Net-zero homes are very popular. What are they and how do you get one? Here are some tips.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that the amount of energy lost annually through windows costs consumers $35 billion. Heat loss and heat gain through and around windows accounts for between 10 and 25 percent of our heating and air conditioning usage, the largest consumer of energy in a modern home. Here are some ways to make sure your windows are as energy-efficient as possible.
A 150-mile transmission line project proposed in 2012 costing up to $1.3 billon is a “dinosaur” that is still haunting the Hudson Valley. But rooftop solar energy, battery storage, and community microgrids can replace the ancient, costly, and vulnerable centralized generation and transmission electricity system that has dominated New York and the entire nation — and advanced little technologically — for over a century.
Building a new home with energy-efficient appliances and water-conserving features is now pretty easy. One home-building couple relates how simple these options were to find, thanks to the EPA’s appliance and plumbing labels.
It’s relatively easy for white-collar businesses to be greener: Recycle more paper, turn off the lights, etc. But what about trade-skill businesses?
While the most expensive part of going solar is paying for the equipment, it still only represents 25 percent of the overall expense. We break down of all the costs of going solar, and tips on how you can save money!
CAES proposes storing excess green energy in salt caverns.
Marvel at the step-by-step process of building a wind turbine.
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.
When your electronics say “low battery,” it means just that: The batteries are low but not dead. The energy that remains in seemingly dead batteries can be used in this simple night light project that you can build at home in about one hour. Your new night light will shine for months and is reusable for years, powered by “dead” batteries.
Ever thought about designing and building your own space? Darles Eaton will walk you through thoughful design, best materials and lessons learned.
Transformation of the electricity sector may be able to be delayed by wasting billions of federal tax dollars on unnecessary meters, and large long-distance transmission lines, but it cannot be stopped. It may be a politically rocky transition for the foreseeable future, but I am confident America will certainly achieve energy independence and clean energy abundance.
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.
What it's really like to buy, sell and market a green home.
Energy ambassadors: convergence of energy and culture.
Energy Ambassadors: Travels to Cuba and Vermont.
Visit Vermont with my Cuban friend Mario as we explore renewable energy, energy efficiency, cultural exchange, and lunch.
The fourth in a series of 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.
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 second post 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 first 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 for a similar tour. Along the way we learned about efficiency and renewables, and some striking contrasts between ourselves and our countries were revealed.
The decision to replace an old refrigerator should not always be made based only on how well it is functioning. New Energy Star models have many energy-saving and cost-saving advantages that can make that decision much easier.
Natural gas sounds green. After all, it has "natural" in the title. But how green is natural gas, really?
If you are looking to make your home more eco-friendly, there is no better place to start than in the kitchen. Here are 8 simple ways to save energy in the kitchen.
With photovoltaic (PV) panel technology you can tap into the amazing world of free totally renewable energy from the sun. You generally cannot find a better more reliable source of power on the planet that solar. In our book you will find that a DIY on grid/off grid system is very affordable and a wise choice for almost everyone.
Although cooking is not as big of an energy-drain in the home as other things, there are still ways to do it in an energy-efficient way. This article describes some of the best ways to cook sustainably.
What do holidays, indoor air quality and global warming have in common?
Learn about three consumer-driven green energy trends for 2015 that will have a direct impact on our pocketbooks in the coming year, including net-zero energy homes, electric vehicles, and green energy production.
Whether you choose renewable energy for ecological or financial reasons, this article will help you see how solar panels and a solar hot water heating system can be financed and get you closer to being a sustainable household.
Want to enjoy the warmth of your home this winter without using more energy than is necessary? These tips are for you!
An index of posts related to energy, power, and climate, with a strong focus on solutions.
Smooth out the temperature range in your greenhouse by adopting one of these strategies for heating greenhouses.
The new home for Friends School of Portland will be only the third school in the United States to achieve Passive House certification.
Cam Mather tries out a battery-powered chainsaw at his off-grid homestead in Ontario.
There are multiple philosophies that describe what characterizes a green home, but all have low energy loads in common.
From choosing affordable floods for the bedroom remodel to switching out the oven-hood incandescent, Jennifer details how much it cost to light her house sustainably, as well as forecast her long term savings.
As demand for air conditioning continues to increase, discover how to reduce the impact it has on the environment.
Considering induction cooking as an eco-friendly alternative to cooking with electricity? Can’t begin to contemplate spending $3,000 on a stove? This article will run down how you can integrate the hottest new tech in cooking into your kitchen without winning the lottery.
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.
The Clean Power Plan to cut carbon pollution from existing power plants, proposed on June 2, 2014, by the Environmental Protection Agency, under President Obama’s Climate Action Plan not only limits our carbon pollution but also injects life back into our domestic workforce.
Declare energy independence this Independence Day, 2014
Build your own wind generator for use with 12-Volt systems. Charge up batteries for lighting, fans, tools and more.
Make your home more energy efficient with Indow Windows Shade Grade.
TERA-Light is a perpetually renewable fire starter that requires no batteries, no chemicals — only air and organic plant material!
Spring is the perfect time to give your home cooling equipment a check-up before hot weather arrives.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Utility companies and solar power companies are vying for customers' business. See how that affects you.
Going solar at home will save you both money and energy. See why it's the future for renewable energy in residential areas.
How does induction cooking work? What are the pros and cons? Efficient electric cooking or hidden health risk?
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.
High efficiency air source heat pumps are proving their worth for cold climate heating and cooling.
Energy Star for Homes is a worthwhile green building certification with demonstrated market value.
MetLife Stadium is reducing waste, saving energy and saving water. Take a page from their playbook. www.earhgauge.net/?p=33964
Tips for solar advocates to invest money smartly and be part of the growing solar market
Chinese archaeologists have recently found the oldest solar device – a bronze concave mirror – capable of almost instantaneously making fire from sunlight.
But what happens if progress in poverty’s eradication far-outpaces green energy solutions? Two of the most important issues of our century — clean energy and poverty eradication - are potentially mutually exclusive, if development efforts do not factor in increased consumption that will occur.
Efficiency pays off! Resolve to save energy, water, fuel and money in 2014. Get started with these tools.
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.
Nothing lasts forever, let's do the math.
Alternative energy has become a hot topic in recent years as we try and work towards more sustainable resources. Whether we'll get there or not remains to be seen.
When writing his great work On Architecture, Rome’s greatest solar architect Vitruvius emphasized proper solar orientation for buildings and bath houses.
The sun provides us with enough clean energy that if ever effectively harnessed, we might never need any other form again. Sadly, we are only able to harness a fraction of it's potential. Fortunately, we are making great progress to get where we want to be.
Mankind’s use of fossil fuels during the last 200 years has dumped millions of years of sequestered carbon into the atmosphere in the form of Carbon Dioxide. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, 315 gigatons of carbon have been added to the atmosphere, leaving the carbon cycle 315 gigatons out of balance.
Here are three of the season’s brightest and cleanest gifts for a greener holiday celebration.
Never in the history of the world has there been such a high-ranking member of society to advocate passive solar design than Socrates. He felt so strongly for building with the sun in mind that he even set up a class to teach his acolytes how the finer points of putting up a passive solar house.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Ready to decorate? Show your holiday spirit with LED lighting to save energy and money. www.earthgauge.net/?p=33327
Old homes are often thought of as second-hand or sub-par quality. There are a lot of things you can do to modernize your home, and even make it more energy efficient that many new homes.
Learn how to build a simple, dual-burner rocket stove using recycled materials from your homestead, garden or workshop.
Whether you’re traveling or staying home, try these tips for a healthy & environmentally-friendly Thanksgiving. www.earthgauge.net/?p=33317
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.
Learn how to evaluate your own home for solar potential with four easy steps!
Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.
Fall is a great time to replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient bulbs. Save up to $50 per year.
A do-it-yourself portable solar cart allows us to have solar power without removing trees from the yard. We can also take it away from the home site and move it indoors before storms.
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
Renewable energy accounts for nearly 50 percent of added capacity in US in 2012.
The GateMate, by Cartell, has the lowest current draw in standby than any other free exit system on the market.
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.
Our efforts to improve energy efficiency in the United States might be faltering.
There are many ways we can conserve energy, and be more eco-friendly, especially with the advancements that technology is making every day.
Admirals Alternatives make it easier to obtain renewable energy systems for your home.
On sunny days it delivers about a half a megawatt of electricity to the biodiesel plant, while providing strategic shade to plants below. Energy is produced above as farmers harvest below in a genuine double cropping scenario.
The “Remote Community Renewable Energy Partnership” exceeds Obama’s goal for supporting clean energy development in small native villages.
New standards for Energy Star refrigerators and freezers will reduce energy consumption and include “connected” features.
Save money and energy at home by choosing energy-efficient products whenever you purchase home appliances or computers and other electronics.
A home’s air-tightness is just as important as how much R-value it has.
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
Having a properly maintained water heater is like going to the dentist: No one wants to do it, but it’s gotta be done. Ideally, you should have an inspection and necessary maintenance performed on your water heater once a year.
A new tool released by the U.S. Department of Energy allows drivers to compare fuel costs of electric cars with those of gas-powered vehicles.
Save money and energy by going green and being smart about your home utilities.
It might seem like a small thing, but your refrigerator can be a HUGE drain on your energy bill. We’ve already shown you how to check for leaks in your refrigerator seal—now let’s take the next step in keeping your fridge in top working order.
University of Maine leads the United States in clean-energy technology, thanks to the development of a grid-connected wind turbine off the coast of Maine.
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Here are seven devices that will help you conserve energy in your home, and maybe even help make our world livable again.
Attics can be a huge energy drain if they are not insulated sufficiently. We’ll leave the
heavy lifting for next weekend, but for now look for uneven insulation, base sports, water damage, and anything else that looks out of place.
It’s springtime and the weather is getting warm, but that is no excuse for letting money and energy fly out the window every single day. Hopefully you were able to find all the drafts and leaks in your windows last fall (if not, now is just as good a time as any).
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
Nokero International has been awarded the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s ‘Patents for Humanity’ award.
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.
Did you know that heat transfer through windows can account for up to 25 percent of your energy bill by allowing heat out during the winter, and makes your air conditioner work overtime to combat the sun’s warming? Drafts and leaks can be the biggest culprit of energy waste but can also be fixed with relatively little effort.
A three-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
When you get home today, do this simple test: Close your fridge door on a dollar bill or piece of paper; if you can pull the bill out easily or worse, if it falls, then it is time to replace the seal.
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!
More than the electricity needed to run these machines, the “rinse hold” hot water setting that many households use is the biggest energy drain associated with dishwashers – as much as 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heat water.
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.
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”).
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.
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.
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.
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.
CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. I know that when I purchased new lamps for my house, they had a whole shelf of incandescent bulbs right next to it, and I had to go search the store for CFLs, so I understand if you are currently using incandescent bulbs. But it’s worth the switch — not only are CFLs equal in light quality, they last way longer and will save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime.
Tonight when you get home from work or school, call your utility company and ask what incentives they have for you to get an energy audit for your home. Many utilities have been offering free energy audits for years, but very few people have actually taken advantage.
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
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.
The International Window Film Association says older dwellings can reduce energy use with energy saving window film, which was recently voted into the new California building energy codes.
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.
A 3-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
A report from economic analyst Mark Cooper shows that continuing nuclear power projects in the Southeast will only produce billions of dollars in excess costs.
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.
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
It's about seven unique way's you can use your iPhone to be more energy efficient.
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
If someone told you that you were losing money just by sitting in your home, you would probably want to do whatever you could to change that. Well the reality is that your home is using up energy regularly, and there is a huge chunk of that energy that you do not even need. Luckily, we live in a time when technology is constantly coming up with ways to fix problems such as these. Here are some of the ways that technology can help to save the environment, as well as your wallet.
How packing snow against your house can add R-value to your insulation - and subtract energy costs.
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.
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.
In 2010, Chevrolet announced that they were embarking on their Carbon Reduction Initiative, an effort to invest $40 million in carbon offset projects across the country with the goal of reducing up to 8 million metric tonnes of CO2 emissions. The program includes wind, landfill-gas-to-energy, solar, efficiency, and conservation projects.
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.
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.
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
Tips on how to save energy, water and fuel at home and on the road in 2013!
Solar Energy International is excited to announce the 2013 Online Solar Training schedule! On Jan. 14, we will kick off this year's online training schedule with some of the most rigorous solar training in the industry. Join thousands of people from all over the world in SEI's Online Campus!
An update on generating electricity with pedal power and which exercise bike we decided on and testing soil for nutrient ratios along with fixing a pair of leaky boots with adhesive and inner tube scrap patch.
Wind turbines kills birds, but not as many as are killed by tall buildings and other hazards.
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
Tips on how to reduce energy with lights during the holiday season.
A Federal Housing Association (FHA) EEM provides mortgage insurance to the borrower who is looking to purchase or refinance their home, and incorporate the costs of energy efficient improvements into their mortgage.
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.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
November 11-17, 2012 is Geography Awareness Week and the theme is 'interdependency' this year.
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.
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.
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.
Press Release about UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative’s Toolkit, “Achieving the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting.”
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.
Bill McKibben is doing a national tour to raise awareness about climate change and to build a movement around changing the way we use energy.
The ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder app uses your zip code to find sales tax exemptions, credits, or rebates on qualified products.
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.
A 2012 survey by Northeast Group LLC was published in October, claiming 95 percent of U.S. cities that have tried LED streetlights are satisfied with the results, saving nearly 60 percent in costs.
Tips on how to conserve energy and save money with compact fluorescent bulbs during shorter daylight hours.
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.
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.
The U.S. Department of Energy released a set of pumpkin-carving stencils celebrating Halloween through alternative energy.
Comly Wilson, Associate with CleanEdison, a solar installation training provider, offers her tips to remedy 6 common mistakes solar PV installers make when setting up new photovoltaic systems.
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 North American Solar Stores (NASS) network announces their nationally recognized solar store brand to meet the solar energy demands of today's alternative energy-aware consumers.
New technology achieves 80 percent energy efficiency during the coffee roasting process.
Tips on how saving energy this fall and winter can help reduce nutrient pollution in water bodies.
Conergy Projects Group has broken ground on a 725 kw photovoltaic system for T&P Farms out of Arbuckle, Calif.
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.
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.
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.
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
Beautiful night time display of spinning colors in downtown Ann Arbor vividly demonstrates possibilities of wind energy.
Cam contemplates the amount of energy that goes into our food production and shows how he prepared corn for freezing the zero carbon way!
If you missed it, be sure to check out this great informative interview with John Burke of MSi Green Lighting LED Company. They are lighting it green in Macy’s and saving them millions!! They use Cree LED diodes in their bulbs and proprietary tech.
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.
Wayne you'd better slow down! The master of vehicle gasification is hard pressed to stay within the speed limit.
Hay season on the Keith farm means lots of work for the wood-powered truck! Check out these videos of Wayne's farming operation.
A brief description of Manuel and Mary Ann's straw bale home and its efficiency.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
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.
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.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Gasification guru Wayne Keith shows us some of his daily farm operations.
Here's how Wayne Keith he shuts down the wood gasifier when he gets to where he's going.
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.
Here's Wayne Keith lighting up his woodgas truck. He's driving on wood before he gets out of the driveway!
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.
Read about new legislation that would stop the government from funding the fossil fuel industry. Then, sign your name to the petition and make a difference.
Monitoring energy use has led to increased motivation for conservation
Despite rumors to the contrary, a Prius is still better for the Earth and has less embodied energy than a Hummer.
Cam recently spoke to a Transition group about the challenges ahead and how to prepare for them.
Finally, we start to take shape.
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
Sometimes being off grid doesn't necessarily mean that you're green.
Talking about the recent past week where we got several items crossed off the Spring to-do list and managed to have some fun while doing it complete with pictures to illustrate the good times.
Check out the Kimberly stove, an energy efficient, small space wood cookstove.
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.
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Companies launch demonstration site to illustrate the consumer and utility benefits of a BMW electric vehicle in a Smart Energy Home powered by Tendril Connect(TM) cloud platform.
Cam shares his enthusiasm for the sun and the wind at his off-grid home.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
Can party technology teach you about energy savings and even the theory behind electric cars? It sure can if you follow this simple video tutorial on pulse width modulation.
Tips to save energy and water during the holiday season.
How a wood-fired hot tub allows us to live better on less energy.
Hold on to the holiday spirit while saving energy and money this season with holiday LED lights.
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
Steve explains how one practical guy invented a way to burn pellets efficiently without an expensive pellet stove
Upgrading wall insulation is tricky. You can't see the insulation that is (or isn't) in your walls, and it's not easy to install new insulation in a hidden wall cavity. One solution that shows promise is filling wall cavities with injections foam.
Tips on how to conserve energy at home with Energy Star compact fluorescent light bulbs.
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.
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.
We finally build somthing!
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.
How to save energy in commercial and industrial buildings.
So far this year extreme weather events has cost the US over 35 billion dollars. This posting discusses the potential for non-carbon-based renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
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.
Cam considers how Peak Oil will affect our lives....
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
Let's face it: Tax audits have given the word "audit" a bad name. But a home energy audit is a good thing, and every home can benefit from the information and recommendations a home energy audit provides.
If you crave great music with an eco-conscious cause, attend Rock the Green, Milwaukee’s first green music festival.
This is a rundown of films that came out in the last few years. These films cover a wide range of environmental topics, from energy, climate, and fuel, to food, farming, and health. Many of the films have won awards or been critically acclaimed.
Tips for saving energy at home while trying to stay cool.
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.
Hodgson Mill Inc., a leading national producer of All-Natural and Organic, Whole-Grain foods, has added two wind turbines to successfully complete the second phase of a significant new green initiative.
Looking at all the wood powered cars
Cable set-top boxes in the United States consume 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—equivalent to the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants. Cable providers have a lot of energy-efficient improvements to make.
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.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Existing homes that are certified as “green” sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to an analysis of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region released today by Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource. Newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification sold for 8 percent more than non-certified homes.
This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term "certified home" includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification.
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.
Lyle Estill of Piedmont Biofuels and Mark Kastel of the Cornucopia Institute will present workshops on low-carbon solutions and local eating at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Kirk Haffner, solar power expert, and Jeff Swotek of the USDA will present workshops on solar power and USDA programs at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
NXP's wifi light bulb would allow homeowners to turn LED and compact fluorescent lights on and off from anywhere, using any Internet-enabled device. Some say it's the first step toward building "smart" computer-controlled homes. Do we need this?
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.
Alisa Shorey will present a workshop on beekeeping and Jack McCornack will present a workshop on 100-mpg cars at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Scott Davis, microhydro energy expert, will present a workshop on microhydro energy at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Back at the lab we are installing a new three inch line from the air dryers to the throttle body.
Put your kitchen on an energy diet without spending money on new appliances. Use these simple tricks to use less energy while cooking, freezing and refrigerating--even drinking your morning coffee.
In my quest for the most energy efficient ceiling fan, one model blows the rest away. Now is the time to install ceiling fans for lower electricity bills this summer--here's how.
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!
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.
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
Michael Paul Holmes of Paul and Sabrina's EV Stuff will present a workshop on electric vehicles at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Cam describes some recent speaking engagements including the thrill of being "piped in."
Save money and gas this Earth Day — and every day! — by using these five green driving tips from the Car Care Council.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.
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.
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.
See the power of gasification before we hit the road.
An energy audit can help the homeowner determine the best strategies for improving the home's energy efficiency.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
No one had ever attempted to set a land speed record for gasification vehicles so Beaver Energy was the first.
In GE's new bulb, a halogen capsule--which turns on instantly--is nestled inside a compact fluorescent swirl. The halogen bulb turns off when the CFL warms up, maintaining the light's energy efficiency.
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.
For the first time since the U.S. Energy Information Administration began collecting data on greenhouse gas emissions in 1990, the United States saw a record-setting 5.8 percent decline.
Explore how you can make your own home grown organic fuel to power your own transportation or electricity.
Whether you’re a teacher, parent, school administrator, or homeschooler, you might be interested in some of these online resources related to environmental education and green curricula. Most of these websites are related to K-12 education.
Cam leaves his lights on during Earth Hour since he generates his own electricity with solar and wind!
Only 43 percent of Americans know what smart grid technology is, and of those, 70 percent don’t really understand how it works, according to a survey released today.
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.
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
Our “needs” for the latest gadgets elevates our energy consumption, even with the onslaught of energy-efficient appliances and consumer electronics in recent years.
B&R Automation announces partnership to serve renewable energy industry in US and Canada.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
Sixty-one percent of Americans say they understand our nation's energy issues, but more than half have never heard the term "smart grid." We have a lot to talk about.
Dan and Karen Cripes made a few big upfront investments--including solar panels and a geothermal system--when they built their home in Round Rock, Texas. Now they're reaping the rewards with nearly nonexistent utility bills and a home they love.
In this Wind Energy Blog, we talk with a representative from The Nature Conservancy to learn more about the environmental impacts of wind energy. Despite the many concerns about the impacts these wind farms can have on wildlife, there are no current regulations that wind farm developers must follow before building their wind farms.
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?
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
We know that heating, cooling and operating our buildings is responsible for 40 percent of total energy expenditures in this country. That’s a huge percentage. But we also know how to test, evaluate and improve buildings so that energy use can be cut dramatically.
The bad news? Coal-fired power plants are our biggest source of industrial pollution. The good news? Solar grew by 67 percent last year, making it our fastest-growing energy sector.
Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The second necessity is retaining maximum heat.
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.
Homeowners and renters who made five or more energy-efficient improvements found satisfying savings, a new study finds.
Cam speaks to a group of university students about "sustainable" development...
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.
Yes, you can power a car or truck on wood. Chip Beam thinks it won’t be long before we encounter a gas shortage and/or significantly more expensive gas. So what can be an alternative source of energy to power our vehicles? How about wood chips or pellets of plant matter? It may sound bizarre, but it really works. Here’s the first post in a new blog devoted to wood gasification for transportation.
The Electric Power Research Institute, Inc. (EPRI) assures consumers that manufacturers have rectified many of the issues related to using CFLs, making them into mere myths. These issues include usage in three-way fixtures, non-compatibility in dimmers, the high price of CFLs and CFL use in fans and candelabras. Additionally, CFL users should understand the lifespan of the bulb and causes of flicker.
Colorado's once-thriving solar industry has ground to a halt following Xcel Energy's move to slash incentive rebates for homeowners.
Use a digital tire gauge and learn how to check tire pressure regularly to get better gas mileage. While other types of gauges exist, the digital tire pressure gauge is an accurate and simple way to keep your tires properly inflated. Read this digital tire gauge review to see what digital tire pressure checkers you can buy.
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
Consumers are intrigued by smart grid technology, but they need a lot more information and better tools before they'll participate.
Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.
A year-long study in Oklahoma found that consumers who used energy-tracking technology and pricing plans that let them analyze their usage can cut their consumption in half.
A new study finds that generating electricity from coal costs taxpayers $345 billion each year, making renewable energy start to look like a bargain.
Lundberg Family Farms announces the opening of a new warehouse that is powered by 100% solar energy. Lundberg Family Farms produces wholesome, healthful rice products while protecting and improving the environment for future generations.
Generate energy in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
Cam readily admits to being obsessed about his use of energy.
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.
Most of us would love to live in energy-efficient homes that are good for the environment and have low, low energy bills. But what are the best real options available? How do you create an extremely energy-efficient home that’s still affordable for most people?
Cam is glad to find out that he has been successful at encouraging people to embrace renewable energy.
Cree's new dimmable LED bulb emits a warm, incandescent-like color.
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.
Green home improvement and retrofit projects that only require a minimal investment and that have a sure (and often speedy) payback. These relatively low-cost improvements can reap real savings. Plus, a link to info on tax credits and rebates.
The Appalachian State University team will be blogging about their progress on the solar home they are building for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
Luna Lodge, on Costa Rica's Osa Peninsula, relies on hydro power.
Simran Sethi discusses how to green your bathroom in easy ways: through your choice of toilet paper, shower curtain, and towels.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
Solar Energy International (SEI), the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service all offer events to educate participants in varying pursuits. This blog provides links to activity calendars and workshop schedules.
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.
Home energy management, electric cars and solar gadgets take starring roles at consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show.
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.
The difference between power and energy and how it relates to toast!
Simran Sethi describes the choices she made for her eco-friendly kitchen remodel.
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
U.S. energy consumers will rely more on natural gas and renewables and less on imports in 2011. Coal remains dominant.
The Snail, the winner of Electrolux Design Lab 2010 Competition, saves both energy and space by heating food with magnetic induction.
Simran Sethi writes about choosing eco-friendly paints, tiles, and other aspects of her renovated bathroom.
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.
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.
Have you had a home energy audit done before? A home energy audit can show you the best ways to make your home more energy efficient.
A question about our future.
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.
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.
Two new federal programs, the Home Energy Scoring program and the PowerSaver program, make it easier for homeowners to save energy.
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.
Every year, the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE) releases a report assessing each state’s programs and policies for energy-efficiency. See how your home state did in 2010!
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
Woodstoves can have indoor or outdoor air supplies depending on factors and requirements for the building.
Adjusting the timing of your water heater could help you increase energy savings.
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.
I am especially concerned with the electricity hogs that keep us burning coal.
Photos from tectonic shift. Ruminations on MEN and MOTHER EARTH NEWS and masculine and feminine, and feminine planet.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Managing Editor John Rockhold catches up with Chip Beam of Beaver Energy to hear about Beam's latest exploits with wood gasification to power vehicles.
Managing Editor John Rockhold catches up with Amanda Little ahead of her keynote speech at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
How much energy does it take to travel? Can we collect this from the vehicle while we are using it?
Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, according to a recent American Institute of Architects report.Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, says an American Institute of Architects report.
The World Community Grid uses grid technology and idle computers to power environmental and humanitarian research projects.
What's the most efficient way to boil water?
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.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
The tankless water heater new design adheres to our corporate philosophy of practicing the Three Rs; of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
The Sierra Club’s top 100 greenest colleges and universities carve a clean energy future—students demand it.
Cam shares the results of his experiment growing wheat in his vegetable garden.
Information about energy-efficient washing machines and cellular window shades. These energy-efficient appliances and window shades will please environmentally conscious consumers.
Renowned inventor Craig Vetter discusses his history with aerodynamics and motorcycles, and his vision for doing more with less energy.
The second post (of three) describing an organic gardener's attempt to grow his own wheat.
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.
I just came across these videos that show the wood gas Isuzu Trooper built by our friends at Beaver Energy in action and had to share them.
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.
Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will stop accepting loans from the nationwide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which helps homeowners pay for the cost of energy-efficient retrofits.
A look at the completed project and some of the features.
American and European renewable power sources made up more than half of the countries' new electrical capacity in 2009.
To meet its goal of making all new buildings carbon-neutral by 2030, the American Institute of Architects introduces an online tool that help designers predict how much energy their buildings will use.
High-efficiency washers save energy, water and money with every load. And with the average household washing 400 loads per year, those savings add up.
Henry Red Cloud has a lot to do with the wind energy education happening in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. Along with these tribes, the interest in wind energy is spreading across the nation, especially to Arizona, and outside organizations are lending a hand.
The BP oil spill shocked the nation, but it’s not too late to take action. We want to know what you plan to change.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented an air conditioner, the DEVap, that’s up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional ACs.
The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, expected to pass this summer, offers rebates for windows, doors, skylights, window films and storm windows and doors.
Ceiling fans help cool people naturally, and use a lot less energy than air conditioners. Use them to save on energy.
When the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 passes (as expected) this summer, be prepared by learning what to expect when you buy a water heater, heating system, air-source air conditioner or heat pump.
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.
Now's the time to redouble our efforts to tap into energy efficiency. The potential is huge and the benefits are even greater.
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
Here are some ways to save on energy and money while keeping your home cool in extreme summer temperatures.
We have the technology, today, to make our power grid more sustainable, cleaner, more robust and more reliable just by replacing old-fashioned metering with “smart-metering” and agreeing to pay homeowners who generate electricity.
The ARCX dome has been sold to young couple!
From switching out light bulbs to bundling up your water heater, environmental journalist, Simran Sethi, shares some simple and stress-free tips on how to save energy in your home.
Save energy and resources and reduce waste when traveling by dumping all your trash in one receptical.
Yes, you can make your own solar panels, but it won’t necessarily save you much money compared with buying commercial solar panels.
The requirements for the much-trusted Energy Star label have changed after a government test discovered exploitable flaws in its certification process.
The pros and cons of nuclear power have been discussed in news and politics for years. We want to know what you think. Is nuclear power a viable and safe option for cleaning up our air? Are the risks of nuclear energy worth the potential rewards? Are there other energy alternatives that deserve more of our attention?
On the brink of settling into her new home, environmental journalist Simran Sethi shares some tidbits of eco-information, such as how to box and save for the move, and how a few simple changes can make your home cozier and more energy-efficient.
With new breakthroughs in solar electricity coming out every year, should you wait before investing in a solar electric system? Energy expert Dan Chiras discusses cost of PV modules in terms of cost per watt of installed capacity.
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.
Following a disastrous investigation into the Energy Star program’s certification process, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are making major changes, including scrapping automated approval and requiring stricter lab results.
Environmentalists are in a debate about the Cape Wind project. We want to know what you think about the proposed offshore wind farm.
The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, which passed the House on May 5, would provide $6 billion in rebates to homeowners who make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
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.
The Canadian government’s ecoENERGY program stops giving financial assistance for energy-efficient home improvements.
Should we be building more garbage incinerators in the United States? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
Looser standards and self-certification have led to a market flooded with Energy Star appliances—many with questionable qualifications.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ new bill would promote installation of 10 million new rooftop solar energy systems and 200,000 solar hot water heating systems in the United States in the next decade.
We'd like to hear about projects you have planned that will help you save energy, save water or otherwise make your home greener.
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
The fourth annual Earth Hour is Saturday between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. Turn off the lights and take a stand against climate change!
Dan Chiras announces a four-day energy workshop he'll be teaching in Kansas City, Mo.
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.
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
Touted as one of the greenest cities in the U.S., Boulder, Colorado, isn’t cutting the mustard when it comes to carbon emissions reduction because residents are slow to make energy-saving changes. City officials have gone so far as to send out contractors to perform the simplest changes for homeowners—including changing light bulbs.
This two-day, alternative building workshop featuring energy expert Dan Chiras will be held March 13-14, 2010 in St. Louis.
President Obama revealed plans for his new Home Star Program, also known as Cash for Caulkers, which will offer rebates for energy-efficient home renovations such as replacing windows, adding insulation and sealing ducts.
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
A GE Lighting survey finds that 82 percent of Americans use compact fluorescent light bulbs—and 75 percent have no idea that the government plans to phase out incandescent light bulbs starting in 2012.
Energy expert Dan Chiras suggests a simple process for locating energy-efficient appliances and electronics.
LG Electronics unveiled a new energy-efficient bottom-freezer refrigerator at the Maison & Object living design exhibition in Paris. The product, which uses linear compressor technology to save energy, was named the best example of an eco-chic product at the exhibition.
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.
Profitability, efficiency and growth are eternal goals. As we improve, we set higher goals, always asking how to raise the bar so that we continue getting better and better.
A National Association of Home Builders report and a Better Homes and Gardens survey find that builders and homeowners are moving toward smaller, more energy-efficient homes.
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.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras warns us that building nuclear power plants is not the solution to our current energy crisis.
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.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras shares tips for saving on energy costs by sealing leaks in your home.
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.
T. Boone Pickens is the very embodiment of the Texas oil tycoon. He’s also, arguably, the world’s leading advocate for wind 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.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program reached a major milestone this week when it qualified its 1 millionth Energy Star home.
Are gas guzzlers becoming popular again? Dan Chiras gives his outlook.
For the first time, investors put more money into alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
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.
Tell us what you think! We'd like to know whether you're using compact-fluorescent light bulbs at home and why or why not.
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.
The U.S. Congress has retuned from summer recess, but conflict might keep the Senate from drafting climate and energy legislation quickly.
MyEmissionsExchange.com stimulates the economy and combats global warming by paying registered users for reducing their energy use.
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.
President Obama and the Department of Energy are creating new standards for energy-efficiency in lighting.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a list of the top 20 on-site renewable electtricity generators.
The new Microsoft Hohm application makes it easy to track your energy use and provides simple recommendations to save energy and money.
An Energy Efficient Mortgage can help you add value to your home by making home energy improvements more affordable.
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 how the new energy and climate legislation that creates opportunities in green building.
Since the U.S. House of Represenatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the U.S. Senate started work on its own energy and clilmate change bill.
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.
What kind of car would you get with the Car Allowance Rebate System, which gives consumers up to $4,500 to trade in old, inefficient vehicles?
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains why wind energy is growing in popularity right now.
The House votes on the Climate Energy Bill Friday and President Barack Obama encouraged the passage of the bill.
Let's dream a little dream of green home improvement, without worries about funding.
Summer marks the start of buzzing AC units, but this doesn’t have to waste energy or drain your wallet. By accessing the energy leaks in your home with a simple energy audit, you’ll save money on utility bills. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how to perform a home energy audit.
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.
For the first time ever, alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power received more investment money than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
More money from the Stimulus plan has gone to hot and cold states for weatherization programs.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence shares exciting information about the Google PowerMeter, a new device that helps homeowners find ways to reduce their electric bills.
Learning the basics about electricity will help you 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.
Hold onto your hats, Congress is debating climate change. Right now the U.S. House is considering the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Here's where you can find more information about what is, and isn't, in the bill.
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
Last December, the Quimby family paid $1,100 to heat and power their Winthrop, Maine, farmhouse for the month. Something had to be done. Jeld Wen, manufacturer of energy efficient doors and windows, came to the rescue.
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.
The Environmental Protection Agency releases a list of the top green power purchasers in the United States.
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.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Vertical axis wind turbines don't always produce as much power as expected. Here's what we were able to learn about the new Windspire.
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.
Have you found helpful ways to cut your energy use at home? Whether it's turning down the thermostat or installing new light bulbs, tell us what you've done to conserve energy and how well it's worked.
A survey by the Shelton Group, a Tennessee-based advertising firm, reveals why energy-efficient products are flying off the shelves during this tough economic time.
The Bedol water-and-salt-powered clock runs for six months on a teaspoon of salt.
Sustainability starts at home—but it sure does help to have community backing. Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence takes a closer look at the Cambridge Energy Alliance, a nonprofit, community-supported program that offers free energy audits and customized plans to make homes and buildings more eco-friendly.
A new government-sponsored program calls for India to replace 400 million incandescent bulbs with CFLs by 2012.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com for background information and breaking news on renewable technologies.
Energy-monitoring devices won big at the Greener Gadgets Conference in New York City.
If you’re thinking about getting a solar electric system to help the environment and save money, think about efficiency first.
There are many ways farmers can benefit from renewable energy, including wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.
You say you’re an environmentalist, but are you practicing what you preach?
When you build with structural insulated panels (SIPs), wiring isn't as much of a challenge as you might think.
Save thousands on a solar electric system by learning this simple secret.
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.
Looking for natural ways to ward off that 3 o'clock slump? Real Simple magazine offers nine natural tips for increasing your energy — no pills, caffeine or other stimulants required.
Yep, some of the money in that stimulus bill is committed to green initiatives, including creating green jobs.
Contact your senators now to encourage them to support the clean energy initiatives in the new stimulus package.
Hanging your clothes up to dry rather than using an electric dryer is a great way to save energy. Here are links to a couple of sturdy wooden indoor drying racks.
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!
The future looks bright as long as the United States can follow its current energy efficiency programs.
Earlier this month a plan was drafted to remove all plasma screen televisions from California retail shelves.
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.
Meet the new green team! Here are the people Obama picked for key environmental posts in the new administration.
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.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory recently released a report discussing Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and its possibility as an energy solution.
What should we do about climate and energy issues? These three articles raise interesting questions.
Land rich in biodiversity isn't just more productive than land planted with a single crop. It turns out that increased biodoversity also significantly effects the total "bioenergy" of the land, as well as its carbon footprint.
Detroit automakers ask Congress for $25 billion, but that money could come with some energy efficiency strings.
When you start measuring electricity use, you may be surprised by which appliances and electronics use the most energy.
The X Prize Foundation needs your vote to help them decide their next X Prize.
Check out how millions of gallons of water can be saved by Aug. 11, 2009!
How much electricity is your computer using right now? You might be surprised how easy it is to find out.
The bar has been raised! Televisions now need to consume less energy to qualify for the Energy Star label.
The Union of Concerned Scientists is ready for Obama to take over and find a solution to our energy, environmental and economic problems through a clean energy economy.
Ready, set, save! Try these online calculators for help finding the best ways to save energy and money at home.
The DOE and NREL released a study outlining ways to build grocery stories and medium-sized businesses that need 50 percent less energy.
Wondering where to vote or what's going to be on the ballot? Find answers to these and many other election questions (plus, a game!) with these resources.
A new technology developed at MIT, solar concentrators, could dramatically reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) power.
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.
California ranks No. 1 on the ACEEE's scorecard of energy efficient states. See how your state ranked here!
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
The news on climate change isn't good, but renewable energy could lead us to a brighter future.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
The X Prize Foundation wants your craziest green idea, so let the games begin.
This unusual water-powered clock from Bedol is powered by salt and water.
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.
Solar energy is the ultimate source of all life, and there's lots of it.
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.
Find out what John McCain and Barack Obama have to say about energy issues including the use of nuclear power, clean coal and support for renewable 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.
MIT researchers announced a breakthrough that could ultimately make it much cheaper and easier to store solar energy.
Have you thought about adding more insulation to your home to reduce your energy bills? Here are some good places to go for more information.
If you're considering purchasing a pellet or corn stove to save money on your heating bills this winter, here are some issues to think about before making that investment.
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.
After a five month struggle, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved a program called GoSolarSF, making solar installations more affordable for its citizens.
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.
It's surprisingly easy to figure out how many carbon dioxide emissions come from producing the electricity for your home, or burning a full tank of gas. Check out this carbon calculator, or find out how to do a quick ballpark estimate.
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?
Here's a rundown of the many reasons behind the recent rise in the price of gas.
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 how you can find people selling home-scale wind turbines near where you live.
Here's how you can find out what financial incentives are available for purchasing solar panels, or another renewable energy system for your home. Search these resources to find state and local incentives.
There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the different ways people use solar energy, with links to related articles and plans.
Want to learn more about the benefits of compact fluorescents (CFLs)? Here's a fast explanation of how the new efficient light bulbs can be better.
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.
While photovoltaic panels are great for meeting small-scale energy needs (like those of individual homes or businesses), perhaps a more viable large-scale option is concentrated solar power (CSP) technology.
These 25 very different places all get some or all of their energy from wind power.
For holiday cheer that uses less fossil-fueled energy consider LED Christmas lights.
Try these helpful resources to follow environmental legislation currently being debated in Congress.
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.
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
Waves, tides and currents can all be used as sources of energy.
Almost everyone uses a computer these days. But not everyone knows how much energy is consumed by that one device.Most appliances or electronics tell you the number of watts they use. An average CPU uses 120 watts, while the monitor uses 150 watts. That's 270 watts of power while in use, but there are several easy ways to reduce that amount.
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!)
Second annual report shows how homeowners consume and conserve energy; one third willing to cool off in undergarments rather than turn down the A/C.