Green Homes

The ins and outs of green construction and natural building, with specifics on solar design, home insulation and more.





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4/15/2014
Explore ways to reduce both your direct and indirect water footprint. Reducing your water footprint could make a huge different to both the environment and finances.
4/15/2014
The ongoing debate between the merits and faults of Passive House design and passive solar design is important for those looking to build an energy-efficient home and for all enthusiasts of energy-efficient building. We've opened up the discussion to our online audience in this blog post. Please share your thoughts!
4/14/2014
Increase home heating and cooling performance and boost savings quickly by adding attached sunspaces to existing structures.
4/11/2014
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
4/9/2014
Learn how to eliminate mold growth in your home and improve indoor air quality by using Concrobium.
4/8/2014
Unforgettable Fire's Kimberly and Katydid wood stoves are heating solutions for any and all spaces.
4/7/2014
Houses take a lifetime to pay off these days, and even a prosaic shed, barn or coop requires a heavy investment of money, time, skilled labour and imported materials. For thousands of years, though, people around the world used an ancient technique to build homes and other structures quickly, using nothing but local material and simple, easily learned skills.
4/2/2014
Learn how to build using the cordwood construction technique. Author Richard Flatau recommends taking a workshop or building a practice building.
3/24/2014
For some, underground home designs allow them live in harmony with their surroundings and to more easily acknowledge the beauty in nature.
3/24/2014
Earth-sheltered homes are becoming more common as the costs of dependable, sustainable energy rises.
3/21/2014
Take advantage of low-budget housing options, such as campers and teepees, for off-grid lifestyles.
3/20/2014
Passive House standards incorporate passive solar design principles, but the two labels don’t mean the same thing. Learn about the difference between passive solar design and Passive House certification.
3/11/2014
Either when preparing for disaster or the week’s dinner menu, safe food storage can cut down on frustration and waste.
3/5/2014
Create and stock up on all-natural household cleaners like vinegar, baking soda and castile soap to avoid volatile organic compounds in your home.
3/4/2014
A new building insulation guide is available from NAIMA Canada to assist homeowners in choosing the right insulation for new building and DIY home renovation projects.
2/27/2014
What is the best way to learn cordwood construction? Are there workshops or classes offered?
2/20/2014
Kefir is a yogurt-like dairy substance that you can easily culture at home using grains and milk.
2/19/2014
Website links to earthbag building projects.
2/13/2014
An introduction to the North House Folk School.
2/11/2014
The fundamental building blocks, descriptions, diagrams and pictures of best practices cordwood buildings.
2/10/2014
A compendium of modern nomadic sweats.
2/10/2014
Avoid chemical-laden household cleaners by trying this homemade laundry soap recipe.
2/10/2014
This reader tip will prevent you from feeling guilty if you forget your reusable shopping bags.
2/10/2014
Keep your drawers organized and clutter-free with this handy tip using leftover toilet paper rolls.
2/10/2014
There are so many uses for nutshells, it’s explosive!
2/6/2014
Energy Star for Homes is a worthwhile green building certification with demonstrated market value.
2/6/2014
Here is a great article on straw bale gardening.
2/6/2014
Introducing our new chickens.
2/5/2014
Glimpse a view into the world of cordwood construction. This old-fashioned, natural building technique can inspire you to build an energy-efficient, mortgage-free house of your own.
2/3/2014
Our community offers their best composting tips for all levels of expertise.
1/31/2014
Review of a great axe made by Vipukirves.
1/31/2014
The best rat trap I have ever owned.
1/28/2014
Update on the homestead.
1/15/2014
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.
1/10/2014
Did you buy or build a home without going into debt? We're looking for stories on homes built with a small mortgage, or no mortgage at all. Here's what we want to know.
1/9/2014
A week of no rain, kayaks and firewood in review.
1/7/2014
Winter gardening, and the practice of utilizing solar heat, was a common practice in botanical gardens hundreds of years ago.
1/6/2014
Clearing away snow has just gotten a charge from Snow Joe, the leading US supplier of over 140 products for snow removal and other seasonal needs. I got my hands on their latest innovation, a cordless snow blower powered by a 40-volt lithium ion battery, and compared it to their top-selling cord-based electric snow thrower.
1/6/2014
A review of the Husqvarna hatchet.
12/31/2013
A review of hammers of friend Jack Fulton.
12/19/2013
A progress update on our book Tiny Homes On the Move
12/17/2013
Handy Camel multi-purpose bag clip earns several awards during release year.
12/16/2013
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.
12/12/2013
Chainsaw safety equipment.
12/6/2013
Green building expert Lloyd Kahn reviews Kevin Kelly’s new book Cool Tools, an amazing book for the homesteader, builder or anyone who likes cool tools.
12/4/2013
Safely eliminate mice in your home with these house mouse control tips.
12/2/2013
Old homes are often thought of as second-hand or sub-par quality. There are a lot of things you can do to modernize your home, and even make it more energy efficient that many new homes.
11/21/2013
Although forced air is the most common form of home heat in North America it is far from ideal. This article explains why Building Biology regards the masonry heater as the ultimate heating system for health, comfort and ecology.
11/15/2013
Ed Begley, Jr. reveals his passion for sustainable living, the passive solar design for his house and the motivation behind his two books, "Living With Ed" and "Ed Begley, Jr.'s Guide to Sustainable Living."
11/13/2013
Sustainably harvested cork creates a beautiful flooring material that’s competitively priced with other kinds of sustainable flooring.
11/12/2013
A methane digester — also known as an anaerobic digester — can be a great source of biofuel and fertilizer.
11/8/2013
New, efficient technology is replacing the old, and it is transforming the way in which we live, and more importantly, our impact on the environment.
11/5/2013
You can recycle common household goods to be used as kitty litter mats.
11/5/2013
Hang an indoor clothesline in a greenhouse or sunroom for sun-fresh laundry all winter.
10/29/2013
If you are planning to build a healthy home your first step is to find a site that will support health and here are some helpful tips about siting
10/28/2013
10 easy steps to get your home prepared for winter.
10/23/2013
Make bathroom maintenance a snap and protect from toilet leaks.
10/22/2013
If you are hoping to build a new home or weekend cottage, we would appreciate your participation in this short survey, which will gauge your interest in a variety of possible kit home features.
10/8/2013
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
10/7/2013
Sansin Corporation offers advice on green, historic home renovations.
10/3/2013
Many people perceive going green as an inconvenience and an unnecessary burden on their daily lives. What they don't realize is that they can take simple steps to help protect the environment without the disruption to their lifestyle, but save money as well.
9/27/2013
Learn how to build a solar water heater for your home.
9/27/2013
Cherished Aladdin lamps were on display at a recent collectors show in Topeka, Kan.
9/26/2013
This blog covers the four major reasons for hiring a healthy home consultant and five keys to creating a successful healthy home project.
9/25/2013
With a few key supplies, you can revive worn wood flooring without heavy-duty sanding.
9/24/2013
The GateMate, by Cartell, has the lowest current draw in standby than any other free exit system on the market.
9/20/2013
When it comes to your health and well-being your bed is the most important furniture choice you will make. This article describes why and how to choose the healthiest bed options for you and your family.
9/19/2013
Passive design includes positioning your house for greatest passive solar gains: having excellent insulation, selecting the most energy efficient tools for heating and cooling and choosing energy efficient appliances.
9/18/2013
When you do business with someone, you are indirectly condoning their methods. with access to the internet, anyone can do a little research to see which businesses are living up to our high expectations.
9/11/2013
Discover how to hand-sculpt a custom, mortgage-free home from dirt-cheap, local materials.
9/11/2013
Take a tip from the philosophy of Feng Shui and use a mirror to reflect the outdoors, which will make a small room seem larger.
9/11/2013
Eric, Michael and Loren decided to build a winter shelter from natural and re-used materials two winters ago, their first ever natural building experiment. This is an account of that experience that changed their lives in mysterious and unforeseen ways (for the better!).
8/28/2013
Window film can reduce peak electricity demand.
8/28/2013
We all have the responsibility to do are best to preserve the Earth and the environment in any way we can. Some people take it to the extreme, but that isn't always necessary. There are many ways we can make simple changes in our lifestyles to contribute to saving what's most precious for our children and future generations.
8/22/2013
Our bedroom should be a sanctuary where our body repairs as we sleep soundly but is your bedroom as healthy as it could be?
8/22/2013
Considering natural building? Learn how to navigate building codes, building permits and acquire homeowners’ insurance.
8/13/2013
Deltec Homes has built wind-resistant houses with beautiful, open floor plans for over 30 years.
8/9/2013
Learn how to create a yoga studio that enhances your practice and your health.
8/7/2013
In our modern society, we are starting to realize how important the environment is and how fragile it really is. Our resources are limited, and if we aren't kept in check, we will ruin any hope we have of preserving it. Using the technology we have available to help us is something everybody can do.
8/2/2013
Instituting community-wide, Eco-friendly programs can be a great way to beautify cities, save money, and do your duty to help preserve the planet. It might be difficult, but all it takes is one person to make a difference.
7/18/2013
The "Jøtul Changeout Program" offers a voucher for a new EPA-certified wood stove in exchange for an outdated and non-EPA-certified model.
7/15/2013
There are many ways we can conserve energy, and be more eco-friendly, especially with the advancements that technology is making every day.
7/2/2013
Sometimes your dream home is far from where your heart is. Moving an existing home to a new location is possible, and it can potentially save you money.
7/1/2013
From shampoo and lotion to wood polish and drain cleaner, you’ll be surprised at how many common household products contain potentially hazardous ingredients. Here’s how to identify problem products and find the best alternatives to buy — or save a little money by making your own.
7/1/2013
Here’s how to find good background information on residential solar energy systems, including locating solar installers and finding advice on particular products.
7/1/2013
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.
7/1/2013
Save money and energy at home by choosing energy-efficient products whenever you purchase home appliances or computers and other electronics.
6/27/2013
A home’s air-tightness is just as important as how much R-value it has.
6/27/2013
Passive solar design comes to Navajo families, as architecture students build homes on Utah reservations.
6/24/2013
There are some things that you just aren’t going to wash very often, like your curtains, couch cushions, and probably even your favorite jeans. To spare the air, concoct a simple essential oil-infused linen spray, and spritz away until your definition of what “clean” smells like shifts permanently.
6/21/2013
Here are a few smart home automation gadgets that have become relatively common place, and a few things that we can expect in the future.
6/21/2013
In 45 years, Deltec Homes have never lost a house to high winds.
6/18/2013
Having a properly maintained water heater is like going to the dentist: No one wants to do it, but it’s gotta be done. Ideally, you should have an inspection and necessary maintenance performed on your water heater once a year.
6/17/2013
When tiny homes enthusiast Tammy Strobel decided she needed a life makeover, she wasn’t immediately drawn to small home living. But through the journey of simplifying her life to a mortgage-free existence, she discovered the big happiness that tiny house living can bring.
6/14/2013
My experiences with a reel lawn mower in a small urban neighborhood.
6/13/2013
When highway developments overtook her parents' property and rendered the family home "uninhabitable," MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Joyce Hetrick had the house lifted and moved to another location 30 miles away.
6/7/2013
Green building guru Lloyd Kahn recounts his favorite new discoveries from the Puyallup, Wash., MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
6/7/2013
Save money and energy by going green and being smart about your home utilities.
6/7/2013
It might seem like a small thing, but your refrigerator can be a HUGE drain on your energy bill. We’ve already shown you how to check for leaks in your refrigerator seal—now let’s take the next step in keeping your fridge in top working order.
6/5/2013
After every load in your clothes dryer, cleaning the lint screen improves the air circulation, which means that the system will work more efficiently — and run on less energy.
6/4/2013
Architect Debra Rucker Coleman shares tips for converting your home to passive solar energy.
5/31/2013
We are inundated with green messages that can sometimes be confusing or misleading. This phenomenon is especially true when it comes to the paint industry. There is much talk about No-VOC and Low-VOC paints, but what is the truth behind it?
5/30/2013
A newly “refurbished home” smells bad. It has been 3 months and the smells are still overwhelming. Some helpful suggestions.
5/30/2013
A carefully selected home library can make the difference between successful self reliance or years of struggle. Learn how to choose the best books to read on self reliance and homesteading skills.
5/21/2013
Here are seven devices that will help you conserve energy in your home, and maybe even help make our world livable again.
5/20/2013
You smell an odor in your home and suspect that it isn’t healthy. This article explains how to do some safe investigation in preparation for calling in an expert.
5/20/2013
Attics can be a huge energy drain if they are not insulated sufficiently. We’ll leave the heavy lifting for next weekend, but for now look for uneven insulation, base sports, water damage, and anything else that looks out of place.
5/20/2013
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
5/16/2013
It’s springtime and the weather is getting warm, but that is no excuse for letting money and energy fly out the window every single day. Hopefully you were able to find all the drafts and leaks in your windows last fall (if not, now is just as good a time as any).
5/16/2013
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
5/14/2013
You can retrofit your current home for cheaper energy bills and a more beautiful, livable space.
5/14/2013
Grain bins are a sturdy, inexpensive alternative-living option, and now Iowa company Sukup Manufacturing is making these unconventional houses more widely available.
5/13/2013
Your deck or other outdoor structures may be made of wood treated with chromated copper arsenate (CCA). Learn more about CCA-treated wood and how to dispose of it.
5/13/2013
Many wood finishes contain toxic solvents or heavy-metal drying agents. Learn which nontoxic wood finishes are best to use on decks, fences and unfinished, wood-sided homes.
5/9/2013
From geodesics domes and yurts to underground homes to cob houses, Stephen Hren takes us along as he searches the realm of natural building to find his perfect alternative architecture.
5/7/2013
Get an introduction to Building Biology, the science and philosophy of healthy and ecological building that originated in Germany 60 years ago.
5/7/2013
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.
5/7/2013
Did you know that heat transfer through windows can account for up to 25 percent of your energy bill by allowing heat out during the winter, and makes your air conditioner work overtime to combat the sun’s warming? Drafts and leaks can be the biggest culprit of energy waste but can also be fixed with relatively little effort.
5/3/2013
When you get home today, do this simple test: Close your fridge door on a dollar bill or piece of paper; if you can pull the bill out easily or worse, if it falls, then it is time to replace the seal.
5/2/2013
Did you know that a dirty filter in your HVAC equipment can reduce its efficiency by up to 20 percent? Didyou also know that it is recommended to check your filter every month? Don’t despair!
5/1/2013
More than the electricity needed to run these machines, the “rinse hold” hot water setting that many households use is the biggest energy drain associated with dishwashers – as much as 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heat water.
4/29/2013
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
4/29/2013
When you get home, go to your hot water heater, remove the cover and turn it down to 120 degrees (sometimes labeled “hot” as opposed to “very hot”).
4/26/2013
Replacing a task that uses electricity with one that does not is a no-brainer when trying to save on your energy bill — and air drying is one of the easiest ways to go.
4/25/2013
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
4/25/2013
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
4/25/2013
By focusing on environmental change this Earth Day, we can reach our green potential. Green initiatives need to be implemented, both individually and collectively, for us to reduce our environmental impact.
4/24/2013
Many people don’t know that most HVAC systems don’t produce more or less heating or cooling based on the room temperature – they simply blow air for longer.
4/24/2013
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
4/4/2013
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
4/3/2013
Some large electronics can use as much energy as a light bulb while in "stanby" mode, meaning you should unplug them when you leave the house or know you won’t use them for awhile. Having a large electronic setup plugged into a  power strip makes it much easier to completely power it down, especially if it has a lot of plugs like a home theater system or computer.
4/2/2013
CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. I know that when I purchased new lamps for my house, they had a whole shelf of incandescent bulbs right next to it, and I had to go search the store for CFLs, so I understand if you are currently using incandescent bulbs. But it’s worth the switch — not only are CFLs equal in light quality, they last way longer and will save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime.
3/28/2013
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
3/26/2013
The full team from thePOOSH.org attended Over the Moon Festival last autumn in the UK and built a beautiful bender as a temporary shelter area and stall.
3/21/2013
Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?
3/19/2013
The International Window Film Association says older dwellings can reduce energy use with energy saving window film, which was recently voted into the new California building energy codes.
3/13/2013
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.
3/12/2013
Here is yet another possible building project presented to you which requires no formal training, very little money, and techniques/methods that anyone can use. This blog intends to inspire you to take on a natural building project like this one. Don´t have fear if this is your first time working with these techniques and materials — it often for us also! Swattlesfield Campground is frequented by many kinds of people for various reasons. The owner, Jonathan, wanted to introduce some activity which would draw people together. We had the perfect idea: pizza!  Food, especially food that requires waiting, has a tendency to attract people. And once humans have a good reason to be in the same place, the rest (socialization) has a tendency to just work.
2/25/2013
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
2/14/2013
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
2/13/2013
If someone told you that you were losing money just by sitting in your home, you would probably want to do whatever you could to change that. Well the reality is that your home is using up energy regularly, and there is a huge chunk of that energy that you do not even need. Luckily, we live in a time when technology is constantly coming up with ways to fix problems such as these. Here are some of the ways that technology can help to save the environment, as well as your wallet.
2/13/2013
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
2/11/2013
Learn about some efficient home heating options, such as warm-air heating, radiant heat, hot water heating systems, and more.
2/10/2013
By following certain home design principles, you can save energy and create a comfortable temperature inside your home. Originally published as "The Owner Built Home and Homestead" in the January/February 1971 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
2/10/2013
The devil is in the details in a net zero energy home. Every single step in the design and construction of a home requires efforts to ensure airtightness. The top of the foundation is one detail that deserves special attention.
1/24/2013
Septic system care do's and don'ts to benefit the life of your system, your health, finances, and the environment.
1/23/2013
Tax credits are now available for energy-efficient home improvements such as installation of window film.
1/20/2013
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
1/20/2013
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
1/19/2013
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
1/2/2013
Tips on how to test your house for radon during January's National Radon Action Month!
12/27/2012
In the 1970s, architect Michael Reynolds developed a building system for Earthship houses, which incorporated a passive solar design with recycled materials, such as tin cans, tires and glass bottles.
12/11/2012
An index of previous posts that have referenced green products. These posts have covered building- and home-related products, as well as chocolates, books, and other types of goods. Many of the products mentioned in these posts would make good gifts.
11/19/2012
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
11/19/2012
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
11/19/2012
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
11/11/2012
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.
11/11/2012
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.
11/7/2012
Press Release about UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative’s Toolkit, “Achieving the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting.”
11/3/2012
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.
11/1/2012
Today’s kit homes are energy-efficient, affordable and offer something for everyone, whether big or small. They can unlock the door to your dream home. Discover your kit house options.
11/1/2012
The ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder app uses your zip code to find sales tax exemptions, credits, or rebates on qualified products.
10/28/2012
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.
10/28/2012
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.
10/24/2012
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.
10/23/2012
From healthy, local food to green transportation to energy-efficient home upgrades, we can help you find the best green products and services for your needs. Looking for a farmers market near you? Shopping for a fuel-efficient car? Interested in green home upgrades? These tools and resources will help you find the best options to fit your lifestyle. 
10/1/2012
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.
10/1/2012
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.
9/28/2012
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.
9/26/2012
Therapeutic grade essential oils have a tonne of uses on the homestead - here's how we've used them effectively, and how they bring us peace of mind.
9/14/2012
The U.S. department of energy is setting new product standards for clothes washers and dishwashers that will reduce energy use and water consumption. 
9/14/2012
The EWG’s is helping consumers make educated decisions about their cleaning products by providing them with a rating system that compares the health impacts of various products.     
9/12/2012
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
8/31/2012
More than 15 tips for saving water inside your home and outside in your yard and garden. Reducing your water use will not only lower your water bills and help prevent water shortages during drought periods in your area. It also...
8/13/2012
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
8/9/2012
If you missed it, be sure to check out this great informative interview with John Burke of MSi Green Lighting LED Company. They are lighting it green in Macy’s and saving them millions!! They use Cree LED diodes in their bulbs and proprietary tech.
8/5/2012
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.
7/31/2012
North America's first passive dormitory recently received certification from the Passive House Institute US.
7/10/2012
In this update on eco-friendly nursery renovations, Natural Home and Garden editor Jessica Kellner shares her progress on re-wiring, installing windows, insulation and new drywall.
7/5/2012
Owner of Shelter Publications and godfather of the hand-built homes movement, Lloyd Kahn brings us another great book on tiny homes, chock-full of examples of small houses anyone can afford to own. 
6/21/2012
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.
6/14/2012
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.
6/13/2012
Jessica Kellner, editor of Natural Home & Garden, is beginning research on electric in-floor radiant floor heating products as an efficient method of heating the new nursery.
6/7/2012
Learn how to keep your house cool without air conditioning by using these cross-ventilation techniques.
6/6/2012
Broadening your understanding of mold and mildew in the house will help you to eliminate this hazard to health and home value.
6/6/2012
It was a cold, windy New Years evening. Logan and I were wrapped up in the covers; he was surfing the internet and I was reading a book. It was a perfect and cozy night to be at home.
6/5/2012
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.
6/1/2012
As a nursery renovation begins, Jessica, editor of Natural Home and Garden, is just beginning an investigation into remodeling options for an eco-friendly nursery.
6/1/2012
An organic cotton and wool body pillow goes a long way to help relieve pregnancy back pain.
5/30/2012
Absorb and Clean delivers unmatched performance for cleaning up liquid spills on land, water, and hard surfaces instantly.
5/25/2012
Wireless temperature control mattresses and pads offer a dream come true for restless sleepers.
5/16/2012
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
5/16/2012
Plan a comfortable, energy-efficient home that saves you money on heating and cooling with these passive solar design basics.
5/8/2012
Keep your sink sparkling and your drains clear with these suggestions for green sink cleaning.
5/6/2012
The challenge of refurbishing an ingeniously designed 30-year-old combination woodworking machine was just to intriguing to resist. I found my Zinken MIA 6 on Craigslist, then proceeded to make all 5 functions work like new again.
4/20/2012
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
4/20/2012
Learn about the history of housing finance from the Homestead Act of 1862 to home loans in the 1970s, to how housing finance affects American society today.
4/19/2012
12 of Morton’s buildings have been awarded the National Frame Building Association’s Building of the Year Award for 2011.
4/13/2012
Ben Law is a 21st century woodsman pioneering the benefits of roundwood timber framing, a low-impact, sustainable building practice that utilizes local trees rather than milled lumber.
4/10/2012
Morton Buildings is a proud ENERGY STAR® partner and also employs LEED Accredited Professionals to assist customers looking to achieve certification.
4/6/2012
A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.
3/28/2012
This index links to some recent and popular posts related to green building, design, remodeling, and home improvement. The posts cover a broad range of topics, from green products to projects to practices, as well as sustainable communities.
3/27/2012
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
3/21/2012
A strong partnership between Cascades and Office Depot to deliver on customer need for softness and strength while significantly reducing total environmental impact.
3/13/2012
A white roof will help your house to stay cool during warmer months.
3/8/2012
You can experience a higher quality of life in your own house by converting to a net zero energy home. By employing solar electric panels, tankless hot water heaters, LED lighting and other implements for greatest energy efficiency, these powerhouses are able to produce as much energy as they use. Learn more about natural renewable energy sources and this green future of building homes, including the cost, size and typical features of existing zero energy homes. 
2/16/2012
The ‘Kiwi House’ is organized around the primal element of fire.
2/10/2012
The Sun Mar composting toilet uses a first of its kind technology to deliver a pollution free and sanitary product.
2/3/2012
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
1/20/2012
Find out which states and countries have the greatest number of LEED Platinum certified projects, and where the Platinum projects are located. Plus, a list of some LEED Platinum rated homes and residential buildings, with links to case studies.
1/16/2012
Solar protection window treatments that never go out of season.
1/16/2012
The type of lighting in your home can have a big impact on your overall environmental footprint. By choosing to replace incandescent bulbs with more energy-efficient light bulbs, such as LED lights and CFL bulbs, you can be guaranteed to have effective light with less overall energy use. Although CFLs and LEDs are more expensive upfront, the savings on your energy bill will more than make up the cost. As an added bonus, these energy savers also last way longer than your standard incandescent bulb.  
1/13/2012
It has become a Christmas ritual for me to clean out my mother's fridge. I find whiskery gnarled morsels, shoved to the back of the fridge many months previously, unseen, and untouched by my mother’s arthritic hands. Do I compost all this detritus?
1/5/2012
Choose chemical-free organic bedding to start off the new year with healthy rest in a healthy bedroom.
12/29/2011
This blog post is a description of starting a building project using Structural Insulated Panels, also known as SIPs.
12/20/2011
Follow these three quick, simple steps to take your guest room from lifeless to luxurious.
12/16/2011
Protect children's health and the environment by choosing responsibly made toys that are free of lead and other toxins.
12/11/2011
Wondermill Grain Mill
12/11/2011
News Flash!! Jay Shafer Taking His Tumbleweed Tiny House to Occupy Wall Street NYC
11/29/2011
In the down real-estate market, more people are choosing to renovate rather than relocate. Use these tips to create a customized home that supports your lifestyle.
11/22/2011
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.
11/21/2011
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
11/16/2011
Conserve energy, and dollars, by upgrading your home’s hot water heater. You can start with improved insulation on your existing model or implement some simple behavioral adjustments that will prevent you from wasting both hot water and the energy required to produce it. You can also opt to purchase a new high-efficiency hot water heater recommended by Energy Star. The newer models include electric, tankless and gas options — all worthwhile investments that will pay you back over time while also using fewer environmental resources.
11/16/2011
Upgrading wall insulation is tricky. You can't see the insulation that is (or isn't) in your walls, and it's not easy to install new insulation in a hidden wall cavity. One solution that shows promise is filling wall cavities with injections foam.
11/16/2011
The shopping website Hipcycle offers beautiful upcycled products for your home and garden.
11/10/2011
Friends and I travel to the Open Source Ecology project in rural Missouri to take a tour and help out laying up earth bricks.
10/21/2011
Give your floors a sustainable face lift with these eco-friendly flooring options. The source, durability, toxicity levels and transportation methods of the flooring materials you choose all leave an environmental footprint that will affect the overall sustainability of the floors beneath your own two feet. From cork and bamboo to vinyl and wood floors, choosing green flooring doesn’t mean you have to limit your design options.
10/19/2011
Home energy audits are a great idea for anybody looking to save on energy costs. These audits can contribute to your household’s sustainability, even if you only make minor changes. Read this article to learn more about how energy audits can contribute to a greener — and cheaper! — future for you and your home.
10/19/2011
Tour the Baker family’s beautiful, hand-built home which is affordable, green and constructed from salvaged wood and other reused building materials.
10/17/2011
The Cool Energy House — an energy-efficient model home from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Building America program — demonstrates several home energy retrofits.
10/17/2011
GO Home, built by architecture and construction firm G•O Logic LLC, received the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) 2011 LEED for Homes Project of the Year Award.
10/12/2011
Insulating your water heater is a snap, and this small investment of time and money can save you more than $100 on your annual energy costs.
10/6/2011
Most conventional paints and coatings emit Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), which can contribute to poor indoor air quality as well as to smog. This overview includes a link to a product listing of healthier low-VOC, zero-VOC, and natural paints.
9/27/2011
Godfrey Stephen's frog carving
9/27/2011
Cae Mabon - An Eco-Retreat Centre in North Wales
9/27/2011
Traditional woodworking with hand tools
9/25/2011
You don't need to rely on toxic chemicals to clean your house. Opt for natural homemade cleaners or nontoxic options such as Bon Ami.
9/25/2011
Sigi Koko of Down to Earth Design and some assistants demonstrate her method of constructing strawbale walls with clay at the 2011 Mother Earth News Fair in Seven Springs, Pa.
9/20/2011
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
9/6/2011
A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite countertops and hardwood floors--in his mission to "break down what a house should be."
9/4/2011
Treehouse in Washington #1
9/4/2011
Great book on San Francisco area wild food
9/2/2011
Bottle Houses
8/23/2011
With its newest offering, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company gives homebuyers the flexibility of a kit house with the fine craftsmanship they expect from the flagship small home builder.
8/17/2011
Check out this magical photograph of an energy-efficient dome home and the surprise above.
8/17/2011
Today, resourceful homeowners are creating more space without moving walls. One innovative solution uses heavy-duty sliding door hardware to show how a vacation home benefits from more efficient floor space.
8/16/2011
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.
8/12/2011
Pull up a chair and enjoy the view from my back porch. And the smell of fresh manure.
8/11/2011
Re-Pac reusable bags replace plastic bags and sell like hotcakes
8/9/2011
I've been living in my tipi for almost a month now. Last night, under a chorus of screech owl trills and whinnies, I spent a little time reflecting on some things I've learned about this curious way of living. Enjoy.
8/8/2011
I made a hole in the ground, and then decorated it with rocks!
8/5/2011
Putting up a big cone made of sticks and canvas isn't really all that challenging. Just maybe start before 7pm on a weekday your first time.
8/3/2011
Louie Frazier's Yukon flashlight
8/3/2011
Solar bottles of light
8/2/2011
Let's face it: Tax audits have given the word "audit" a bad name. But a home energy audit is a good thing, and every home can benefit from the information and recommendations a home energy audit provides.
8/1/2011
Nathan Kipnis of Kipnis Architecture + Planning will present two workshops on green energy and building at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, September 24-25 in Seven Springs, Pa.
7/29/2011
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.
7/29/2011
“For anyone considering downsizing, or considering a small starter home, we say just do it!” Linda Bolton says. “We promise you won’t miss a thing living in a thousand square feet or less. You’ll just have smaller headaches.”
7/28/2011
From the boxy ranch house to the superfluous McMansion, suburban housing has never been particularly inspired. These three homes show what you can do with that raw material, with a little ingenuity and a willingness to work with what's there.
7/28/2011
Building a new house with SIPS
7/28/2011
Finally! Design experts and contractors say granite and marble have lost their luster. Find beautiful, natural alternatives to that and solutions to other common design mistakes, including dull color pallettes and overused water features.
7/26/2011
Rustic recycled small buildings in Minnesota
7/26/2011
Sue McKay Miller divested herself of nearly everything she owned and moved into a yurt in the wilderness to determine how much she really needs to live a satisfying life. Turns out, she really doesn't need much.
7/25/2011
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
7/25/2011
Tips for saving energy at home while trying to stay cool.
7/21/2011
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
7/21/2011
Empty nesters Ed and Joan Kobrinski downsized their lifestyle and moved to a smaller home where they could grow more vegetables. "We've learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contentedly with less," Ed says.
7/21/2011
The Rhombin, a desktop organizer made from a plant-based plastic (bioplastic), merges sustainability with convenience and cutting-edge design.
7/20/2011
I had no idea putting dirt in a box was this difficult.
7/20/2011
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
7/14/2011
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.
7/14/2011
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
7/14/2011
Offering paint that saves the rain forest and a full list of ingredients, this natural finishes start-up aims to change the industry. Unearthed is making a bold move by providing full ingredient disclosure for all of its products.
7/13/2011
Lloyd meditates on the essentials of shelter and our memories of home.
7/11/2011
Ryan Mitchell, founder of TheTinyLife.com, is saving up to pay cash for a 130-square-foot home on wheels in North Carolina. He’s seeking perspective, clarity—and a girlfriend who gets it.
7/8/2011
Settling on a flooring option for the tipi was pretty simple after coming across an awesome company that was right under my nose the whole time.
7/8/2011
To satisfy today's home buyer, a developer of million-dollar luxury homes in New York is offering smaller, more affordable houses--more anecdotal evidence that the McMansion is dying.
7/7/2011
Across the country, people are discovering that recycling household water is surprisingly easy. With a little DIY know-how, you can build a greywater system that takes the water from your washing machine and uses it to water trees or bushes in your yard. Unfortunately, many state regulations still prohibit greywater use or require a permit, even for small greywater systems. However, greywater advocates are working to change these restrictive codes, and many people in the United States can now use greywater legally.
7/7/2011
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
7/6/2011
Frontier Natural Products Co-op announced today that it has been awarded LEED Silver certification for a major renovation at its manufacturing facility.
7/5/2011
JavaCycle has saved more than 40 tons of burlap coffee bag from landfills.
7/5/2011
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.