outdoor showers are so fun
Holy cow, I just wrote a blog about cleaning. I really am turning into my mother.
Consider grafting your favorite tomato varieties onto disease-resistant rootstock to foil soilborne diseases.
For super-smooth sorbet, churn this sorrel recipe in an ice cream maker. For a treat just as refreshing but studded with icy crystals, simply stick the mixture in your freezer. Got kids? Freeze this sorbet in freezer pop forms instead.
We enjoy sledding and snowshoeing in the winter as outdoor activities.
Hud-Son Forest Equipment would like to introduce the all new 2012 HFE-21 Homesteader portable sawmill.
Company launches dynamic, new CSR communications portal to provide real-time content and discussion around social and environmental efforts.
"Schav" is a traditional Russian-Eastern European soup of sorrel and potato that is refreshing served cold, and heartening served hot.
These new vehicles may help the environment, but their soundless engines are a threat to the visually impaired, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.
Lemony sorrel is the base for a classic Eastern European soup that's equally good served hot or cold. It's fast, easy and tastes of spring and early summer.
Learn how one person is celebrating her birthday by raising money to bring clean water to those who need it.
Michael Funk's 6,000-square-foot off-the-grid home and retreat center on 1,200 acres in the Sierra Nevadas is an heirloom, handbuilt with reverence for the spectacle that surrounds it. He hopes it will inspire every visitor to preserve the paradise.
Wabi-sabi teaches us appreciation for the good energy and soul that handmade items bring to our homes. Etsy, the premiere source for handcrafted home goods, offers an extensive list of items whose sale will benefit Japanese relief efforts.
Cap off your Hemp History Week celebrations by making hemp soap. Hemp oil contains essential fatty acids and poly-unsaturated fatty acids known for their excellent emollient and lubricating properties.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
The Solar Impulse has made history as the first solar-powered airplane to fly across the North American continent.
Easy sorrel purée and slightly more complicated sorrel sauce are both easy to make but quickly brighten simple dishes.
Discover the tradition of sorghum making.
Musician Ben Sollee has defined the pace and purpose of touring, ditching the van and taking the 2 Mile Challenge.
The Rails-to-Trails Conservancy launches a national campaign aimed at the American Automobile Association.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
Get our expert advice on homemade options for laundry soap.
Heat Holder thermal socks are the perfect gift for dads on the go.
Readers familiar with triple-digit temperatures share their best tips for gardening in the southwest. Get advice about what to plant, when to plant and how to plant if you live in the hottest areas of the country.
Contributing Editor Barbara Pleasant provides tips to help users get the most out of the new MOTHER EARTH NEWS Vegetable Garden Planner. This interactive software will help you plan your best garden ever!
Heat Holders keep in the heat in your feet.
Join the Picnic for the Planet for Earth Day, April 22, to celebrate the planet we live on, its food and the people who live here.
Tips on how to prepare yourself for a day of hiking!
We refer to this Mediterranean side dish as “local” because you can probably find all of the ingredients close to home. Here, sorrel is a perfect local substitute for the lemon juice usually called for in tabbouleh recipes.
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
By analyzing park distribution in the biggest U.S. cities, studies show the long-term benefits — environmental and psychological — of having accessible parks in a city.
Reconstruction on U.S. 36, the highway linking Boulder to Denver, will transform transportation in Colorado and bring more reliable options to commuters.
In the wake of the summer solstice, HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Maine dairy farmer Dyan takes time to appreciate the longest days of the year.
As state transportation officials send billions back to Washington, advocates hope bicyclists and pedestrians aren't left holding the empty bag.
Try to grow some sorrel in your garden this season. It has a unique, zesty flavor that adds a zip to many dishes — and it has a long growing season.
Summit Mosquito Bits®, a popular biological control that kills mos¬quito larvae, is now also approved for the control of fungus gnats.
Some of Cam's best inspirations come to him in his sleep!
A new open-source website helps consumers track where their products come from.
Plant a patio garden, get a more efficient TV and change your light bulbs, suggests eco-designer Sabrina Soto.
Court ruling lifts the ban on sonar testing off the shore of California, much to the chagrin of environmentalists who have long blamed sonar technologies for deaths in aquatic life.
This is the second part of our foray into sourdough baking. Here are tips and insight on sourdough to make working with it even easier.
As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.
Maddy Harland introduces the shrub layer of a forest garden and gives six useful tips for establishing a low maintenance and healthy garden.
Chris Larson's Asheville, North Carolina, home--already a superb example of smart, passive solar design--gets even better with the addition of solar hot water collectors.
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.
Although winter is setting in, that doesn't mean an end to the garden season in desert climates! Get inspired by this beautiful rainwater-harvesting, food-producing desert landscape!
Most people want to contribute to a positive future. But their intention is often obstructed by the things they perceive that they cannot do. In frustration, they stop thinking about it. When we stop thinking about it, we feel a sense of relief. That sense of relief is, perhaps, the biggest threat to the world’s natural environment today.
I surprised myself - maybe I should say, "shocked myself" - when I realized recently that I've developed a new admiration for my own species. Despite what the media reports, sometimes, when we see what we need to do and when we need to do it, we actually follow through.
This week is the 12th annual National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week.
The ‘Kiwi House’ is organized around the primal element of fire.
Tour will highlight food and farming systems in Italy’s northern piedmont region.
Kick toxic chemicals to the curb and make your own natural lotion using just a few ingredients. Making homemade lotion is an easy, fun and creative process.
China’s largest green burial ceremony is part of the growing trend of eco-funerals in a country that is trying to conserve land.
The vegetables and herbs that are still available in our Southeast garden make for delicious, festive and surprisingly varied holiday fare.
When my former boss suggested we photograph my annual summer solstice party, I quietly panicked and then got busy. Borrow some of our ideas and gather your tribe to celebrate the longest day of the year--lavishly or lazily, traditionally or not.
Arthur Bolduc shares his story of experiencing life near an Amish community in Ohio, where he enjoyed the exciting process of sorghum production firsthand.
Susan Abernethy shares this story of helping her husband turn a longstanding tradition of family sorghum harvesting into a small business. Since their marriage in 2004, Susan has enjoyed unraveling the stories of her husband’s sorghum legacy and has inherited a powerful adoration for the hard work it takes to yield the sweet crop.
Today we made sorghum here on our farm in the Ozarks. It's about the best way to spend a beautiful fall day.
Want lettuce and carrots all year round? Ira Wallace tells us her simple simple method for keeping track of succession plantings.
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
Fragrant and round with a tart lemony bite, this Lemonade Watermelon Sorbet Recipe has the flavor and texture of ripe watermelon.
This Pear Sorbet Recipe is a refreshing treat sure to tantalize the senses.
Skip the packaging and synthetic chemicals and learn how to make your own, cold-processed shampoo bars.
Learn how to make soap with Robin Bedford of Possum Hollow Farm Soap.
Try spelt, an ancient grain more easily digested than wheat, in your next loaf of sourdough bread. You'll love it.
Time to plant sorghum in the Ozarks. When do you plant sorghum in your neck of the woods?
Describes two effective alternatives to composting. Many factors can limit the ability to produce compost. These two products offer different but practical ways to organically recycle food scraps.
Madrone uses innovative fabrics and ventilation systems in their new line of outdoor headwear.
With WASHDROPS™, consumers can wash everything from vehicles and patio furniture to aluminum siding, conserve water, a precious resource, and be environmentally responsible.
About five years ago I started experimenting with biochar. I collected charcoal from my wood stove, crushed it in a tough plastic bag with the car and charged it by soaking it in compost tea.
Taking time to just have fun and enjoy life in the face of serious living.
Fun is where you find it, in this case it is a hay ride for the family along our trail.
A short a story about our very first ice fishing and snowmobile ride.
Don't throw away the Peeps left at the bottom of your Easter basket. They're the building blocks of many good projects.
A recent Gallop poll concludes there is a big significance difference betwen what scientists and the general public know about climate change. This posting discusses two basic facts about climate change that can't be refuted.
This is amazing! Pairing sourdough with beer and wine, 10-ince pancakes, what next? We're taking sourdough to the next level for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Discover the difference between baking soda and baking powder, and learn when to use which leavening agent.
This ancient beverage has provided a nutritious, naturally-caffeinated boost for centuries and a new carbon-subtracting brand benefits the earth and consumers alike.
A profile of Japanese and American persimmons, excellent trees for the deep south.
As tropical plants go, pineapples are one of the easiest to grow.
Can’t grow temperate berries? Jump into the tropics with these seven amazing fruits.
Learn why making soap doesn't have to be as intimidating as it may sound. Katherine from Bramble Berry chats with an Herb Companion editor.
How to avoid contacting poison ivy and poison oak.
From a home built into a cliff to a home built out from laundry soap boxes, these homes prove how fun and satisfying it is to push the conventional edge. It's your house. Create whatever you want.
Carrotmob, a project of Virgance, a company that organizes activism campaigns, works to create social change by rewarding green businesses through consumer buying. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains more about this innovative activism group.
Want more MOTHER EARTH NEWS? You can find us on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, plus check out the MOTHER EARTH NEWS forums or contact us directly. There are many fun ways to get to know and get involved with the MOTHER EARTH NEWS community. Read to find out more.
Contributing editor Barbara Pleasant explains how night crawlers and other worms can improve the structure of your garden soil, and how to attract them by using piles of compost and mulch.
Uruguay has authorized industrial hemp cultivation on an experimental basis. The South American country’s officials want to know how the crop responds to Uruguayan soil and its productive capacities before authorizing nationwide cultivation.
This fresh spring soup is rich and creamy without the heaviness of cream.
Here are some simple ideas for making a superb soup stock.
Soup swaps are a great way to fill your freezer with real food.
Open to the public, the Seed Savers Exchange Conference and Campout is ideal for those interested in sharing seed-saving and gardening experience or learning from the more seasoned and those involved in current plant breeding and propagating research.
Growing sorghum is the first step to making sweet sorghum syrup, but are there other reasons for growing a crop of sorghum?
Tulikivi provides a “green” cost-effective heating solution because it uses less wood to heat the same space than with a traditional wood burner.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
Ira takes us on a winter garden tour of the experimental gardens at Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. She describes the various experimental cold frames for winter gardening and winter starts. Includes a winter recipe for Sweet Potato Leek Soup.
Don't let summer berries go to waste! Rev up your recipe collection with sorbets, vinegars and even berry wine! Your berries will be the star of the season!
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.
Mankind has a historic opportunity to visualize its own future, and the future of the planet
For almost two decades, the Archangel Ancient Tree Archive group has done what the experts said was impossible. Namely, they have taken DNA from over 70 of the most magnificent trees on the planet; have cloned thousands of individuals from this original DNA and are actively re-planting/re-foresting these champion trees.
How far along are your tomatoes? Ira Wallace gets inspired by gorgeous gardens in Asheville, North Carolina, and shares a quick, easy recipe for tomato sauce.
Join us in fighting the threat of GMOs: California's Right to Know (Prop 37) for GMO labeling leads the nation, and the Southern Exposure lawsuit against Monsanto continues to push through the courts. Plus, fall gardening can be easier than summer!
Hints for harvests all summer long - don't just sow once! Ira helps you plan summer successions for your garden. Plus, discover culinary secrets of okra you never suspected - okra coffee and okra oil - and a recipe for a simple okra lunch.
Ira Wallace covers developments in the lawsuit to protect your right to save seeds and how to take action against GMO contamination of the food supply. Also, choose the right onions for your garden and learn what to sow in January.
It's mid-February, time to start thinking about spring! Ira Wallace helps us make our garden plan, remember our perennials, and Plant a Row for the Hungry this year.
Southern Exposure celebrates Slow Food's Terra Madre Day with a fresh winter greens salad, featuring yacon, a South American root vegetable that tastes like fresh pear! Plus garden planning to have your own farm fresh food through the winter.
Ira Wallace talks about heirloom grinding corns that provide resilience and sustenance to gardener interested in self reliance. Includes a recipe for Southern style cornbread muffins.
At the gardens of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, we're preparing to plant sweet potato slips, hardening off transplants, and enjoying an abundance of spring cabbage. Learn tips and tricks for getting your transplants ready for the great outdoors.
Ira helps you get started using nature's signs to plan your garden. Don't just rely on planting dates — easy observations of what's blooming, buzzing, and singing in your garden will help you see changing patterns from year to year.
Sweet, healthy, root vegetables that love growing through the heat of summer? Learn about adding Jerusalem artichokes, yacon, and sweet potatoes to your gardens. Plus, more on the incredible health benefits of roselle (hibiscus).
Ira Wallace inspires us to create flowering, native plant habitat in our gardens. Learn how to identify plants that are 'user-friendly' to the bugs that help keep our gardens healthy.
A tour of the gardens at Southern Exposure, where we're taking advantage of warm sunny days in February to get our gardens ready for intense planting ahead. But there's still plenty to sow, indoors and out.
Host a community seed swap in honor of "National Seed Swap Day," plan to save your own seeds from the garden this year, and get inspired to cook creatively with winter vegetables.
We're getting revved up for winter seed swaps, and planning our tomato plantings to account for all the great tasting events next summer and fall. Find out how to find your own local events, or host your own!
Cole takes you through the first steps in learning to cut your own meat - sourcing.
So here's an idea - why not take existing technology and build a DIY diesel electric pickup truck? Is it even possible? I think it is, but I'll need your help!
I have know Mark for years. Since I have known him (give or take a few years or so) Seiden asked me what were the best ways to go green and save energy at the same time. Then two years ago, we started with CFL bulbs. Now I'm trying to get him to go LED and get really green lighting in effect. In time. In time.
Trying to interpret and understand scientific reports and their failure to come to a consensus.
Green is Universal and Etsy's The Art of Reuse Contest is a gold mine for DIY home project ideas. My favorite pays homage to Audrey Hepburn's ahead-of-its-time sofa made from an old clawfoot bathtub in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
You could spend a fortune on flowers from faraway for Mom--but why? This sweet bouquet made from fresh-picked flowers and flea market finds is cuter than anything FTD could deliver. This one's great for weddings and graduation parties, too.
To give your bedroom a boost, consider new paint suited to your personality. AFM Safecoat's Ayurveda Essence line allows you to choose colors based on your dosha, or personality type, within Ayurveda, the ancient Indian medicinal system.
This is a beginner's guide to getting started with sourdough bread making. With directions on how to make your own starter, or where to order some, this will get you on your way towards making some delicious breads, biscuits, pancakes or waffles.
Despite the worldwide increase in environmentally friendly lifestyles, the United States still ranks as one of the least eco-friendly consumer societies. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence shares ways to green your habits.
The only practical means of creating abundance in our world requires examining the ratio between our capacities and our desires. Our capacities can be measured. Our desires can, presumably, be adjusted to fit within our capacities. And if we fit our desires within our capacities with some room left over then abundance is possible.
The highest goal of politics might be to instill a sense of fairness in society, since that sense of fairness promotes tranquility, productivity and prosperity. The cooperation that undergirds a healthy society — the social contract — is based on a sense of fairness. Without it, a society is unhealthy and unproductive and, ultimately, ceases to exist. As the next big challenges facing our species will be global challenges, considering fairness from a global perspective will be one key to creating true sustainability.
If we need a vision for a sustainable future then we need a lot of people to contribute their own ideas and energy to forming and realizing that vision. If we are to attract the energy of millions of people to the task, then we must start with beauty in the frame.
Fairness and repeatability share this essential value: They can be visualized today, even when sustainability cannot. If we make fairness and repeatability part of our criteria for decisions today, they contribute to sustainability in the long-term even if they don’t provide permanent solutions.
Here are three easy Easter basket items for you to make. Children can act as helpers, or you can surprise them. Make rainbow crayons, mini soaps and bath bombs.
Michael Johnathon is a folksinger, songwriter, author and playwright. He also created and hosts the weekly national broadcast of the WoodSongs Old-Time Radio Hour, heard on over 509 public radio stations, American Forces Radio network in 173 nations. In this blog, Michael muses on discovering the joys of folk music and songwriting.
On a snowy winter morning, the kitchen table becomes the grand cathedral of a home. It is the place of family, song, wood fires, community and love as we wait for spring.
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
Delicious latkes made with potatoes and Jerusalem artichokes are tasty and nutritious.
NaturalNews readers overwhelmingly chose Monsanto as the world's Most Evil Corporation.
Making homemade sour cream and cream cheese is easier than you might think. Try these two simple recipes.
What exactly is water kefir soda? Well, I describe it as pop that makes you forgo buying cans from the store, all while making your tummy happy. The experts call it a “probiotic beverage made with kefir grains that consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship.”
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.
Crafted of the company’s signature recycled lumber, POLYWOOD, the new Surf City collection will offer contemporary styling with a mixed lumber and metal design.
You'll love Anne Mendelson's recipe for the delicious cold beet soup from Poland known as chlodnik litewski.
A profile of the wonderfully tough loquat tree.
A look at the wonderful mulberry tree.
Taking a new look at non-native invasives, such as wild yams.
If spring is giving you peas, it's best to eat them right away before their sugars degrade. Here's how to whip them up into a wonderful spring soup.
In the long term, using recycled tire planters or rubber mulch in your garden can cause problems. Here's why.
A quality product made in the USA
Cam is amazed at the level of awareness concerning Peak Oil amongst today's youth.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
Bring some spring into your life. Sprinkle some wheat grass seeds in an old apothecary jar and watch them grow.
Anecdotal evidence from coast to coast indicates that Americans have had enough of granite countertops and whirlpool tubs. They want smaller homes with green finishes instead.
To counteract life's stresses and strains, to slow down the pace of life, stop and smell the roses...or any flower. In the absence of flowers, you'll find another way to bring a smile to your face, the songs of birds.
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.
Proper insulation pays long term dividends.
Cute just got a whole lot more profound. This stylish business deals a right hook for justice.
A question about our future.
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.
Seth Leitman explains why social media, websites and crowd funding are essential tools for green businesses to survive today.
Find garlic seed stock for growing garlic.
As organic industry leaders urge consumers to take action against GMOs--the biggest threat the industry faces this year--soapmaker David Bronner gives $25,000 to seed an anti-GMO march on Capitol Hill.
Going meatless is a breeze when corn is at its late-summer best and the garden is bursting with squashes. Southwestern calabacitas is a delicious, hearty summer stew that makes the most of this bountiful season.
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.
Progress in the straw bale and wooden cold frames, delicious Kim Chee recipes for winter harvested Chinese cabbage and winter radishes, and an update from the Lawns 2 Lettuce 4 Lunch program in Arlington, VA.
No party is complete without cake, and this delicious Sunshine Cake has been the crowning glory of every Summer Solstice party I’ve ever thrown. Sharon Kebschull Barrett, one of my favorite herbal chefs, developed this recipe for her 1999 book Desserts from an Herb Garden (one of my bibles). Lemony, with a surprising hint of rosemary, this cake just tastes like summer—and the bright yellow color celebrates the sun.
I recently spent the weekend in Tennessee to attend the NSSPPA Conference and yearly meeting to meet other sorghum makers and learn more about the process. I came away with new techniques, different seed varieties and a feeling of camaraderie with the other producers.
Sorghum memories have been shared with me from across the nation. It has been a pleasure to connect with readers as they lend their own (or family members) connections and experiences with this wonderful community building craft.
Sharing and using sorghum, whether made by your hands or someone elses, molds memories of people and places.
When you live in the country, and there is a task at hand that requires instant action, that's when it's time to improvise!
Here are instructions for making a quick and easy batch of stained glass soap. Once you get the basics down you can make all sorts of unusual and beautiful embedded soap to give as gifts or enjoy for yourself.
Making a batch of homemade soap for family use can be done quickly and simply.
Renowned sportsman and conservationist Beau Turner is bringing his knowledge and unique talents exclusively to Sportsman Channel, the leader in outdoor TV for the American Sportsman, with the debut of his new original series, Beau Knows Outdoors.
Late summer's hot days give way to cool nights--perfect for sleeping under the stars. Spend a few nights outside, before it's too late.
Soy-free, mushroom-based Quorn frozen products offer convenience without sacrificing a healthy diet.
A scientists who has studied plant pathogens for more than 50 years warns that Roundup Ready crops could cause "a general collapse of our critical agricultural infrastructure."
Monsanto, the world’s largest producer of genetically modified seeds and the toxic herbicides used to drench them, is calling itself a supporter of sustainability. You’re kidding, right?
ASES released a report that says 37 million green jobs are possible by 2030. Check out the study here!
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.
Come rejoice in the bounty of heirloom tomatoes - experience the flavors and choose your favorites at tomato tastings throughout the Southeast. Plus, it's time to plant fall alliums - garlic and perennial onions - and fall crops for winter storage!
It may be sweltering hot outside, but we're still busily sowing seeds at the Southern Exposure farms! Learn how to plant your bountiful fall and winter garden, with abundant harvests through Thanksgiving and beyond.
A reader inquires about the best fertilizer to work on anything you might grow.
A soil fertility expert shares his advice on using wood ashes as garden fertilizer.
Abundant moisture and soil acidity are major factors in the growth of moss. There's nothing wrong with moss in your strawberry beds, but here's a tip on how to get more flavorful fruit.
It's true, under the right circumstances, livestock grazing does help build healthy soil. Here's how it works.
Peat moss can help improve soil, but it can be expensive and its production can hurt the environment. Find out whether or not you should use it in your garden.
Outdoor kitchens, dining areas and living rooms are a great way to expand your home's living space. Designers offer advice on how to make the most of the great outdoors--in your own backyard.
Get a glimpse of some of the unique exhibitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
In less than a month, Citi Bike – New York’s public bicycle option – has taken the streets of Manhattan and Brooklyn by storm. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated bike share program already has its share of haters.
Three U.S. regional beekeeping associations offer much to beekeepers at any skill level and experience. Beeyard adventures, workshops, lectures, honey shows, and the chance to meet hundreds of likemined individuals await you here.
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.
This is a true account of an end of life journey. A beautiful backyard Burial and all the steps that were taken in order to do it. This story is written in two parts, part two will be posted next week.
Finding a company from an advertisement in Mother Earth News and how it benefited us. .
Save the date for the Polyface Farm "Save Your Bacon" event.
Incorporating charcoal into the soil helped Amazonian farmers grow better crops, and its new industrial version is promoted as a panacea for both agriculture and the global climate. Those claims are not realistic.
Tackling the GMO issue is a priority for food activists, but there are a number of perspectives on how to go about it. The Great GMO Debate will help you decide how and who should inform consumers about what biotech ingredients are lurking in their food.
Rancho Margo in Costa Rica's Arenal district is a self-sufficient farm and intentional community that sends guests home with a new sense of what's possible in sustainable living.
This small project could gain you big time savings. Simply screw a few hooks inside a pretty cigar box, give it a knob and hang it near the door. Never search for lost keys again!
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
Once a barren wasteland destroyed-like much of Costa Rica's land--by decades of cattle ranching, Rancho Margot is now a verdant and productive paradise. Find out how the Sostheim family has accomplished this in just seven years.
Resist popping tabs this season and get familiar with the ultimate cola cure: soda syrups made from fresh fruits and herbs.
Take control of your food with a return to the kitchen, and learn to love the time you spend there cooking with your family.
The author figures out how to make matzoh balls, a comfort food from her childhood, without matzoh.
A basic, but oh so good, soup recipe that anyone can make.
Small pumpkins or squash make great individual bowls for serving these easy soups.
Ten easy-to-make homemade soup recipes from Eating Well magazine that are suitable for any occasion.
A healthy comfort food!
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
Friends and I travel to the Open Source Ecology project in rural Missouri to take a tour and help out laying up earth bricks.
Using the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, technique and a few changes, you can produce a sourdough olive oil/rosemary type bread that is just heavenly.
This is a simple beginning recipe to use your sourdough starter to make biscuits. These biscuits will definitely have the sourdough "tang" associated with these breads.
BioSafe Systems, LLC is the manufacturer of sustainable and environmentally responsible disease control solutions.
Let’s break down the soap-making process and start scrubbin’ with homemade bars!
Goat School needs a class room, visit our Kickstarter project and enjoy our video of Goat School!
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
USDA-organic personal care line now styled after Dr. Bronner’s iconic castile soap label.
What’s with glycerin? It’s a soap-making byproduct with antibacterial properties, but it’s often made with animal fat derivatives, which isn’t really our thing. So, we figured out how to make our own veggie version with coconut oil, opening up a whole world of kitchen pantry beauty concoctions.
A list of links to orgs, associations, websites, books, and other resources related to local economies, community resilience, green business, corporate social responsibility, green jobs, environmental and social entrepreneurship, and investment.
Managing compost now allows for more productive use the following season.
Who would have ever thought that worms could invade a forest and wreak havoc?
Tips on how you can reduce your exposure to radon in your home.
The new 'Back to Eden' film, the first-ever documentary devoted to mulch, explores how using wood chip mulch builds soil fertility.
Here are some good options for free, weed-free mulches.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and West Missouri farmer Bryce Oates shares his approach to improving soil health and preparing a soil microbe brew.
Nitrogen-fixing winter cover crops can save you money on fertilizer next year.
Using wood ash in the garden can be beneficial for raising the soil pH of your garden soil. These tips will help you know when to use wood ash in the garden.
Spending a day having fun prospecting for gold, enjoying the outdoors, exploring a ghost town and the high mountains.
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.
Getting ready for Goat School is always a daunting task, but once all of our new friends start arriving, we get excited! What a great time learning all about goats!
Goat School is over for a few months, and now the routine will be a little more normal! Great questions were asked at Goat School and some of those answers are shared.
Whip up this delicious vegetable-based soup tonight. You'll never miss the chicken.
French Onion Soup au Gratin is a delicious, elegant soup, hearty enough for a meal in itself. Using your own homemade beef broth, you can create this soup for your family to enjoy at home.
A perfectly ripe heirloom tomato is one of the great joys of summer, here are some tips for organizing your own heirloom tomato party.
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
Killing frosts are arriving, but Ira's staying self-sustaining all winter, with winter-hardy greens and plenty in storage, from sweet potatoes to pickled peppers. Get inspired with ideas for kimchi and a fresh twist on winter salads, with yacon.
What feels like a beautiful, crisp fall day more than a gingersnap? Here's a tried-and-true sorghum cookie recipe.
Irma Epps talks about making sorghum during the '30s and '40s and her father's love of the sweet substance.
There is a coming resurgence of the appreciation of the hearty homespun sorghum syrup. Something is special about being part of making this “home-made” sugar that speaks to the self-reliant nature inside all of us. You can be part of the Sorghum Revival!
Make these tasty and chewy caramels. They are a festive treat that takes on a homespun flavor with the addition of Sorghum.
Sangria is the perfect summertime libation for a thirsty crowd. Fresh fruits and herbs combine with wine and liqueur for a colorful, festive "punch" that packs a punch.
A doctor, soldier, father and husband died tragically in a bicycle crash. Now, justice is being served as the driver faces a reckless homicide charge.
An innovative partnership of bicycle advocates and a bike-friendly attorney aims to reduce crashes in South Carolina.
Folksinger Michael Johnathon is on tour nationwide. Visit his homepage: www.MichaelJohnathon.com
Don’t miss these featured documentaries showing on PBS’s Earth Day programming.
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.
As the world's demand for electricity continues to climb so will the need for new power plants. We need to decide what will be the fuel of the future for these plants. The choice boils down to conventional versus renewable sources.
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
The 2011 report focuses on the Garden Effect and Payback-if-sold. The Garden Effect is the estimated increase in a property’s market value as a result of having beautiful landscaping.
Third party study proves Yamaha’s longstanding claim of most durable CVT transmission.
The new sub-compact tractor line offers “max performance, versatility and value.”
You can use your ATV to smooth your driveway with this new grader attachment.
Kubota reinforces tractor and heavy equipment safety for the whole family.
Fall may be turning to winter, but there’s still time to enjoy those last sunny days before the harsh chill settles in.
Cam has been playing with and skating on thick ice lately.
Bread! hits the water on Lake Ontario while taking a week long sailing course. The Rosemary Olive Oil Sourdough was featured for dinner.
This blog is called Breadcrumbs, because it brings together a diverse set of topics, including the patron saint of bread, sourdough, starters, yeasts, and a recipe for corn pancakes.
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?
Rancho Margot in Costa Rica is completely off the grid and constantly closing the circle. Nothing is wasted on this self-sufficient ranch, where everything is considered a resource--including methane from the compost ovens.
If you often find yourself in need of lumber for various homestead projects, consider a small, portable sawmill to cut your own lumber. Portable milling equipment makes it possible for you to create dimensioned lumber for all kinds of DIY projects. The videos below show the versatility of portable sawmills in action. You will also discover tips to assist with assembly.
Cycle Oregon in support of tree research and education.
How we have taken measures to mitigate and reduce our wildfire exposure.
Dealing with a government agency to save a creek.
It has been fifteen months since heritage breed hog farmer Mark Baker sued the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to stop the implementation of an invasive species order (ISO). The swine ISO supposedly targeted feral swine but could be applied to any domestic pig not raised in confinement. Baker has yet to have his day in court and it is still not settled when his trial will take place. It is common for lawsuits like this to turn into wars of attrition; the state has virtually unlimited resources while the farmers are bled of theirs over the course of the litigation.
The Mother Earth News Fair staff and volunteers work on green initiatives to divert Fair waste from landfills, recycling and composting as much as possible.
Gary Chang's brilliant solution to making a 330-square-foot apartment work for his family was to create a sliding wall system that can be configured into 24 different rooms. You have to see this one to believe it.
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
The different emotions you may experience as you deal with Pesticide Drift on your property or your person.
The Department of Natural Resources seeks to fine a family for possession of prohibited swine.
The week-long STIHL Tour des Trees is an international cycling tour combining natural beauty, camaraderie and fundraising for the benefit of urban trees.
Here's a hearty, creamy soup perfect in the winter. It's a delicious way to use any squash or pumpkin you may have frozen or put up in the fall.
This Melon Gazpacho Recipe is a wonderfully refreshing version of the classic chilled soup. Chilled melon soup is a perfect complement to spicy food in the summertime.
Cooking with shallots is easy when you substitute them for onions. Our French Shallot Soup Recipe has a mild, garlicky twist that’s milder than the traditional version of this classic soup.
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
Cam finds getting around in the country, especially in the winter, so much easier with his 4X4 truck.
Cam appreciates the simple things like rotten hay and beautiful vegetables from his garden.
Use autumn's bounty of fallen leaves to expand your garden, protect your plants and improve your soil.
Now is a great time to sow a cover crop or two that will enrich your garden soil over the winter.
Garden soil left exposed in winter is easily damaged by compaction, erosion and leaching. Use mulches or cover crops to safeguard and build your soil during the winter months.
If you've added too much nitrogen fertilizer to your garden this expert advice can help you figure out how to correct the mistake.
This photographic illustration shows how permanent gardens beds are beneficial, and prevent soil compaction.
It's easy to overlook how useful grass clippings can be, but early fall is a great time to collect this valuable 'yard waste' to use in your garden as mulch.
In July and August, it’s time to start thinking about planting crops for fall. But how do you get good seed germination when the soil is so hot?
A new federal tax on soda and other sugary beverages has been suggested as a way to pay for part of the major overhaul of the U.S. health-care system proposed by the Obama administration. What do you think of the proposed soda tax?
With just three ingredients and two simple steps, you can clear away germs and freshen your home's air to welcome spring.
My grandmother taught me everything I need to know about keeping my house clean--without chemicals.
You may want to think twice the next time you reach for that cola. A recent study has found that one can of soda a day can increase chances of prostate cancer by 40 percent.
Get your St. Patrick's day celebration off to a great start with this wholemeal, authentic, Irish Wholemeal Bread.
Make your own “ginger bug” and natural soda from nothing more than ginger root, sugar, water, and fruit juice. The ginger bug, soda starter culture of healthy bacteria, consumes the natural sugars present in fruit juice and causes carbonation to make a fun experiment and soda pop you don’t need to be afraid to give your children.
Because it could cause eye and skin irritation and harm reproductive systems, the Environmental Working Group recommends avoiding it. Baking soda is a solid, safe alternative.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers recently named dishwashing formula as their most desired DIY cleaner, so we’ve rounded up some easy and inexpensive dish de-griming recipes for your automatic dishwasher or for washing by hand.
Save money and have a healthier home with these ideas for assembling your own green cleaning tool kit. Plus, get our recipe for Lemon-Mint Window Wash.
Solar panels are strong enough to resist damage from most hail. But if you live in an area where large hail is common, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
Student teams prepare to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy hosted, fourth biyearly Solar Decathlon, where they will be judged on the overall quality of their solar-powered homes.
The Appalachian State University team will be blogging about their progress on the solar home they are building for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
Bikes Belong needs your pledge to show the public, policymakers and the media that one million Americans want better policy and funding to promote bicycling.
We have developed two customized search engines that make it easier to locate companies that offer specific varieties of seeds and plants, as well as organic garden products and tools.
This DIY washing powder is simple to make, costs just pennies and smells heavenly.
Part II of a tutorial on how to make cold-process soap. The directions are intended for the absolute beginner and use easy-to-locate materials.
Part I of a two-part tutorial on how to make soap for the absolute beginner. Readers will assemble materials and prepare the mold this week in anticipation of combining the ingredients to make a batch of cold-process soap.
Have you ever considered using lard to make soap? It is easy to locate, inexpensive, and has a long history as a soap-making staple. This recipe adds a few extras to improve the conditioning qualities of traditional lard soap.
Highlights from the catalog of Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, by the editor in chief of Mother Earth News.
To better accommodate the planting schedule of gardeners in the southern United States, California’s Natural Gardening Company will make a dozen varieties of tomato transplants available by mid-August.
Turn low value plastic trash into valuable building blocks with a $300 homemade press. Free plans for a hand operated press are available. A mechanized version could be made by converting a log splitter.
There's nothing like an old cookbook filled with good recipes to warm your kitchen and your home!
Noxious fumes aren’t conducive to happy cleaning. Give all your homemade cleaning solutions an invigorating and healthy boost by adding a few drops of pure plant essential oils such as lavender or lemon. Heavenly!
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.
BPA levels in families who ate fresh rather than canned and packaged food dropped by 60 percent, a study found. Cooking at home with fresh food is the best way to avoid this potentially dangerous chemical
The Camping Accessory People expand their already extensive product line.
The Orvis Company believes that if we are to benefit from the use of our natural resources, we must commit to protecting them.
Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.
Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.
Avid 4-wheeling enthusiast shares his most important advice for protecting yourself outdoors.
ECHO Bear Cat is pleased to introduce the 2” SC2170 Chipper/Shredder to its line of outdoor power equipment.
The new FSA 65 and FSA 85 grass trimmers, the latest products available for the 36-volt STIHL Lithium-Ion battery technology system, deliver fuel savings, time savings and environmental benefits for gasoline-free trimming applications.
New Internet Presence Offers Users Simple, Value-based Experience
Worksaver, Inc. introduces new clamp-on snow blades, ideal for compact tractors with non-quick attach buckets.
New Platform Revealed at Dealer Road Shows
Husqvarna has issued the Ethanol Challenge in order to provide the tools for consumers to gain awareness about ethanol.
Sawing their own lumber enables home owners to fulfill their dreams.
Company announces plans for expanded production with Menlo and launch of Innovation Center at NPCC property.
Joplin’s one-year, post-tornado milestone to be marked with neighborhood tree planting, community beautification led by national equipment manufacturers, Vermeer Corporation and Kubota Tractor Corporation
Kubota partners with the Propane Education & Research Council to offer $1,000 purchase incentive on its ZP330, delivering ‘green’ performance and more ‘green’ in your pocket.
Mahindra USA leads in several survey categories and ranks among top three overall.
Choose smarter features for better results.
ECHO Bear Cat is excited to announce that is has met the required guidelines to attain certification on the manufacture of its outdoor power equipment by the National Association of Trailer Manufactures (NATM).
Two new models of pull behind cutters for use with tractors.
Investments in lawnmower fabrication processes save more than 310 tons of steel annually.
Do you love showing off your FarmTek products? Think you're using them in a unique and interesting way? FarmTek would love to see!
You can make these outdoor chairs for less than $80 by recycling a whiskey barrel and using a few other supplies from your workshop.
You can make a simple bench for the garden or patio by recycling an old headboard.
As everyone gathers around this campfire this fall, unite this variety of flavors into one savory skillet that will be enjoyed by all.
When it's cold outside, who doesn't love a cozy fireplace or woodstove? Wood heat is a comfortable way to warm your home, and there are many reasons it's a practical choice, too.
Simran Sethi enjoys the fruits of late summer at a local farm dinner.
Natural beauty is priceless. We can take in and appreciate a great view because we don’t have any hope of owning it, and we can’t manipulate it. With our egos out of the way, we can learn to simply observe.
The U.S. Forest Service began hosting roundtable discussions on March 29 (continuing until May 12) to give citizens the opportunity to voice their opinions on the future management of national forests.
Nokero International has been awarded the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s ‘Patents for Humanity’ award.
Admirals Alternatives make it easier to obtain renewable energy systems for your home.
Passive Houses use only 5 percent of heating energy compared to traditional houses.
On a wintry Sunday morning, I can’t think of much I’d rather do than settle in at the kitchen table with a cup of fresh coffee and read the big, fat Sunday New York Times.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a way to double electricity from solar cells by using dyed glass.
Admirals Bank opens Renewable Energy Lending Business Development Center in San Francisco.
The GateMate, by Cartell, has the lowest current draw in standby than any other free exit system on the market.
Highlights from the "Make Your Own Green Cleaners--for Pennies" workshop at the Mother Earth News Fair: How to use vinegar and baking soda to clean just about everything.
You can get your whole house fresh and shiny clean with just five ingredients: lemons, vinegar, baking soda, tea tree oil and salt.
A new company has redesigned the typical shape of solar panels to be more three-dimensional.
Here are the pros and cons of using south facing windows for home heating, rather than solar collectors.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver today, I heard Home Depot Foundation CEO Fred Wacker say that the nonprofit sector is so far ahead of the profit sector in addressing healthy homes that it’s embarrassing for the profit sector.
I heard Ellen Tohn of Tohn Environmental Strategies say that the government will fund energy-efficiency updates in 1 million homes in the next year, making it paramount that energy workers understand healthy home principles. Poorly done house tightening could trap residents inside with contaminants and create hazards.
And I was pleased to hear health care pioneer Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, put quality housing in the same arena as diet, exercise and public policy as a key to achieving individual health. “If you don’t have healthy housing, I don’t care how many times you push away from the table or how far you walk, you’re not going to be healthy,” he said.
In Simran Sethi's final post, she describes her philosophy on sustainability.
Expert advice on adding single nutrients, such as Epsom salts, to your garden and house plants.
We produce wonderful, organically approved soil products for the independent garden centers.
Here are some ways we use natural materials to improve our garden and orchards.
Tips on how to control soil erosion and help protect one of Earth's most important natural resources.
This passive composting system creates beds of fertile soil through rotational composting.
Today we officially celebrate Earth Day, but we can celebrate healthy soil and all that it contributes to our lives every day.
Using leaves in the garden will boost the soil’s organic matter.
We raise broiler chickens from hatchlings for a 4-H fair project every summer. This is a fun, managable project that provides us with some fresh poultry meat as well.
Chicken soup is nutritious and delicious! Starting with a homegrown chicken, stewed to make a wonderful broth (giving the soup extra depth of flavor), and coupled with home-made egg noodles; this is a comfort that can't be beat!
Stretching one's food dollar is an important issue in today's life. So is nutrition. Here, learn how to make healthy, nutritious soup and bread for lunch or supper economically. You might even come to love winter just to have soup and bread!
Reconnecting with family photos and important papers may seem like small change in the wake of the tornadoes' massive devastation in the Southeast last week. But what if it were the last surviving photo of your mother?
Review of The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Southeast, a new book written by Ira Wallace.
The final in a 6 part series on Ft. Garland, Colorado
Kingtec K25Z-4 will not only cut the spiralling out of control energy demand from the power-hungry air-conditioning unit of the world but it can also cut a struggling families electric bill significantly.
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
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.
After a five month struggle, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved a program called GoSolarSF, making solar installations more affordable for its citizens.
Take this quiz from How Stuff Works and learn more about how solar panels produce electricity.
Without federal subsidies, the future of solar power looks grim. Fortunately, the Obama administration is giving solar a boost with four new large-scale solar projects.
Here’s how to find good background information on residential solar energy systems, including locating solar installers and finding advice on particular products.
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
QSolar Limited today announced that it has introduced its' new Kristal and Kristal Rainbow range of semi-transparent and colour semi-transparent solar panels.
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.
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.
Find out how to enter our Solar Giveaway.
Team Germany takes first place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in second and Team California in third.
Let It Shine by John Perlin highlights the context in which solar energy developments have occurred and the people who have made the solar revolution possible, revealing a whole new group of unknown technological pioneers, as well as people famous for other accomplishments never before known for their work as the solar advocates and technologists they were.
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.
As the importance of solar architecture grew, the southern aspect took on great stature in Chinese life. Ancient wisdom associated the south with fire and warmth, while the north came to be synonymous with winter and somberness. The Emperor facing south therefore shuns darkness and embraces enlightenment to govern. The Chinese to this day prefer a southern orientation for housing.
Here are three of the season’s brightest and cleanest gifts for a greener holiday celebration.
Learn about advertising-induced fear of an innocuous, food-grade substance, vinegar. Plus, get interesting information about vinegar being used for bioremediation of extremely dangerous chemicals.
Capable of moving a host of materials: snow, aggregate materials, livestock feed and silage.
Funds will go to Honored American Veterans Afield and Feed The Children organizations.
Now, when one tumbler is full and ready to start cooking, there is another tumbler ready to take in the raw compost.
Cub Cadet is known for providing break-through innovations, a reputation supported by the Best Buy rating.
Put your riding mower to work!
A new smaller utility trailer for your all-purpose ATV.
Grasshopper announces a new online tool designed to calculate fuel costs and impacts of commercial mowing equipment.
Bobcat Company introduces 3-point tiller implements for the Toolcat 5610 utility work machine and the full line of compact tractors.
With new powerful engine options, more safety features, enhanced technology and easy, comfortable handling, the 4500 will soon become a customer favorite in Ventrac’s lineup.
Red Brand Fence (manufactured by Keystone Steel and Wire), recently received an award for their recycling initiatives by their industry peers.
Set up a washing station in your garden. Rinse your veggies there, saving the water for the garden and keeping your kitchen clean.
Steve shares current results and recommendations from his 20 years of observing and applying deck finishing products and techniques.
This simple, chilled Spanish soup featuring fresh summer herbs--basil, cilantro and parsley--in a cool, tangy tomato base is sure to be a hit at your Fourth of July picnic.
Find the right type of insulation for a Solar Heat Grabber from MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
AC solar panels are an intriguing new idea on the PV market. The panels themselves still produce DC, but each panel would come with its own attached micro-inverter, which converts the DC to AC.
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
This simple, low-tech method of disinfecting water with solar energy can be a lifesaver when safe drinking water isn't available.
Check out this dramatic short movie.
New York makes a plan to increase solar power as part of an aggressive energy policy.
In the United States, renewable energy is growing, but we still don't get very much of our electricity from renewable sources. How can we speed things up?
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.
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.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
Try these DIY methods to help warm up a cold basement.
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
MIT researchers announced a breakthrough that could ultimately make it much cheaper and easier to store solar energy.
Here's another reason to love solar panels and wind turbines: They're great tools for providing power to people who wouldn't otherwise have electricity at home.
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.
Patty Bouillon started a Facebook group to connect tornado victims with photos after she found an ultrasound photo among the debris swept in by last month's tornadoes. Her account is heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time
Humanure management for maximum nutrient secuestration and minimum resource loss.
We wade through deep snow to trim limbs and cut dead trees and nothing goes to waste.
Taking care of compost is essential to healthy soil and good food.
Describes hopeful developments toward healthful soil and a safer climate.
At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .
This posting discusses how deforestation increases global warming and ocean acidification. It also discusses the role of deforestation in triggering severe flooding,aquifer depletion, soil degradation and animal and plant extinction.
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
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.
The New York Times reports our carbon emissions in 2011 were the highest on record. Reduce your family's carbon footprint by choosing vegetarian recipes such as Fennel and Leek Soup and Delicata Squash Stuffed with Wild Mushrooms and Herbs.
Inspired by back-to-the-landers Scott and Helen Nearing, Kate NaDeau grows her own food and enjoys the simple pleasures of seasonal living in her handbuilt stone cottage in Maine. She is the epitome of good wabi-sabi living.
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.
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.
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!
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.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
If you've been wondering how to dehrydrate tomatoes, look no further! We've compiled step-by-step instructions on solar dehydrating tomatoes, complete with photos from our own experience drying veggies in the solar dryer at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS office.
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will place solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
There are a growing number of small, solar-powered gadgets for sale including solar flashlights, radios, cell phone chargers, outdoor motion lights and more. Are you using any of these small solar products? Do you find them useful? Tell us what you think!
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.
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
One of the easiest ways to bask and rejoice in the gifts of nature is to make and use a solar wall heater.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
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.
National Solar Tour couldn't have more perfect timing.
Share your opinion: Are you contemplating installing a solar-electric panel for your home?
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
Let's take a trip back into the Mother Earth News archive to learn more about thin-film solar.
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.
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
Yes, you can make your own solar panels, but it won’t necessarily save you much money compared with buying commercial solar panels.
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.
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.
When you're ready to price or purchase a new solar system, findsolar.com has everything you need.
Summer's here, but the solar panels that President Obama promised to install on the White House this spring aren't. Today the administration announced that it's still working out the details. We'll just have to wait.
Colorado's once-thriving solar industry has ground to a halt following Xcel Energy's move to slash incentive rebates for homeowners.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
A new technology developed at MIT, solar concentrators, could dramatically reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) power.
Toyota installs a large solar panel system on a California facility, proving its green thumb extends farther than the road.
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.
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.
You can use the power of the sun to heat water for your home using manufactured solar hot water systems or one you build yourself.
You can use a solar hot-air collector to heat your home with renewable energy. Here’s more about how they work.
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.
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
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.
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
Summing up the last week of mostly frozen stuff except for a brief thaw.
Fixing the swamp bridge and starting some new onion seeds along with a new experiment involving willow rooting hormone tea.
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
Cover crops are grown between planting seasons as a way to give back to the soil what cultivation takes from it. And cover crops aren’t just for large-scale growers—they can help you get the most out of your backyard vegetable garden too!
Simran Sethi learns how to compost the right way and explores her composting options.
Planting heirloom, non-genetically modified seeds is a great way to help preserve endangered plant varieties--and the planet's very ecosystem.
One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.
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.
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.
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.
Sustainable Solar LLC has recently rolled out a line of Light-Weight, Portable, Noiseless Solar Generators providing a convenient power supply in remote or off-the-grid areas.
Solar protection window treatments that never go out of season.
Make your own rotisserie spit that is solar powered.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
The solar-powered tractor was painted Terry’s favorite color—green—before the motor was strapped in. After the motor was installed a battery stand was welded over the top of the DC drive motor which is large enough to accommodate twelve 250-amp deep-cycle batteries. Once the performance controller was installed battery cables were run, linking the batteries together.
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
When you only drink one cup of coffee a day, the mug you use is pretty important.
The Financial Times Climate Change Challenge winner is the Kyoto Box solar cooker, which uses no fuel other than the sun to cook food.
An introduction to Richard Hilderbrand’s new blog discussing climate change, plus the first installment. Learn how Earth utilizes greenhouse gases to ensure stable temperatures, or thermal equilibrium, as well as how fluctuations in solar activity relate to changes in global temperatures.
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.
Check out the PV Watts calculator and find out how much solar-electric power you can generate in your part of the world.
This bathhouse from CU user SolarLadyfromNorwood proudly uses the sun to power it through the day. Making good use of alternative energy, the bathhouse surrounded by lush grass looks like a great little escape. Adorned with a sign and additional artwork, this
Tools and techniques for sustainable living.
Join the green collar economy by going through a green job training program. Learn the ins and outs of solar photovoltaics, wind power or biomass and save the planet while furthering your career.
Cleaning up an old water heater just requires two simple tools.
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.
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
Save thousands on a solar electric system by learning this simple secret.
If we want more electricity from renewable sources, we need to think about upgrades to our electric grid.
Find out what types of federal tax incentives are available for homeowners who install renewable energy.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com for background information and breaking news on renewable technologies.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
Check out this green gingerbread house built by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff: It includes cookie and candy versions of SIPs construction, a living roof, and a solar electric system.
LEDs are all around us. Here are some of the ways these great green lightbulbs are being used, and a little more information about how they work.
Learn how to evaluate your own home for solar potential with four easy steps!
If you’re thinking about getting a solar electric system to help the environment and save money, think about efficiency first.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Launching Anna's new E book on cover crops in a no till garden and talking about the recent power failure that prompted us to do some Off Grid Homesteading which taught us a few lessons on using golf cart batteries for supplemental lighting.
My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.
SANYO North America Corporation (SANYO) announces the availability of its most advanced HIT Power® solar module, the HIT Power 220A, offering improved efficiency and energy output -- and designed to energize integrators and installers with more power per square foot than ever before.
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
Cam has had to learn lots of new skills living in his off-grid home!
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
Solar food drying is incredibly easy with a solar food dehydrator, which requires very little effort to make perfectly preserved produce.
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.
The Solar Foundation found a 13 percent increase in U.S. solar industry jobs in 2012, which is promising for the overall job market, and shows stability in the solar energy job market.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
Covering an area about the size of California with solar panels would provide enough power to handle the world's needs.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
We’ve succeeded at drying herbs and greens in our SunWorks solar dehydrator, which promises to make future meals all the more flavorful and nutritious.
When you're looking for a job, there's just no substitute for getting out and meeting the professionals in the industry.
Will a degree increase your employment prospects? Absolutely. Here are some programs to look into.
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.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
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.
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
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.
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.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Solar energy is the ultimate source of all life, and there's lots of it.
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.
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 for a better way to preserve all that garden produce without a hot kitchen canning project? A new solar food dryer promises to dry food fast and save energy and money using the sunshine in your back yard.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
User of our CU photo-sharing website submits photo documents the building process on their new biomass and solar dome home.
Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Your favorite moments could become famous on our homepage!
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.
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.
What's it take to build your own SOLAR-POWERED Electric Car? How about starting small with some hardware store parts and an old child's ride-on toy? Read how a tinkerer Dad builds a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with just basic tools and skills.
A typical winter morning chore - cleaning off the solar panels.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Nuclear Armageddon due to solar flares or EMP, avoidable for teh cost of a single Stealth bomber
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
Finally, we start to take shape.
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
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.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Our power system begins to take shape.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid 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.
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.
A solar-powered cooker made out of cardboard boxes, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, deforestation and the spread of water-borne diseases, took home the first prize at the Climate Change Challenge.
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.
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.
There are many ways farmers can benefit from renewable energy, including wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.
Are you looking for professional training as a solar installer or retailer? Check out this list of workshops available at the American Solar Energy Society's 2009 Conference.
There's lots of good information on renewable energy in this new NPR series on electricity in America.
A lot of people have been asking us what incentives are still in place for 2012. The answer: All of them. While there were a few changes in 2011, the majority of programs that will impact the average homeowner remain the same. Here is an overview...
Weekly user photo of a simple solar homestead. Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Maybe one of your favorite moments will pop up on the homepage for all the world to see!
Use this parabolic mirror as a handy pocket-sized firestarter.
At last, we construct the foundation.
After spending several years drying food in an electric food dehydrator, I built a SunWorks solar food dehydrator to try and create truly sun-dried tomatoes.
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.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.
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.
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.
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
Conergy Projects Group has broken ground on a 725 kw photovoltaic system for T&P Farms out of Arbuckle, Calif.
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 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.
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.
Sun-Lite HP for greenhouse glazing provides excellent diffused light.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
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.
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
Is the electric car all it's cracked up to be? Let's find out!
Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.
Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.
The cost to install and operate our solar electrical system.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
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.
A homemade solar food dryer allows you to dry tomatoes and apples for delicious and nutritious winter snacks and addition to your meals.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Architect Debra Rucker Coleman shares tips for converting your home to passive solar energy.
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?
Solar lights replacing kerosene lamps in developing countries do more than solve energy poverty, they are also helping curb climate change by reducing black carbon emissions.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
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.
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.
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.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
We will discuss how the Earth overcomes the increasing solar radiation from the Sun to maintain a stable temperature for life (Gaia Hypothesis). The role anthropogenic forces will also be discussed.
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.
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.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
When a fire destroyed their home and office near San Luis Obispo, Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper seized the opportunity to build the off-the-grid straw bale home of their dreams. Their comfortable compound now houses two other families as well.
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.
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.
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.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.