homes--from garbage. You'd be amazed at what can be used to build a house when the desire and commitment exist.
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. The seriousness and scope of our energy problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, starting as soon as possible.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
When Paula and Matt learned that running a utility line to their rural Vermont home would cost the same as buying solar panels, they never hesitated. Now they're living the good life, off the grid.
Kate and Jeff are building their off-the-grid dream near Taos, New Mexico. As they build themselves a small straw bale house and make do with a few solar panels, they're realizing how little they really need.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
Will our nation's positive moves toward saner, simpler living and smaller homes fall victim to an improving economy? No way.
We can learn a lot from the Amish, who have passed down wisdom on living simply and celebrating community for generations.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
Two homesteaders discuss their experience with the weather applicable to their mountain homesteads in Washington and Colorado.
Outdoor kitchens, dining areas and living rooms are a great way to expand your home's living space. Designers offer advice on how to make the most of the great outdoors--in your own backyard.
The Living Seed Company is creating a platform to inspire gardeners and gardeners to be.
Energy goals for America
This book club of the book, Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology, follows a couple who decides to live technology free for 18 months among a strict Amish-like community, growing all their own food and relying on their neighbors to survive.
Gardening challenges at high elevation.
The process of evaluating needs for successful downsizing.
Jeff and wife Kathy have lived off-grid since 2002. They strive to inform the public about ways to live inexpensively, and to further the principle of sustainability. Visit their website to learn more: www.naturalpower.weebly.com
The political system is not broken.
I love rural life and modern homesteading, but there are days when the comfort of a city condo would be welcome indeed. And honestly? A relief.
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
This blog is an introduction to how we went from a condominium lifestyle to off grid modern homesteading in the mountains. It also includes an explanation of the meaning of "off grid".
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
This blog is about all of the choices we have for the type of home we want for off grid living and some of the construction materials involved. It turns out there are a multitude of options we have to choose from.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Things you can do to prevent fire damage to your home from an external source.
How we had to adjust to a smaller home, the isolation and quiet.
How we avoid cabin fever by doing volunteer work and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
A quick look at different ways to be sustainable whether you are off grid or not.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
If you've been on this rural living or modern homesteading journey for decades, or just starting out, how do you know when you've arrived?
Robert Maxwell discusses the benefits of a rural lifestyle.
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
Tips on how to keep water away from your home and water damage prevention.
A short history of my own horse riding adventures.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Our power system begins to take shape.
Living a ranch life in northern New Mexico in the 1960s consisted of hard work and knowledge. It was not the romantic life that many people imagine it to have been.
Reflections on 15 years of mountain living.
A description and pictures of a tornado force winds in Washington State in 2012.
A comparison of costs between on grid and off grid utilities for our circumstances.
Success at growing food at the 4200' elevation and some of the challenges.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
When we moved into the country, we had no idea that small critters would be such a nuisance.
How we have adapted from salt water fishing to freshwater and what we do with our catch.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
How we live in the mountains during the winter.
Design features we incorporated into our new off grid home.
Fun facts about our first year of blogging for Mother Earth News.
A brief description of how we grow fresh vegetables in our long cold winters.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
How we deal with unexpected incidents.
A description about something unique - a wood burning masonry kitchen stove.
It may not be in the Kangaroo Valley tourist brochures, and you might think it odd to visit a rural supply store just for a look, but I would encourage any visitor to Australia's Kangaroo Valley to make a trip to the Red Shed.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
Noting the time and marking its passing, keeping us in the present.
This current situation is a perfect example of the 80/20 rule of homesteading: 80 percent of your time, energy and effort is spent on maintenance; 20 percent on progress towards the dream. A majority of your time homesteading is spent covered in chicken poop, squashing potato bugs, figuring out why gas isn’t getting to the carburetor in the ATV and shoveling snow after dark by headlamp.
Our experiences in learning to pressure can and use reusable canning lids.
A brief description of our experience with a masonry heater.
If know you're destined to live in the country, or just more self-reliantly, but are overwhelmed by all the choices, here's a place to start.
It is a regular occurrence, a question we're asked:
Why do we do all this work?
How did Victoria Redhed Miller and husband David end up living on an off-grid homestead in the foothills of Washington State's Olympic mountains? Grid? What grid? Electricity was something one took for granted; it came from those outlets on the walls. I was hardly aware of it except during one of the infrequent power outages.
The journey to a self-sufficient life is a bumpy ride. Having a backup plan — or two — can make all the difference in your progress.
Who would think it’s possible to discover the artist in me, incubate a business, plus milk goats, grow a garden...all in one unforgettable summer. I'm a rich woman by any standard.
Simple living expert Wanda Urbanska at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Learn three simple tips for making the most of small gardening spaces, including hanging plants and advice for selecting seed varieties.
Realize that DIY inspiration is just a click away by checking out these great home remodeling blogs.
Ben Davis, of Ben Does Life, has a truly inspirng weight loss story, but it's how message about how to be happy that is most motivational.
How feeding the hungry amounts to action on behalf of a planet on fire with a toxic yang imbalance.
Seth Leitman explains toxicity in our products and how green living is about recovering from these products.
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
A question about our future.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS magazine comes to life in the recently released Wiser Living Video Series. Volume One of the Series features some of our most popular workshops from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIRS taught by members of the editorial team and expert community. Become more self-reliant in and around your home by tackling 19 projects ranging from keeping backyard chickens to making tinctures.
What it is like to live higher up.
An upcoming inspirational documentary, “Beyond Off-Grid,” that strives to motivate people to return to the old paths, includes self-sufficiency experts from around the country. A MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog prompted the producer to contact us.
A pressure canner greatly expands the range of foods that can be safely canned at home.
If your job, finances, family commitments, etc., have thwarted or delayed your dreams of self-reliance, you don’t have to wait until you can afford a 20 acre parcel. You can start working where you are now to build and nurture self-reliant living skills that are sure to provide you with more peace of mind and improved health, and will most likely be of great personal benefit during the coming decades of global challenge and change.
Gene GeRue relates the lessons he learned from a childhood of frugal living.
At last, we construct the foundation.
As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
This post is about our water cisterns and what we use them for. It also contains a caution that many local governments would like to tell you what you can and can't do with rainwater.
Things to look for in your soil before you break ground on your new home or cabin.
We’re interested in how our readers have lessened their environmental footprint.
The generators we use for living off the grid and a multitude of other tasks.
Day 2 has a haphazard start with no hot water for a proper cup of tea, and people are arriving early for a day of consulting. What's the solution to keeping water hot overnight on top of a wood stove so there's plenty for hot tea, doing dishes and a shower?
"The Farm Then and Now" by Douglas Stevenson tells the story of The Farm: an intentional community that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to create a model for sustainable living.
Ed and Bruce compare the weather and its impact on their mountain homesteads at different elevations and mountain ranges.
Bruce McElmurray and Ed Essex collaborate on how the weather dictates to their mountain homesteading.
Inspired by the recent Mother Earth News article, "65 Money Saving Tips", this piece shares how we at the Be the Change Product spend little and live better.
Taking a bath in the winter takes a little more planning at our off-grid, no-plumbing home.
Each year we try to challenge ourselves with an entire month where we spend no money, and avoid using energy.
Mountain homesteading in a remote area.
Using snowshoes to keep our paths and trails open as the snow piles up.
Tips to help you get started planning your very own homestead. With proper planning you don't have to be experienced to do it right.
How our "thanks for nothing" month came to be.
Tips that we have learned gardening at a high elevation.
Which fire starting tool works best - or at all?
Outside of a few rare equipment failures, we’ve never had a power outage in the past 20 years that wasn’t our own fault — usually caused by not paying attention to power use or proper battery charging. Weather failures, on the other hand, are starting to become noticeable.
The beauty and refreshment of our swimming hole are a swell compliment to work and sun of our homestead.
Life really is good when you live on a dirt road.
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
Jim and Holly Smith, founders of Today’s Abundant Living, sent us this great review of a Homesteading Education Month open house and country skills workshop they hosted at their Michigan homestead.
Much to our chagrin, many things we believe are true are dead wrong. Things we believe about other people, health, medicine, renewable energy, and the environment are wrong. Start digging and you'll see and you will start living a smarter life.
The roundwood truss system described here enables DIYers to build their own trusses at very low cost. You can gather truckloads of poles from national forests, enough for several small houses, for the cost of one $25 firewood permit.
Low-fired brick is a very sustainable building material with low embodied energy. They are made with locally procured clay and fired with rice hulls, a by-product of growing rice. Brickyards are located near urban areas to minimize transport costs.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op announced today that it has been awarded LEED Silver certification for a major renovation at its manufacturing facility.
Discount pricing on all Morton buildings now through February.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
The work invovlve in tranforming a house that wastes energy into a house that's 50%-95% more energy efficient is called a "deep energy retrofit." We need to find ways to do more of these to save energy, money and the environment.
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Get an introduction to Building Biology, the science and philosophy of healthy and ecological building that originated in Germany 60 years ago.
Learn how to create a yoga studio that enhances your practice and your health.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
Finally getting the barn roof repair project started was a big deal for us as well as a few other things that are worth checking out if you are interested in modern homesteading.
Finca Exotica is ideal for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Osa Peninsula's bounty and learn about permaculture and sustainable building.
To build Finca Exotica, a sustainable resort on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, the owners took advantage of plentiful native bamboo, kept the footprint small and let buildings unfold organically.
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
Guy and Kay Baker and their three sons spent five years building a small weekend cabin in Alabama from scraps and salvage. When the 1,100-square feet house was complete, they loved it so much they made it their permanent home.
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
A discussion of three power tools to prep your logs or timbers for building.
Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here he talks about HVAC work and installing windows.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
Whether I'm in the market for something funky or just a few bricks for the garden, I always visit Boulder ReSource first. Check out this expert's tips on mining your local salvage yard for gems.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
“For anyone considering downsizing, or considering a small starter home, we say just do it!” Linda Bolton says. “We promise you won’t miss a thing living in a thousand square feet or less. You’ll just have smaller headaches.”
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
Our process of buying the land for our homestead had little to do with logic and a lot to do with emotion. For me, it was a chance to return to the plains where I grew up and be close to family.
Eating cicadas, building a porch, and hauling lumber for said porch all in the same week with several images of the action as well as some bee installation pictures.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
EU's ban of five chemicals commonly used in building materials will "shake up the industry," Healthy Building Network official predicts.
Adzes and broad axes have been used for centuries in log cabin building. Learn a bit about what these tools do and how to use them.
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza! Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
The Living Seed Company is working to preserve genetic diversity in our food chain, through the distribution and growing of open pollinated seeds and preserving the ancient art of seed saving.
Want to Save on Earth-Friendly Products? Check out Worm's Way's sale by clicking on the Earth Week banner at WormsWay.com and enjoy up to 20 percent off your purchases.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
Replacing a task that uses electricity with one that does not is a no-brainer when trying to save on your energy bill — and air drying is one of the easiest ways to go.
When you get home, go to your hot water heater, remove the cover and turn it down to 120 degrees (sometimes labeled “hot” as opposed to “very hot”).
How much energy does it take to travel? Can we collect this from the vehicle while we are using it?
Christopher shares an experience of painting his family farmhouse, but when he used flat, not glossy paint, his uncle was not happy. How could the uncle have responded in a more productive manner?
These are the first steps we took to make the change from city living to off grid living. It describes the questions you should ask before you buy property and the research required to make sure you can do want you want with your property.
Options for phone service if you live in a remote location that doesn't have cell service or landlines available to you.
Our take on the positive and negative points of insulated concrete forms.
Where we have chosen to draw the line between convenience and sustainability - for now.
An article about how we learned to double our growing season and have home grown fresh veggies almost all year long.
Tips for snow removal around your house and down the road.
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
The final in a 6 part series on Ft. Garland, Colorado
Short stories about our chicken experiences
After the snow leaves to do list for us.
Our first experience as a vendor or spectator at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, WA
How to make your OWN insulated window coverings.
How and why we chose to have a livestock guardian dog and what they are like.
Our experience in living with bears.
A short description of why we prefer small city living over large city living.
Costs associated with providing your own water.
Things we have done to earn an income from home in a down economy.
A snapshot of winter life living remote and off grid.
In this blog we share someone else's story about old fashioned home made ingenuity concerning deep well pumps that operate without electricity.
Since her first house move, MOTHER EARTH NEWS blogger Cathie Ackroyd, has become so very conscious of the impact we humans have had and are having on our planet’s environment and hoped to find a place to settle that would allow us to gain an element of self-sufficiency in a relatively car-free community.
While many of those visiting our Hostel are farmers and homesteaders themselves, some come from that “city culture” and seem to take their first hesitant steps outside of a flatly paved driveway when they arrive at our place. Wide eyes, a sense of adventure.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
How we stay busy in the winter even though we live at 4200', three miles off the road, and somewhat isolated.
Let the ancient Japanese art of wabi-sabi help you purge unwanted items and get organized for the new year.
The square footage of green roofs--which absorb rainwater, regulate temperatures, save energy and resources and provide valuable habitat--grew by 28.5 percent last year.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
After working four jobs to make payments on their larger home, Debra and Gary downsized--to 320 square feet. The family lacks for nothing, and guests are always welcome. "I've got everything I need," Debra says. And their $20K house is paid off.
Empty nesters Ed and Joan Kobrinski downsized their lifestyle and moved to a smaller home where they could grow more vegetables. "We've learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contentedly with less," Ed says.
In the third in a series on potential toxins and chemicals to avoid during pregnancy, Natural Home & Garden Editor Jessica Kellner discusses the dangers associated with use of retinol in skin care products.
It was becoming pretty obvious the crowding and lack of light were real limitations to my mini garden. Then, the idea of a trough on the windowsill came to mind, combining a way to water all the plants uniformly and efficiently all at once. Great, now how to make this trough? Wood? Sheet metal? The choices all seemed expensive, clumsy, prone to leaking...then the light bulb went on in my head: gutters!
Save energy and resources and reduce waste when traveling by dumping all your trash in one receptical.
Three nuclear reactors in Japan have been destroyed by a 9.0 earthquake. Radiation levels are on the rise. The world watches helplessly, wondering if escaping radiation will eventually find its way to them. Are we not witnessing in Japan the dark side of nuclear energy? It is not that hard to see this happening in United States, is it?
I have know Mark for years. Since I have known him (give or take a few years or so) Seiden asked me what were the best ways to go green and save energy at the same time. Then two years ago, we started with CFL bulbs. Now I'm trying to get him to go LED and get really green lighting in effect. In time. In time.
Frugality and lack of pretense or compromise are key ingredients in creating a wabi-sabi home.
Every once in a while we need to rebel against the machines. Hand a towel to your significant other and ask him to dry while you rinse. Sweep the floor with a real broomcorn broom. Have a real conversation. Enjoy things happening slowly.
Aside from the great stage presentations, the exhibitor booths have a lot to offer FAIR attendees.
How to make insulated shades at home.
Rural Living Today founder and advocate, Marie James, told us about a Homesteading Education Month event she and her family hosted in Northeast Washington to teach gardeners how to grow vegetables in cold weather.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
Things we did to make our new home more sustainable.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Many of us hold convictions about others and the world around us that are so wrong that they seriously misguide us, even rob us of happiness and contentment. Don't believe everything you think. Question your beliefs and discover the truth.
One of the most powerful lessons I have learned in my life is the power of love to create happiness and harmony. Let your life and your interactions with others be goverened by your love for others. Make preserving and fostering love a goal.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce the release of the How to Can app, a free app to help you safely put up summer's bounty in a jar.
Humanity has the power to change and to take the actions needed to foster a healthy planet and a better standard of living for all. Choosing beauty and abundance will ensure a better future not only for humanity, but for the natural environment as well.
No matter your level of gardening expertise, our Guide to Organic Gardening app has the advice and how-to you need to dig in and grow a bountiful organic food garden. With articles on composting, beneficial insects, weed control and more, you'll have a wealth of organic gardening know-how at your fingertips after you download this app onto your Apple or Android smartphone or tablet.
Looking for the perfect sourdough hamburger bun.
Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
This part of the series deals with window size and location, ceiling heights, eave length, and other design and passive design choices you can make for your new home. These choices apply whether you are on or off the grid.
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.
Honey bees, the Boston tragedy, and our power to create the world we’ve been waiting for.
Does the huge task of cleaning windows leave you feeling overwhelmed? Follow these six simple steps--using inexpensive materials you already have around the house--to get your windows sparkling and streak-free.
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
As a nursery renovation begins, Jessica, editor of Natural Home and Garden, is just beginning an investigation into remodeling options for an eco-friendly nursery.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
Many people believe that their values define who they are. Unfortunately, many of our values don't translate into action. To live a fruitful, peaceful, and productive life, meld your values and actions. You'll be happier and content -- whole.
Worrying about what others think about you can drin you of energy and make you do some pretty stupid things. What if you could rid yourself of that penchant? What kind of life would you lead?
Our minds are powerful things. The beliefs we hold and our perceptions can be dead wrong. Our minds can even create pain that doesn't exist. Questioning what we perceive and believe can help you live a more conscious, honest and successful life.
In this political season, politicians often define people by their differences, creating strife and even outright contempt among people with opposing political views. Truth is, we have a great deal in common; it is our commonalities that bind us.
A stack of cast-iron pans and a chainsaw helmet sum up why these homesteaders do what they do.
The earthbag/geotextile basement wall system described here has excellent potential to save on initial construction costs and long-term energy costs. No concrete is used. The same principles have been used to build retaining walls for decades.
Earthbag building has just received engineering approval. This is probably the greatest news ever for earthbag building. With engineer-approved plans, we see unlimited potential for earthbag building for homes, shops, schools, you name it.
This article describes an alternative roof design for those building in areas without building codes. A little extra effort working with poles will reward you with a stunningly beautiful wood ceiling and superinsulated roof at very reasonable cost.
Precision Engineering www.structure1.com has generously provided drawings and specifications for building earthbag structures in seismic areas to meet code. The documents have been combined into one 6-page PDF and are now available online.
One of the greatest needs in the world is disaster resistant housing – houses that can hold up against hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Properly designed structures can save millions of lives and millions of structures every year.
Three-day workshop announcement on net zero energy homes by leading authority on energy efficiency and renewable energy, Dan Chiras. Learn how to reduce your utility bill through conservation, effriciency, & clean, affordable, renewable energy.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
Crushing a truck, harvesting garlic, and fixing a broken flywheel shaft key are just a few of the things that got done over the last week at WaldenEffect.org complete with photos of all the juicy stuff.
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
Bryan Welch's book, Beautiful and Abundant, provides a framework for understanding and evaluating ecotourism's impact on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
The thrill continues living in our handmade house.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
Learn about the advantages of urban farming from those who are leading the way. The benefits include improved food production, increased revenue sources and reduced energy use.
Not quite ready to get rid of family heirlooms and art that you don’t have space to display? The Japanese practice of rotating precious items through a special alcove, or tokonoma, on a seasonal basis is less painful than giving away or selling them.
Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
One of the big barriers to personal happiness is a nagging sense of inferiority. It starts early in life and plagues many of us throughout out lives, poisoning relationships and robbing us of happiness. Here's how to start erasing those feelings.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Using newspaper, learn how to craft easy, biodegradable pots to start seeds.
Concrete rubble from collapsed buildings is a huge problem in Haiti. It is blocking roads and hindering reconstruction. Instead of spending millions of dollars trucking the rubble away and disposing of it, why not use it to build affordable housing?