Learn why it is helpful to have a group of fellow homesteaders, then start a group of your own in your local community.
See green building in action! The third and final season of the Greensburg TV series is scheduled to begin on May 2, 2010.
12 of Morton’s buildings have been awarded the National Frame Building Association’s Building of the Year Award for 2011.
Building community through sharing work and food.
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.
Morton Buildings is a proud ENERGY STAR® partner and also employs LEED Accredited Professionals to assist customers looking to achieve certification.
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.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
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.
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.
The countdown to savings is on now at Morton Buildings.
Here's what it means when a building department requires "sealed drawings" of your project.
Learn about how some members of the MOTHER EARTH NEWS team joined with others at their publishing company to start “edible landscaping” gardens on their front lawn.
A reader inquires about how to set up a community seed swap.
You can help support a community garden in New York City's East Harlem neighborhood.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
The instinct to share home grown herbs, flowers and vegetables runs strong in gardeners, so sharing home grown goodies brings heartfelt rewards.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
Lots of factors are involved in hatching poultry eggs successfully: consistent temperature, the right amount of humidity and frequently turning the eggs. Not all incubators work equally well, and some have features that make operating them easier. Read about our most recent incubator test.
Bob Berry owns a small hatchery business that specializes in two old breeds of chickens. He offers suggestions for incubating eggs and starting chicks that are shipped through the mail.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
Being a part of the solution can forestall the potential decline.
Instead of using a heat lamps to brood just a few chicks, consider using a broody hen to do the job. This system takes less time to manage and uses no fossil fuels!
How you spend your money matters more than ever these days. Here’s an easy way to connect with your community and make your dollars count.
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
This is a great collection of information and tips on raising poultry, chicken coops and hatching poultry eggs. You can learn about brooders, coops and poultry equipment.
Lots of people order hatching eggs that are shipped through the mail before setting them in an incubator or under a broody hen. But what kind of results should you expect from shipped hatching eggs? Read what an expert has to say about realistic expectations.
Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when cold weather sets in. But winter shouldn’t be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Check your poultry often, follow these guidelines and you can even raise baby chicks in the winter! Tips from an expert.
Urban community green spaces are an essential component of our built environment. Their significance is becoming more and more apparent to city planners and urban residences all over the United States.
Editor-in-Chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence gets a great dose of green--and cheeseburgers--in Austin, Texas.
Robyn finds enthusiasm for and interest in green building during a recent trip to the Carolinas.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses mandatory green building codes for all new commercial buildings nationwide.
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.
For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and create—healthier, more efficient homes. Cool by us.
A Christmas present leads editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence to ponder the benefits of green-building initiatives in Arizona.
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.
The Living Building Challenge provides builders with information and a forum for sharing advice in an effort to promote the highest building standards.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to helping hands, everything gets done.
The Food Is Free Project has become a food revolution in Austin, Texas
I feel that if we want to connect to our families, to our neighbors and to the people that we love that live in the community around us, we must somehow retrain ourselves to slow down and watch, listen and share, love and care.
If you’re planning to buy a small backyard chicken coop to protect a few hens, you might be interested in this coop from GardenEggs.com.
I tested a new incubator against my old Styrofoam incubator. Find out which one is the best for incubating duck eggs. The difference was amazing.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
Cam discovers he isn't as young as he once was while enjoying a sense of community at the local arena.
The Community Chickens project is about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other poultry. Here’s a summary of some things we’ve learned through the project.
Cam appreciates his local volunteer fire department.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
Does turning eggs frequently during incubation improve hatch rates? Can storing the eggs before incubating them lower the hatch rate? Find out what we learned from our experiment hatching pheasant eggs.
NeighborGoods is an online community that lets you borrow and lend tools and other items from people in your area.
Hens that lay white eggs are lighter weight and eat less feed to produce the same amount of eggs as brown-egg layers. So, does that mean that if you’re concerned about conserving resources and care about the environment, you should eat white chicken eggs instead of brown chicken eggs? Color is only shell deep. There’s more to this debate than meets the eye.
The Food is Free Project has inspired thousands of individuals, families and groups around the globe to start front yard free gardens to share with friends and neighbors. They are losing their teaching farm.
Watch this video to learn how a straw bale house goes together from start to finish.
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!).
Learn how to build a straw bale home by downloading this free guide.
Here are some tips for making a new garage more environmentally friendly.
Mayors from across the country have created an alliance to facilitate green buildings for K-12 schools.
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.
The U.S. Green Building Council singles out the Forest Stewardship Council as the only trusted wood certifier.
Save forests, use local materials, build a durable house made of whole trees.
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.
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.
Sustainsia’s compact, green-built work pod could solve my office needs.
Kids love to build forts and space ships, and create secret places to dream and imagine.
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.
Using low-cost — but durable — earthbag construction, you can create a beautiful green roof.
Here's where you can find or build a press for making compressed earth blocks, and some helpful advice on sealants.
The Boulder, Colorado, green-building program will get a makeover for its second year.
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
BuildingGreen.com founder and Environmental Building News editor Alex Wilson wins Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.
Natural Home is ahead of the most recent trends, highlighted in the National Association of Remodeling Industry’s builder poll.
Learn what it means to have LEED-certified home and about the LEED for Homes program that started in 2008.
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 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.
The story of two ladies and their small CSA in the Rocky Mountains.
Allowing children the space to discover the beauty and wonder of plants through tending to their own garden builds character, teaches responsibility, gives insight into the beauty of nature and fosters their connection with where their food comes from.
Learn a few tips for efficiency from seasoned CSA Farmers: La Vista CSA Farm.
Communicating via letters mirrors the pace of a handmade life.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Working in the potato bed produces the next blog article.
For more than 40 years, The Farm Community in Tennessee has been on the forefront of farming, gardening and the green lifestyle.
Garden like the Native Americans by digging up 18-inch-diameter hills on four foot centers. Get your crops started, then worry about working the areas in between the hills.
In remembrance of a dear friend and steward of the Earth, a look at how others inspire us and how their legacy sculpts us.
The community garden in East Harlem, Chenchita's Garden, is beginning to take shape.
One great thing about gardening that goes beyond soil building and crop rotations is its ability to bring people together. As spring is now officially here, it’s a great time to revel in all the pleasures the season is sure to bring. Please share your thoughts and stories about how gardening has brought people together in your life.
In North Carolina’s Triangle region, Crop Mob is reviving community farming.
Julie Lavigne relates her grandparent’s home in the city, a modern homestead for their time, and proves you can live a self-sufficient lifestyle in an urban setting.
What does voluntary simplicity look like and how can we practice it despite our busy lives?
Real estate and land use demands have many people left on a waiting list by their local community gardens. Never fear: There's still plenty of options to get growing!
The Ogden Community Garden winds down, and one gardener marvels at the late October harvest, and on how much the garden has meant to everyone who has helped tend it.
Take a photographic tour of Finca Bella Vista, a sustainable treehouse community in Costa Rica.
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.
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.
The DOE and NREL released a study outlining ways to build grocery stories and medium-sized businesses that need 50 percent less energy.
Building Biology advises us to look for a successful history of use when choosing building materials but in our ever changing product-based building environment we seldom have the luxury of evaluating track record. This becomes quickly apparent when vetting new products for client’s homes. I recently called a major manufacturer to find out what was in a new product developed to prevent mold growth on framing lumber.
The bleeding edge of technology is where the true pioneers of their respective industry reside. Adam D. Bearup has had his own impact in the green building field on several fronts, above and below ground.
A review of the Husqvarna hatchet.
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
Learn more about this building project, which utilizes SIP technology combined with an unusual geometry.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how the new energy and climate legislation that creates opportunities in green building.
Washington, D.C., Nevada and New Mexico see the most LEED-certified green building per capita in 2010.
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.
There’s more than one way to be an environmental warrior. And some approaches work better than others. Elemental follows the stories of three environmental advocates united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most dire ecological issues affecting their respective communities. This isn’t only a story about plight and pollution, however. Rather, Gayatri Roshan’s and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee’s documentary works best as a character-driven study of eco-activism’s do’s and don’ts.
These online tools can help you find the best sources for local food, including local farmers markets and community-supported agriculture programs.
Support your local food systems while getting the most from your home garden.
With winter beginning, these homesteaders are starting winter off cozy in their cabin.
"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.
A list of ways we could each show support or teach our friends and family to support the Local Foods Movement
Frances Moore Lappé of the Small Planet Institute will present a workshop on positive environmentalism at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania.
My mission was to find like minded 'earth nurturers' in a neighborhood where there seems to be a dearth of us! What I found was humility and kindred spirits, and the makings of a great dinner party!
Quails make an excellent urban choice for poultry raising, chiefly for their tranquil nature, minimal noise and egg-producing efficiency. In this, the second installment of my series on quail-raising, you'll learn how to identify gender from color and marks and see how quail eggs compare with those of chickens.
Jerry DeWitt of the National Center of Appropriate Technology will present a workshop on the culture of sustainability at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25, 2011 in Seven Springs, Pa.
4-H is a youth organization that can be a great resource for skill-building in our communities. No matter what you do or what your interest, spending time with your local club is a worthy contribution.
Sukita Reay Crimmel of Claylin and From These Hands, and publisher of Mother Earth News Bryan Welch will present workshops on building earthen floors and how to build a sustainable future at the Mother Earth News Fair, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, WA.
Homeschool Moms for Moms is a safe place where moms are welcome to post photos of their children’s portfolios, work, crafts, artwork, and learning environments.
Cecile Andrews, simplicity advisor and Dena Marshall of Marshall Meditation will present workshops on simplicity and conflict management at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Ed Begley Jr. of Envirolet will present a workshop on sustainable living at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Portland is the nation's most bike-friendly city, yet this Oregon community has had to deal with cycling disparities among its population. One nonprofit organization addressed this issue by developing new programs targeting low-income immigrant communities.
Carolyn Guske, official illustrator for MOTHER EARTH NEWS heritage farm animals, will teach kids how to draw and paint heritage farm animals at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
With resources from Mother Nature, you can make natural and beautiful homegrown holiday gifts.
Leaving the rental home we had lived in for three years in Carmel Indiana, to move back to Kangaroo Valley, Australia has meant more than losing the plot and getting the flock out of there!
I am new to America, and new to the suburbs, having previously lived in rural Australia. I now live in suburban Indiana. During the past two years I have been trying to set up an "urban homestead" for our family. The neighbors are curious and amused.
Pass the cold, wintry months with warm thoughts of how you can eat more local food while supporting sustainable agriculture this coming season.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
The benefits of a membership in a CSA and how supporting local organic farming is not only good for you but good for the Earth as well.
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.
How to build a greenhouse of used sliding-glass patio doors that is warmer and less expensive than plastic, and keeps out burrowing animals.
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.
Just so you don't think it's all fun and games living out here in the country....
This blog post is a description of starting a building project using Structural Insulated Panels, also known as SIPs.
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
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.
Build a simple backyard barbecue pit with no more than a shovel and a good cover panel for your next barbecue party.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
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.
Michael Morley's SIPs home project is underway, and despite an unexpected snowstorm, progress has been made on the concrete slab and the risers.
Cam describes the building of his chicken coop.
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.
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
Build your own wood-fired earth oven for baking fluffier, more flavorful bread and other baked delights.
Michael Morley has an exciting update on the house he's building in Lawrence, Kan. The dome is starting to go up!
President Obama plans to help earn the White House LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council.
Dan Chiras announces a four-day energy workshop he'll be teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
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.
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.
I had no idea putting dirt in a box was this difficult.
Building a closet from lumber milled from standing dead trees.
Selecting a tree, reducing it to logs, milling out the logs into lumber and using that lumber for specific projects.
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
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.
Share your thoughts about natural building methods including straw bale building, cordwood construction, earth building and more.
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!
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
How does one eat more of the right types of seafood to reap all the health benefits without going bald? Choose local!
When traveling, consider checking out the community gardens in the area. You can meet local people who are passionate about gardening and learn about the climate and crops that may be different than yours.
FairShare CSA Coalition partners with health insurance groups to offer a rebate for selecting fresh, organic, local produce.
Want to find a new garden plot for next year? Look into community gardens in your area, or start your own!
The documentary Urban Roots takes a look at how city farming is transforming the city's vacant lots into community gardens, ultimately changing the community as a whole in the process.
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
Maddy Harland writes about principles that underpin our understanding and practical application of permaculture. She relates them to designing a green home and garden but also explains how permaculture can help us to create more sustainable lifestyle
Examining an community for your homestead.
How one rural county without animal control regulations or a public pet shelter is working to make a better community for all residents — both humans and their companions.
Soapmaker Anne-Marie Faiola will present a workshop on soapmaking and Dr. Andrew Iverson will presenet a workshop on natural health at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Kansas City has a thriving city farming scene, and recently hosted an urban farms tour to showcase several of the city’s market and community gardens. One of our editors pedaled along with a bike tour group to see what the city farmers have to offer.
Barack Obama encourages Americans to participate in a national day of service on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Farm life is not always predictable, and some of the surprises turn out to be the most valuable lessons. This story from the ranch about some strong winter-born goats, a protective cow with motherly instincts, and a calf that’s making it against all odds will not only inspire you, but it may teach you something about the wonderful spirit of community support.
If we want future generations to live self-sufficient lives, we have to pass on the knowledge. This week's "Photo of the Week" reflects that point.
Kashi, the natural food and lifestyle leader, will support organizations that provide education and greater access to healthy foods in cities across the U.S.
Ditch unhealthy school lunches with a fresh lunch idea for kids: school gardens. Beyond putting fresh, healthy food in schools, cafeteria gardens are a great classroom tool and a big step towards more sustainable schools.
The League of American Bicyclists has compiled a database of state-specific highlights of traffic laws that affect bicyclists. Find out if you live in a bicycle friendly community.
Collins hails milestone of the company becoming employee owned.
The 651 Project has been established to assist students Nationwide in their pursuit of agricultural skills and knowledge.
Survivalists and others who yearn for a better way of life, and a better world, would be best served by studying the successful tribal cultures and ways of the past. Based on an interview with Vine Deloria, author of "God is Red."
Sandy Boyce's sauerkraut was a hit, selling out each week, until her county health department asked her to stop. Across the nation, regulations can prevent small-time home producers from distributing their 'cottage foods' to the public.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
Although the concepts of fair trade, buying local and buying organic food are used to aid the economies of developing countries, these same three concepts can help our local communities become the healthy communities we can thrive in.
Bastyr University and Premera Blue Cross today announced the launch of an innovative pilot program aimed at preventing or reversing childhood obesity.
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.
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.
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.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
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.
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.
Building a small cordwood cafe in Colorado. A fun project for everyone!
See how a structure made from cob, a form of earthen construction, handles a laboratory shake test.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Experiences building a water-saving bath house out of salvaged logs.
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.
Extolling the virtues of salvaging and reusing building materials
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.
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.
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.
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.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
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.
Robert Maxwell explains how to build your own limestone foundation for almost no money.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
Finally, we start to take shape.
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.
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
Moving to a different climate and gardening zone can be a challenge, especially in the high desert. The best approach is to start small and add plenty of organic material.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to go from buying everything at Wally World to growing organic vegetables, raising livestock, building an efficient home, and a Do-It-Yourself, self-sufficient lifestyle.
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.
Location near public transporation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
Finca Bella Vista in Costa Rica, a community of sustainable treehouses in the jungle canopy, connected by zip lines and suspension bridges, is an Ewok Village come to life.
Describes the process of forming a community garden from the physical and energetic standpoints. The power of teamwork, the joy of accomplishment and the building of a feeling of group unity are described.
Compassionate people without a county animal shelter organize a non-profit group to help low-income families keep their pets during hard times and to support Good Samaritans who take in abandoned pets
Making Music on the Front Porch ... let's define what the musical Front Porch is.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
In a Boulder, Colorado, neighborhood, residents are getting off the grass. They're donating their front yards to a community organization that grows enough fruits and vegetable on the former lawns to feed 50 families. Now, that's local food.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
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 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.
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.
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.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
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.
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
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.
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
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.
Dan Chiras of The Evergreen Institute invites readers to attend a one-day conference on the future of building in Wichita, Kansas.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
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.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
A discussion of three power tools to prep your logs or timbers for building.
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
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.
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.
Finca Exotica is ideal for travelers who want to immerse themselves in the Osa Peninsula's bounty and learn about permaculture and sustainable building.
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
I love my two-story log cabin, which combines recycled and an array of green building materials.
There is an ideal relative humidity range for our health and that is somewhere between 35% and 55%. In modern life we have introduced many new sources of moisture into our homes. Daily showers, laundry, cooking and dishwashing tend to create concentrated bursts of humidity. Because conventional construction can tolerate very little increase in humidity without condensation/mold problems moisture from these sources must be mechanically sucked out of the home.
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
We're using earthbags and straw bales to construct an efficient, cost-effective, and roomy earthbag root cellar.
This variation on the (endlessly adaptable) traditional Mongolian yurt design was inspired by the work of master yurt builder, educator, and homesteader Bill Coperthwaite (who was also a neighbor and friend of the Nearings). This low-cost yurt design combines basketry, wattle and daub, and basic lashing (similar to skin-on-frame boats). Not much more than a glorified tent, this DIY yurt made from sticks, string and mud makes a very comfortable, durable and beautiful tiny house, studio, or meditation space.
If you want to own property, you have to find a way to finance buying land. Here, one couple explains how they took out a mortgage to build a home and purchase land.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Folksinger Michael Johnathon is on tour nationwide. Visit his homepage: www.MichaelJohnathon.com
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.
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.
An amazing, off-the-grid Welsh hobbit house was built in less than four months and for less than $5,000.
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.
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.
EU's ban of five chemicals commonly used in building materials will "shake up the industry," Healthy Building Network official predicts.
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.
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.
We received some good additional tips on buying land and building a home. These pieces of advice are a roundup of comments taken from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS Facebook page.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
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.
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.
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.
Bryan Welch's book, Beautiful and Abundant, provides a framework for understanding and evaluating ecotourism's impact on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?