Installation timing, system sizing, and federal and state energy policies are all important components for financing renewable energy as part of a home construction project. One couple shares their experience with trying to put all the pieces in order.
The previous entry provided a run-through of the basic wind turbine terms. Here, we’ll cover the tower, the unsung hero of small wind turbine energy production.
The previous installment focused on the benefits of small wind turbines for homeowners who are grid-tied, off-grid, or have battery backup systems. In this short episode, we’ll go over the main terminology associated with small wind turbines.
Energy ambassadors: convergence of energy and culture.
Energy Ambassadors: Travels to Cuba and Vermont.
Before beginning construction on their new home, one couple assesses which renewable energy sources make sense for their location and situation.
The third in a series of weekly postings about my visit to Cuba with a delegation of energy industry professionals, and a Cuban colleague’s visit to Vermont where I developed a similar tour. Along the way we learned about efficiency and renewables, and some striking contrasts between ourselves and our countries were revealed.
The new home for Friends School of Portland will be only the third school in the United States to achieve Passive House certification.
Learn about one couple's ongoing effort to reduce their carbon footprint.
Biomass grass crops can be established on marginal lands and processed as a fuel replacement for heating oil or propane
Why the cost of utilities won’t be drastically affected by renewable energy sources.
Nothing lasts forever, let's do the math.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
Renewable energy accounts for nearly 50 percent of added capacity in US in 2012.
The Bureau of Land Management has approved construction of a California geothermal plant that will generate enough energy for 36,000 homes.
Skylight scoops are the latest design in skylights which help save more energy and enhance a building’s environment.
The “Remote Community Renewable Energy Partnership” exceeds Obama’s goal for supporting clean energy development in small native villages.
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
Many people don’t know that most HVAC systems don’t produce more or less heating or cooling based on the room temperature – they simply blow air for longer.
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.
Some large electronics can use as much energy as a light bulb while in "stanby" mode, meaning you should unplug them when you leave the house or know you won’t use them for awhile. Having a large electronic setup plugged into a power strip makes it much easier to completely power it down, especially if it has a lot of plugs like a home theater system or computer.
South Dakota and Alaska electric cooperatives received the award for 2012 Wind Cooperatives of the Year.
Wind turbines within two miles of residential areas can hurt the property values of homes.
A mapping and assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute found that the U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources could provide 3 percent of the nation’s annual electricity use.
Defying conventional wisdom about the limits of wind power, in 2012 both Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. Across the United States, wind power continues to strengthen its case as a serious energy source.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 100 percent of the electric generating capacity added in January was renewable.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has launched a new tool to help communities assess their readiness for plug-in electric vehicles.
Many criticize eliminating coal mining in West Virginia because of the amount of jobs the sector provides. A wind farm, however, would employ over 200 local residents during the two-year construction phase, and create 40-50 permanent maintenance jobs afterward. A wind farm would also allow the mountain to be used for other purposes, like sustainable forestry, mountain harvesting, and gathering of wild forest plants, creating additional jobs and the opportunity for stable income for locals.
Wind turbines kills birds, but not as many as are killed by tall buildings and other hazards.
Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.
As part of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above strategy to
expand safe and responsible domestic energy production, the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management announced Nov. 7, 2012, a lease for commercial wind energy development 11 nautical miles off the coast of Delaware.
Solar Energy International is offering a free online course as an introduction to renewable energy. You will not walk away an expert, but will have learned the basics of renewable energy and be able to decide which technologies are right for you.
Find out whether a wood pellet stove is right for you, and discover the best stove to buy.
The U.S. Department of Energy released a set of pumpkin-carving stencils celebrating Halloween through alternative energy.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
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.
Solar expert Joe Utasi hopes to have his home solar panel installation complete and running, and will have lots of pictures to show and discuss by the time the Seven Springs Fair arrives.
In this posting we discuss the benefits of converting to renewable energy sources vs. the consequences of continuing to use fossil fuels.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
Cam recently spoke to a Transition group about the challenges ahead and how to prepare for them.
Finally, we start to take shape.
Cam shares his enthusiasm for the sun and the wind at his off-grid home.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a new Wind Turbine project at the port of Milwaukee will produce more than enough electricity for the city building there. Blogger Ben Nelson checks it out for you with a report, photos, and video.
John Noska will present a workshop on solar passive tipis at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Cam wonders why more people don't prepare for blackouts.
Joe Utasi of Cinci Home Solar will present a workshop on photovoltaic solar panels at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Let's stop for a minute and think about what we are doing!
Check out this magical photograph of an energy-efficient dome home and the surprise above.
Author John Ivanko will present a workshop on residential renewable energy at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
Demise of the Southern Energy and Environmental (See) Expo
Prestyl USA’s customizable infrared art panels prove efficient, ecological & elegant.
Skystream install program helps consumers take advantage of their wind resource.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op announced today that it has been awarded LEED Silver certification for a major renovation at its manufacturing facility.
Elmira Stove Works offers distinctive, superior quality appliances with its innovative line of Fireview cookstoves.
The nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, will provide clean energy for up to 350 residents, who don't even need a roof to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
A. O. Smith Water Products Company, the leading manufacturer and marketer of residential and commercial water heaters, has donated a 120-gallon solar storage tank to the Hurston family of Cocoa Beach, Fla., project of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Dan Chiras, renewable energy expert, will present workshops on wind and solar power at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
Cam describes some recent speaking engagements including the thrill of being "piped in."
To learn more about large wind energy degrees, Brittney Tyler-Milholland and Brenna Long talk with educators at Iowa Lakes Community College about the wind energy degree program in this Wind Energy blog. Iowa Lakes had the first wind energy program in Iowa.
With 67 percent growth in one year, the solar energy industry eclipses even the telecommunications industry, according to a new Solar Energy Industries Association report.
Cam leaves his lights on during Earth Hour since he generates his own electricity with solar and wind!
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
B&R Automation announces partnership to serve renewable energy industry in US and Canada.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
Cam learns a lot by spending time with people who "get it."
There are many ways that each of us can lessen our unhealthy dependence on filthy fuels. You can do so in every area of your life, from choices you make regarding your house and home improvements, to food, transportation, and other consumer choices.
To learn more about large wind energy companies and wind power generation, Brittney Tyler-Milholland and Brenna Long talk with a representative from Horizon Wind Energy about the wind energy industry in this Wind Energy blog. With wind farms in 18 states, Horizon Wind Energy plays a role in the future of wind energy in the United States.
Leasing solar panels may be a way for you to have a solar electric system on your home. See what our expert has to say on leasing solar panels, from an operating lease to a capital lease. Plus, learn about the federal tax incentives that come with solar electric systems.
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
A new study finds that generating electricity from coal costs taxpayers $345 billion each year, making renewable energy start to look like a bargain.
Cam readily admits to being obsessed about his use of energy.
Cam is glad to find out that he has been successful at encouraging people to embrace renewable energy.
Figure out whether a home wind turbine is right for you by evaluating land for the best wind turbine location. Our expert explains placement, turbulence, wind speed and wind site assessment. These steps and factors will determine if a wind turbine is right for you.
Luna Lodge, on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, relies on hydro power.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
New approach to renewable home energy – heating with pelletized fuel in free-standing pellet stoves and fireplace inserts. Generally made from recycled wood byproducts, pellets are low carbon fuel that can reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Evergreen Institute lowers prices to encourage more participating in its January workshops in home energy efficiency, electricity and electrical wiring, and basic PVs: An Introduction to Solar Electricity.
U.S. energy consumers will rely more on natural gas and renewables and less on imports in 2011. Coal remains dominant.
Environmental journalist and author Amanda Little gives a keynote speech about America's dependence on fossil fuels at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Seven Springs, Pa.
The thousands of families who have built affordable homes, cash up front, made of earthbags, straw bales, cordwood, cob and rammed tires are not in danger of losing their homes in the current mortgage crisis.
Next spring, President Obama will install a solar panels on the roof of the White House. The photovoltaic system will provide hot water and some electricity for the White House living quarters.
Managing Editor John Rockhold catches up with Amanda Little ahead of her keynote speech at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
The embrace of environmentalism by professional sports provides us all with a new and large opportunity to educate people worldwide about the need to do something, however small it might seem, to protect our biosphere.
NativeEnergy, an innovator in the United States carbon market, today launched its year-long 10-Year Anniversary program.
NativeEnergy, an innovator in the United States carbon market, today launched its year-long 10-Year Anniversary program.
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
Green stadiums are being built all across the nation by a variety of sports franchises and this is only the start. These franchises are also implementing green team programs.
American and European renewable power sources made up more than half of the countries' new electrical capacity in 2009.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented an air conditioner, the DEVap, that’s up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional ACs.
A brief announcement of a rare educational opportunity ... a wind turbine installation. We'll be installing a 2.5 kW Skystream wind turbine on a 127-foot tilt-up tower.
Henry Red Cloud moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation 12 years ago and started looking into renewable energy. Since then he has started a solar heating system company and a renewable energy training center to serve the Native American community.
Check out these high-quality workshops on solar electricity, home energy efficiency, and small wind energy systems. Geared to homeowners, aspiring professionals, students and teachers - anyone wishing to learn more about renewable energy systems
Yes, you can make your own solar panels, but it won’t necessarily save you much money compared with buying commercial solar panels.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
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.
Environmentalists are in a debate about the Cape Wind project. We want to know what you think about the proposed offshore wind farm.
Recent approval by the Obama administration of the Massachusetts based Cape Wind project creates the potential for 130 offshore wind turbines, which are predicted to produce up to 468 megawatts of wind power.
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
Solar energy organization Show Me Solar comes highly recommended by renewable energy expert Dan Chiras for its 2010 list of workshops, webinars and other educational opportunities.
Dan Chiras announces that five of The Evergreen Institute's workshops currently qualify as continuing education credits for LEED Accredited Professionals.
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
Dan Chiras, founder of The Evergreen Institute, shares information on locating renewable energy training facilities.
Geothermal energy is cleaner than fossil fuels and is endlessly renewable. Find out more about why we should seriously reconsider geothermal energy as a way to meet the world's energy needs.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares details about The Evergreen Institute's new Renewable Energy Educator Certificate program, designed to prepare teachers to train a new generation of renewable energy professionals to meet the needs of a growing industry.
Will a degree increase your employment prospects? Absolutely. Here are some programs to look into.
The fastest-growing energy technology in the world is solar, and photovoltaic solar collectors capture solar energy in a supremely adaptable and portable form. Find out more about photovoltaics, how they work, and how they can change the way we make energy.
Today most new homes are sited without any reference to solar energy at all. A few builders are catching on, however, and making the simple adjustments necessary to turn new houses into solar collectors by adhering to the tenets of passive solar building. Learn more about how passive solar works and its benefits.
Dan Chiras points out the efforts already being made to increase availability of renewable energy professionals and educators and talks about The Evergreen Institute's new goals to raise interest among potential students.
Find out what types of federal tax incentives are available for homeowners who install renewable energy.
Let's take a trip back into the Mother Earth News archive to learn more about thin-film solar.
Check out these renewable-energy courses to see if there’s an Evergreen class for you.
Earlier this month I visited Greensburg, Kan., and toured a few of its many green buildings. Here's what I found.
When you're looking for a job, there's just no substitute for getting out and meeting the professionals in the industry.
The Solar Decathletes begin assembly on the National Mall at midnight, Oct. 1. But just getting the houses into D.C. is no simple task.
More and more people are looking for jobs in the renewable energy field. If you're interested in this type of career, here's how you can get started.
Check out the PV Watts calculator and find out how much solar-electric power you can generate in your part of the world.
We’d like to hear more about your experiences with green power. Is it available where you live? How does the price compare to what you would otherwise pay for electricity? Why have you — or haven’t you — chosen this option?
It’s a lot of fun to explore Google Earth, and you can find plenty of good information on environmental topics.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a list of the top 20 on-site renewable electtricity generators.
The Sacramento Municipal Utility Destrict (SMUD) recently approved a FIT policy, which will allow owners of small renewable energy systems in the company's area to sell excess energy back to it. Several areas in the United States have passed similar policies in recent years.
Tell us what you think. If you installed a wind turbine or solar-electric panels, would you want to be tied to the electric grid, or would you rather have a grid-independent system?
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains a Pew Charitable Trusts study that finds that jobs in the clean energy sector are growing faster than jobs in the fossil fuel industry.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee passed a bipartisan bill that does not go far enough for some environmental groups.
Going off the grid offers complete energy independence — no utility bills, no grid outages, ever — but it takes some effort, and you will need to learn how to conserve energy.
Vermont passed a bill into law last week that established a feed-in tariff policy. The policy is one of the United States' first.
According to a recent American Wind Energy Association report, the U.S. market for small wind turbines grew 78 percent in 2008. Manufacturers predict that this trend will continue in the next few years.
New York makes a plan to increase solar power as part of an aggressive energy policy.
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
Check out this video on tapping wind power with kites.
As tough economic times hit the renewable energy industry, unsold solar panels are collecting dust in warehouses in many parts of the country. But in Gainesville, Florida, homes, buildings and schools are glittering with brand new panels, installed after the city passed a feed-in tariff law, requiring the power company to buy renewable energy from local producers.
There's lots of good information on renewable energy in this new NPR series on electricity in America.
Dan Chiras elaborates on his previous blog about the disadvantages of vertical axis wind turbines (VAWTs).
Learn how to build your own wind turbine, install your own solar panels and convert your car to electricity with hands-on teaching by Dan Chiras.
Whether you're planning to install solar panels, or hoping to put up a backyard wind turbine some day, share your thoughts on the renewable energy projects that intrigue you most.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com for background information and breaking news on renewable technologies.
There are many ways farmers can benefit from renewable energy, including wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.
Want to know more about where that $787 billion dollars in the stimulus package is going? Here are links to a couple of timely articles with all the details about how the stimulus package will encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Yep, some of the money in that stimulus bill is committed to green initiatives, including creating green jobs.
Former Vice President Al Gore thinks 2009 needs to be the year that America creates a climate bill. And he's got a plan to back it up!
Take this quiz from How Stuff Works and learn more about how solar panels produce electricity.
ASES released a report that says 37 million green jobs are possible by 2030. Check out the study here!
Find out what different states are doing to promote power from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.
It's easy to find out what fuels your power comes from using this nifty tool from the EPA.
The word is that nitrogen trifluoride is more of a problem than previously thought, and it's used to manufacture all kinds of high-tech equipment, including thin-film solar panels.
Lester Brown from the Earth Policy Institute held a teleconference on Dec. 11 to discuss the advantages of a green economy, for the environment and the U.S. work force.
The Apollo Alliance want you to tell the new Obama Energy Czar, Carol Browner that you support renewable energy policy.
The Union of Concerned Scientists created a new Web feature to show the success of green-collar jobs.
What should we do about climate and energy issues? These three articles raise interesting questions.
October 15 is Blog Action Day and this year the topic is poverty. Here are several related blog posts on this subject, especially as it relates to the sustainable living topics that we write about every day.
The news on climate change isn't good, but renewable energy could lead us to a brighter future.
The X Prize Foundation wants your craziest green idea, so let the games begin.
The Database of State Incentives for Renewables & Efficiency (DSIRE) provides state-by-state information on incentives, rebates and grant programs for renewable energy systems and energy efficient home improvement programs.
If we want more electricity from renewable sources, we need to think about upgrades to our electric grid.
The X Prize Foundation will be hosting a forum in early September to discuss different ideas regarding renewable energy.
Check out this dramatic short movie.
Bill Clinton has 10 recommendations for what the U.S. government should be doing to promote cleaner energy.
The term "living off the grid" can be used in different ways, but it means something very specific when you start looking at producing electricity from renewable sources.
Al Gore is calling on Americans to support a rapid transition to renewable energy. Tell us what you think.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.
A new city being built in the Middle East could become the model for the world's move to renewable resources. Could the U.S. be next in line for a carbon-free metropolis?
Mounting a wind turbine on your roof instead of on a tower might seem like a good idea, but here are some issues you should consider.
Here are the basic options for buying your electricity from sustainable sources.
Here's one helpful link that can help you find out where your favorite candidate stands on nuclear power, biofuels, renewable energy, fuel economy and other hot environmental issues.
These 25 very different places all get some or all of their energy from wind power.
One of the disadvantages of wind power is that the wind doesn't always blow. But in the future, new technology could make it easier to store wind energy.
Waves, tides and currents can all be used as sources of energy.
Many states are working quickly to develop their wind power resources knowing it will pay off big in the future.
Start cutting your electricity use today, and it will save you a bundle of cash on a renewable energy system when you're ready to buy one.
When you're ready to price or purchase a new solar system, findsolar.com has everything you need.
Yesterday I had coffee with Kirk Adkisson, a pastor who’s starting a progressive Presbyterian church here in Boulder. (In the continual erosion of my judgments and stereotypes, I got to learn this week that “progressive Presbyterian” is not necessarily the oxymoron I had assumed it to be!)