So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
Healthy baby shopping begins with an investigation into nontoxic cribs. Check out these three solid wood options.
Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.
A newly “refurbished home” smells bad. It has been 3 months and the smells are still overwhelming. Some helpful suggestions.
Rice University's ZEROW HOUSE takes first place for hot water and second for architecture and market viability at the Solar Decathlon 2009 in D.C.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how hemp, a renewable resource, can aid in building zero-carbon homes.
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
Believe it: With patience and pecking around, you can find low-voc paint for little more (maybe even less!) than you'd pay for conventional paint. What's your experience?
The Council of Better Business Bureaus National Advertising Division recommends that Sherwin-Williams modify or discontinue advertising claims that its “Harmony” paint line is completely free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn riding mower earns award for innovative RED Technology
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.
We are inundated with green messages that can sometimes be confusing or misleading. This phenomenon is especially true when it comes to the paint industry. There is much talk about No-VOC and Low-VOC paints, but what is the truth behind it?
Simran Sethi discusses the "wood" that makes up our kitchen cabinets, as well as more eco-friendly (and people-friendly) alternatives.
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?
Full-size, compact, gas or diesel – Kubota Zero-Turns provide operators with innovation and efficiency.
New Platform Revealed at Dealer Road Shows
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.
A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on hand. The ceremony took place in a field and the reception was in a barn...and there was love-lots of it!
We can create eco-friendly clothing without producing waste. Find out more about zero-waste design and its effect on the fashion industry.
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
Ventrac unveils the 3400 tractor, the newest sub-compact tractor to their product lineup.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi goes through the process of rejuvenating her hardwood floors, and describes how to avoid harmful ingredients in cleaning products, such as volatile organic compounds, in the process.
Finally! Design experts and contractors say granite and marble have lost their luster. Find beautiful, natural alternatives to that and solutions to other common design mistakes, including dull color pallettes and overused water features.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
The devil is in the details in a net zero energy home. Every single step in the design and construction of a home requires efforts to ensure airtightness. The top of the foundation is one detail that deserves special attention.
Cub Cadet is known for providing break-through innovations, a reputation supported by the Best Buy rating.
In New York City, advocates unveil a bold vision to end the traffic violence.
Chicago has decided to convert its entire garbage truck fleet to electric trucks from Motiv Power Systems, making it the first city in the U.S. to have a zero-emission fleet.
Cam contemplates the amount of energy that goes into our food production and shows how he prepared corn for freezing the zero carbon way!
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.
Thoughts on managing an event with lots of people and having minimal or no trash.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Simran Sethi describes the choices she made for her eco-friendly kitchen remodel.
Simran Sethi discusses how to green your bathroom in easy ways: through your choice of toilet paper, shower curtain, and towels.
For less than the cost of an SUV, a Michigan couple rehabbed their historic home to include solar panels and a geothermal system. The 110-year-old house now produces more energy than it needs.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.