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.
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.
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
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.
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
The devil is in the details in a net zero energy home. Every single step in the design and construction of a home requires efforts to ensure airtightness. The top of the foundation is one detail that deserves special attention.
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
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.
From the outset, Earthineer was built to support and promote sustainability and homesteading as a lifestyle choice. Every feature we have planned has that goal in mind. What we have now is the foundation that we'll build off of.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
Identifying, harvesting, and cooking the nutritionally complex spring treat, stinging nettle.
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.
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.
Rice University's ZEROW HOUSE takes first place for hot water and second for architecture and market viability at the Solar Decathlon 2009 in D.C.
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.
Musings on a few delicious, nutritious edible weeds, plus a salmon salad and purslane recipe.
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
Be sure to contact the Environmental Protection Agency and the Poison Control Center, as well as seek medical attention after experiencing pesticide drift.
School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how hemp, a renewable resource, can aid in building zero-carbon homes.
As we continue to watch a zero energy home get built in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado, I’m digging the opportunity to learn more about building materials that I’ve seen in finished form but never in process. I like the
This easy-to-make mosquito-net tent will keep flying critters from bugging you throughout the night.
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.
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.
Celebrate those gardeners and birders in your life by making them homemade holiday gifts this year.
Lazer Z X-Series zero-turn riding mower earns award for innovative RED Technology
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
30 states now working to establish official national bicycle routes, with more states interested — new online map and progress report document growing momentum
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?
Learn how to request your “closed” complete pesticide complaint file from the State agency through the Freedom of Information Act.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
The different emotions you may experience as you deal with Pesticide Drift on your property or your person.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
The environmental advocacy group, Earth Day Network, is rallying environmental activism through a climate rally and a new site where the environmental community can learn about issues and events. Learn more about their efforts and how you can get involved.
You can find great reports from the field and footage of rare bird species at the American Bird Conservancy's Bird News Network. Plus, find tips for winter birding and check out highly entertaining footage of the moonwalking manakin bird.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
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.
Find out what different states are doing to promote power from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
Ventrac unveils the 3400 tractor, the newest sub-compact tractor to their product lineup.
New Platform Revealed at Dealer Road Shows
Full-size, compact, gas or diesel – Kubota Zero-Turns provide operators with innovation and efficiency.
We can create eco-friendly clothing without producing waste. Find out more about zero-waste design and its effect on the fashion industry.
A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on hand. The ceremony took place in a field and the reception was in a barn...and there was love-lots of it!
EU's ban of five chemicals commonly used in building materials will "shake up the industry," Healthy Building Network official predicts.
On Wednesday, Adventure Cycling Association announced that AASHTO is providing Adventure Cycling $5,000 to assist states with route selection and the technical aspects associated with the development of a U.S. Bicycle Route System.
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.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.
A beginning farmer makes the most practical fencing choice available to her: electric nets. And gets tangled up, occasionally.
Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.
Thoughts on managing an event with lots of people and having minimal or no trash.
In New York City, advocates unveil a bold vision to end the traffic violence.
Cub Cadet is known for providing break-through innovations, a reputation supported by the Best Buy rating.
Cam contemplates the amount of energy that goes into our food production and shows how he prepared corn for freezing the zero carbon way!
Chicago has decided to convert its entire garbage truck fleet to electric trucks from Motiv Power Systems, making it the first city in the U.S. to have a zero-emission fleet.
So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
Healthy baby shopping begins with an investigation into nontoxic cribs. Check out these three solid wood options.
Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.