The ins and outs of green construction and natural building, with specifics on solar design, home insulation and more.
Here are seven devices that will help you conserve energy in your home, and maybe even help make our world livable again.
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.
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.
Missoula, MT company awards home owners sustainable products.
It’s springtime and the weather is getting warm, but that is no excuse for letting money and energy fly out the window every single day. Hopefully you were able to find all the drafts and leaks in your windows last fall (if not, now is just as good a time as any).
A look at the advantages and disadvantages of “off-grid” and "grid-tied” solar electric systems.
You can retrofit your current home for cheaper energy bills and a more beautiful, livable space — without having to move. Five energy experts and architects explain how to make your home more energy-efficient.
Grain bins are a sturdy, inexpensive alternative-living option, and now Iowa company Sukup Manufacturing is making these unconventional houses more widely available.
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.
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.
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.
Get an introduction to Building Biology, the science and philosophy of healthy and ecological building that originated in Germany 60 years ago.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
Did you know that heat transfer through windows can account for up to 25 percent of your energy bill by allowing heat out during the winter, and makes your air conditioner work overtime to combat the sun’s warming? Drafts and leaks can be the biggest culprit of energy waste but can also be fixed with relatively little effort.
When you get home today, do this simple test: Close your fridge door on a dollar bill or piece of paper; if you can pull the bill out easily or worse, if it falls, then it is time to replace the seal.
Did you know that a dirty filter in your HVAC equipment can reduce its efficiency by up to 20 percent? Didyou also know that it is recommended to check your filter every month? Don’t despair!
More than the electricity needed to run these machines, the “rinse hold” hot water setting that many households use is the biggest energy drain associated with dishwashers – as much as 80 percent of the energy your dishwasher uses goes to heat water.
I decided to build double 2-by-4 walls to achieve 14-inch thick super-insulated walls. This is just one way of achieving the high R-values for net zero energy homes.
When you get home, go to your hot water heater, remove the cover and turn it down to 120 degrees (sometimes labeled “hot” as opposed to “very hot”).
Replacing a task that uses electricity with one that does not is a no-brainer when trying to save on your energy bill — and air drying is one of the easiest ways to go.
To me, the most important features of a sustainable building are not its technological wonders but its simple design features: common-sense strategies that should be incorporated whether the building becomes LEED certified, Energy Star certified, or is just trying to be environmentally friendly.
Heating water is the highest drain that laundry machines and dishwashers have on your bill. Onaverage, water heating accounts for 18 percent of your energy bill.
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.
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.
An introduction to Paula Baker-Laporte's future readers : about Paula, multiple chemical sensitivities, Building Biology and the role of green building in health.
There are two situations which do not require you to be heating your home: when it is warm and when you are not at home. Since it is still a bit chilly outside, you may want to consider setting up a routine of turning down the set temperature on your thermostat when you head out in the morning and when you go to bed.
Some large electronics can use as much energy as a light bulb while in "stanby" mode, meaning you should unplug them when you leave the house or know you won’t use them for awhile. Having a large electronic setup plugged into a power strip makes it much easier to completely power it down, especially if it has a lot of plugs like a home theater system or computer.
CFLs use 75 percent less energy and last 10 times longer than an incandescent bulb. I know that when I purchased new lamps for my house, they had a whole shelf of incandescent bulbs right next to it, and I had to go search the store for CFLs, so I understand if you are currently using incandescent bulbs. But it’s worth the switch — not only are CFLs equal in light quality, they last way longer and will save you hundreds of dollars over their lifetime.
Dan Chiras’ superefficient net zero energy home, floor joists, efficient floor design, band beam and rim joist
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.
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?
The International Window Film Association says older dwellings can reduce energy use with energy saving window film, which was recently voted into the new California building energy codes.
A 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.
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.
The basement of Dan Chiras' net zero energy home is outfitted with PVC pipes, insulation and concrete.
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
If someone told you that you were losing money just by sitting in your home, you would probably want to do whatever you could to change that. Well the reality is that your home is using up energy regularly, and there is a huge chunk of that energy that you do not even need. Luckily, we live in a time when technology is constantly coming up with ways to fix problems such as these. Here are some of the ways that technology can help to save the environment, as well as your wallet.
For one week, BuildingGreen is offering a free download of an insulation guide, available with a 30-day trial of BuildingGreen Suite.
Learn about some efficient home heating options, such as warm-air heating, radiant heat, hot water heating systems, and more.
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.
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.
Septic system care do's and don'ts to benefit the life of your system, your health, finances, and the environment.
Tax credits are now available for energy-efficient home improvements such as installation of window film.
To ensure an airtight design, be sure to level and finish the top of the concrete wall and use sill seal below your bottom plates.
Once the ICFs are in place and the walls are very well reinforced, it is time to pour concrete. This blog illustrates the process in words and photos.
This blog describes some of the details involved in building with insulating concrete forms, notably window and door buck details that you need to take into account
Tips on how to test your house for radon during January's National Radon Action Month!
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.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
Press Release about UNEP/GEF en.lighten initiative’s Toolkit, “Achieving the Transition to Energy Efficient Lighting.”
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
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.
The ENERGY STAR Rebate Finder app uses your zip code to find sales tax exemptions, credits, or rebates on qualified products.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
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.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
The Solar Energy Tour is coming to communities all over the U.S. the first weekend of October — learn how to attend an event, or create one yourself.
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.
The U.S. department of energy is setting new product standards for clothes washers and dishwashers that will reduce energy use and water consumption.
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.
After Greensburg was destroyed in 2007, the citizens of Greensburg, with the help of GreenTown, have invested in green building for a better tomorrow.
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...
According to the USDA, consumers can feel secure in the accuracy of the biobased claim and can make better informed purchasing decisions.
If you missed it, be sure to check out this great informative interview with John Burke of MSi Green Lighting LED Company. They are lighting it green in Macy’s and saving them millions!! They use Cree LED diodes in their bulbs and proprietary tech.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
North America's first passive dormitory recently received certification from the Passive House Institute US.
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.
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.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
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.
Learn how to keep your house cool without air conditioning by using these cross-ventilation techniques.
Broadening your understanding of mold and mildew in the house will help you to eliminate this hazard to health and home value.
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.
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.
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.
An organic cotton and wool body pillow goes a long way to help relieve pregnancy back pain.
Absorb and Clean delivers unmatched performance for cleaning up liquid spills on land, water, and hard surfaces instantly.
Wireless temperature control mattresses and pads offer a dream come true for
I’m curious about building a straw bale house. What are some good resources to consult?
Plan a comfortable, energy-efficient home that saves you money on heating and cooling with these passive solar design basics.
Keep your sink sparkling and your drains clear with these suggestions for green sink cleaning.
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.
Jessica features Dan Phillips, Phoenix Commotion founder and builder of fascinating houses made with reclaimed materials.
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.
12 of Morton’s buildings have been awarded the National Frame Building Association’s Building of the Year Award for 2011.
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.
Morton Buildings is a proud ENERGY STAR® partner and also employs LEED Accredited Professionals to assist customers looking to achieve certification.
A lookout tower home, which features reclaimed materials, connects its homeowner with her past, present and future.
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.
Future factors set a high standard for sustainable products and activities
A strong partnership between Cascades and Office Depot to deliver on customer need for softness and strength while significantly reducing total environmental impact.
A white roof will help your house to stay cool during warmer months.
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.
The ‘Kiwi House’ is organized around the primal element of fire.
The Sun Mar composting toilet uses a first of its kind technology to deliver a pollution free and sanitary product.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
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.
Solar protection window treatments that never go out of season.
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.
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?
Choose chemical-free organic bedding to start off the new year with healthy rest in a healthy bedroom.
This blog post is a description of starting a building project using Structural Insulated Panels, also known as SIPs.
Follow these three quick, simple steps to take your guest room from lifeless to luxurious.
Protect children's health and the environment by choosing responsibly made toys that are free of lead and other toxins.
Wondermill Grain Mill
News Flash!! Jay Shafer Taking His Tumbleweed Tiny House to Occupy Wall Street NYC
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.
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.
Discussion of some of the first log building tools you will need to build a log home — debarking spuds and drawknives.
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.
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.
The shopping website Hipcycle offers beautiful upcycled products for your home and garden.
Friends and I travel to the Open Source Ecology project in rural Missouri to take a tour and help out laying up earth bricks.
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.
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.
Tour the Baker family’s beautiful, hand-built home which is affordable, green and constructed from salvaged wood and other reused building materials.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Godfrey Stephen's frog carving
Cae Mabon - An Eco-Retreat Centre in North Wales
Traditional woodworking with hand tools
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.
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.
Before winter's chill starts to compromise comfort and elevate home energy bills, there are 5 energy-saving upgrades you can complete.
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."
Treehouse in Washington #1
Great book on San Francisco area wild food
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.
Check out this magical photograph of an energy-efficient dome home and the surprise above.
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.
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.
Pull up a chair and enjoy the view from my back porch. And the smell of fresh manure.
Re-Pac reusable bags replace plastic bags and sell like hotcakes
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.
I made a hole in the ground, and then decorated it with rocks!
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.
Louie Frazier's Yukon flashlight
Solar bottles of light
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
Building a new house with SIPS
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.
Rustic recycled small buildings in Minnesota
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.
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.
Tips for saving energy at home while trying to stay cool.
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.
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.
The Rhombin, a desktop organizer made from a plant-based plastic (bioplastic), merges sustainability with convenience and cutting-edge design.
I had no idea putting dirt in a box was this difficult.
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.
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.
New photos of Lloyd House's Leaf House
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.
Lloyd meditates on the essentials of shelter and our memories of home.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Frontier Natural Products Co-op announced today that it has been awarded LEED Silver certification for a major renovation at its manufacturing facility.
JavaCycle has saved more than 40 tons of burlap coffee bag from landfills.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
Learn to build your own Hand-Crafted Log Home
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
A few things for a tipi dweller to consider in finding the (kind of) perfect property to call home (for a bit).
This home in the Florida Keys captures prevailing breezes and takes advantage of passive cooling techniques such as open walls and a reflective roof to keep its occupants cool and comfortable without air conditioning.
Yellow jackets can pose a threat to honeybees. If yellow jackets have built a nest in your yard, here's a recipe for a natural, non-toxic solution that will get rid of them. Please share your own recommendations too!
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.
Follow the logic trail in how I came to decide upon living in a canvas cone.
InSpire Cedar Shake is an innovative, authentic and durable mineral-filled polyolefin roof tile that delivers the genuine beauty and texture of cedar roofing without any costly regular maintenance or issues inherent with wood.
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
Existing homes that are certified as “green” sold for 30 percent more than homes without such a designation, according to an analysis of the Portland, Oregon, metropolitan region released today by Earth Advantage Institute, a nonprofit green building resource. Newly constructed homes with a sustainability certification sold for 8 percent more than non-certified homes.
This result continues a four-year trend in which new homes with third-party certification for sustainable construction and energy performance have consistently sold for more than newly constructed homes that had not been certified. The term "certified home" includes homes that received an Earth Advantage New Homes, ENERGY STAR, or a LEED for Homes designation, or a combined Earth Advantage/ENERGY STAR certification.
After working four jobs to make payments on their larger home, Debra and Gary downsized--to 320 square feet. The family lacks for nothing, and guests are always welcome. "I've got everything I need," Debra says. And their $20K house is paid off.
Swamp Hut is a complex of four 8-by-12-foot huts surrounding a deck with a fireplace. This an off-the-grid, light-on-the-land summer getaway could easily be replicated in your favorite vacation spot.
The sustainability of one’s home depends as much (if not more) on its location as on how the house is built. If you’re looking to buy land or to buy (or rent) a house, consider the following sustainability criteria when comparing property locations.
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.
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.
Kathy Bennett and Scott Bergford will present workshops on raising sheep and keeping your green home safe at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped out there), a Baton Rouge couple rebuilt a green, energy-efficient house that encourages connection with their neighborhood's "front porch" culture.
Ever wonder what, exactly, you're getting when you pay a little extra for Forest Stewardship Council-certified wood and paper products? This video offers a comprehensive look at the FSC's roots and branches.
This 19th-century Creole cottage was disassembled, moved and meticulously reassembled and restored on a new site in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. Built for its climate, the welcoming home is an excellent example of passive cooling and material reuse.
The $300 House Project challenges student and professional designers to create housing that shelters the poorest of the poor with safety and dignity. Winners will receive cash prizes and the opportunity to see their $300 houses built and reproduced.
Extolling the virtues of salvaging and reusing building materials
Doug Kennedy of TM4 Group will present a workshop on home owner operation and maintenance at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
NXP's wifi light bulb would allow homeowners to turn LED and compact fluorescent lights on and off from anywhere, using any Internet-enabled device. Some say it's the first step toward building "smart" computer-controlled homes. Do we need this?
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
Air conditioning accounts for as much as 20 percent of the average homeowner's utility bill. These simple tips can help you reduce your mechanical cooling needs, meaning more money for you and better-quality air for the world.
Take a lesson from Southerners, who know a thing or two about keeping cool naturally. These homes take advantage of old-fashioned and cutting-edge passive cooling techniques to stay temperate even during hot Southern summers.
Earth floors are a durable, versatile and attractive option for new homes and renovations alike.
Molly McCabe, green remodeler, will present a workshop about sustainable remodeling for kitchens and baths at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative small dwellings that represent a "new, rich architectural typology." Here are eight great examples to start fueling your fantasies.
Aaron Gould, green builder, will present a workshop on the economics of ecobuilding at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
The original weeHouse prefabricated kit house is 435 efficiently designed square feet and comes with everything you need to live well. Need more space? You can snap together two or more of the modules to satisfy your needs.
Every good home needs a porch. From fireside chats to sleeping--and even hanging laundry--porches can accommodate every aspect of our lives. Here are five inspiring examples to put a fire under your porch-sitting fantasies.
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.
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.
In my quest for the most energy efficient ceiling fan, one model blows the rest away. Now is the time to install ceiling fans for lower electricity bills this summer--here's how.
When a group of graduation students began designing a home on the Navajo reservation in southeast Utah, they knew keeping it cool in the desert would be an issue. Their innovative solution--a Windcatcher--is the first of its kind in the area.
Cities such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, are accommodating swelling populations by allowing backyard cottages in existing neighborhoods. The units accommodate renters, elderly relatives and even ex-spouses. Could they make a difference?
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.
Live in a dome home in this week’s Photo of the Week. Remember to submit your own pictures, and you could be the next Photo of the Week!
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
The Phoenix Commotion gives low-income people trade skills and shelter by teaching them to build their own homes--from garbage. You'd be amazed at what can be used to build a house when the desire and commitment exist.
The Japanese are masterful at living in small spaces. We can learn a lot from the superbly designed microhouses that have become a hot trend in Tokyo and beyond. Take a few tours and learn a few tricks in this must-see video.
Made from repurposed shipping containers and recycled steel, based on Prius engineering, with a gray water system and a living roof, this Mojave Desert residence and workplace is a prototype for low-cost prefab kit houses everywhere.
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
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.
“Bed bugs” are small nocturnal insects that feed on blood. Here are some tips for keeping them out of your home, and for getting rid of them--without using toxic pesticides/insecticides--if they do show up.
Think your balcony's too tiny to provide food and fun? Check out Apartment Therapy's great tips for making the most of your outdoor space.
Kate and Jeff are building their off-the-grid dream near Taos, New Mexico. As they build themselves a small straw bale house and make do with a few solar panels, they're realizing how little they really need.
Christy Oates's brilliant fold-out furniture takes up virtually no floor space when it's not in use. It's the perfect solution for small homes--and a hopeful sign for the future of design.
Do you dream about living in a tiny, super-efficient home but worry about living with less space? This list of reasons for living could help push you off the fence. Dream big, live small!
The Lehigh Valley Green Builders is presenting its third annual Green Home and Building Expo.
Otterbine Barebo Inc. expands their Air Flo 2 diffused air system product line by releasing 2-dome and 1-dome diffuser manifold options to the original 4-dome option.
For less than the cost of an SUV, a Michigan couple rehabbed their historic home to include solar panels and a geothermal system. The 110-year-old house now produces more energy than it needs.
Jeld-Wen's new Custom Wood line combines character with energy efficiency in windows and doors made from salvaged, reclaimed wood. It's the best of all possible worlds.
An energy audit can help the homeowner determine the best strategies for improving the home's energy efficiency.
Here's a chance to transform your home into the greenest one on the block and then pay it forward to your neighbors to help paint your whole town "green."
Replacing paper towels with rags is a super simple step toward sustainable living. Follow these simple tips to get disposable paper towels out of your house. You'll never miss them.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
This tiny kit home--less than 90 square feet--is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
Guy and Kay Baker and their three sons spent five years building a small weekend cabin in Alabama from scraps and salvage. When the 1,100-square feet house was complete, they loved it so much they made it their permanent home.
We use more water than we need in our homes every day. If you’re curious to know how much water your own home might be wasting, check out this infographic on U.S. residential water consumption from eLocal.com.
The first Tiny House Conference will take place in Charlotte, North Carolina, on April 16.
The Reincarnated McMansion Project aims to tear down one inefficient, climate-insensitive suburban house and replace it with two small, green, handcrafted homes.
Apartment Therapy's annual Small Cool contest, featuring homes of less than 1,000 square feet, is a gold mine for smart ideas that make tiny spaces elegant, graceful and liveable.
Landscape designer Alma Hecht turned a tiny house into a welcoming home and studio with cozy outdoor "rooms" that extend her living space.
In GE's new bulb, a halogen capsule--which turns on instantly--is nestled inside a compact fluorescent swirl. The halogen bulb turns off when the CFL warms up, maintaining the light's energy efficiency.
Plant a patio garden, get a more efficient TV and change your light bulbs, suggests eco-designer Sabrina Soto.
Treat your building professional as you would want to be treated--and more great advice from contractors and designers who have seen it all.
The square footage of green roofs--which absorb rainwater, regulate temperatures, save energy and resources and provide valuable habitat--grew by 28.5 percent last year.
Nearly 20 years ago, Robert Laporte began experimenting with building a house using straw and Iowa's excellent clay. In the process, he discovered what makes a home's soul.
From a little-known sugar substitute to a conversation-starting book, this list of items for the green kitchen contains a few surprises.
Reacting against the built-for-resale mentality that's destroying our modern homes' liveability, Slow Home Studio offers a path to a more satisfying home.
For an investment of less than $10,000 and about a week of labor, you could have a custom workshop, barn, garden shed or office.
Strongly influenced by wabi-sabi's principles, the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement railed against "the swinish luxury of the rich," ornamental excess and the poverty of people who lacked creativity.
Made from natural minerals, sea salt, water, sand, recycled coal byproducts and natural fibers, CompoClay is a promising alternative to gypsum, engineered wood and resins.
The work invovlve in tranforming a house that wastes energy into a house that's 50%-95% more energy efficient is called a "deep energy retrofit." We need to find ways to do more of these to save energy, money and the environment.
When Steve Sikora and Lynette Erickson-Sikora restored Frank Lloyd Wright's first small, affordable home, they discovered how green the iconic architect really was.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
Homeowners are willing to splurge on kitchen and bath remodels, but they're not interested in building luxury or second homes, according to an American Institute of Architects survey.
See how a structure made from cob, a form of earthen construction, handles a laboratory shake test.
Organic Architect's Eric Corey Freed shows designers what green really means during Dining by Design, a charity event featuring tabletop installations in New York.
An affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
Builders and designers believe that low-e windows, engineered wood products and eat-in kitchens will be key characteristics of new homes in the future.
Essentia introduces the world's first memory foam mattress made without chemicals.
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.
Water-based paints have risen in popularity thanks in part to claims that, compared with oil-based paints, they’re lower in volatile organic compounds (also known as VOCs) that are harmful to breathe. However, some of these paints contain propylene glycol or glycol ethers, and a new study says these solvents are just as risky, especially for children. Here’s why.
A California architect gives a 1920s cabin more space and better views--without disturbing the riparian area it sits on.
Stackable chairs made from molded hemp represent a breakthrough in using the versatile, renewable fiber.
Laundry detergent manufacturer reduces plastic by 66 percent in new easier-to-recycle bottles made from recycled cardboard and newspaper.
While giving her small home a deep green retrofit, designer Tracy Parker finds that reclaimed wood flooring is grounding and gorgeous.
We know that heating, cooling and operating our buildings is responsible for 40 percent of total energy expenditures in this country. That’s a huge percentage. But we also know how to test, evaluate and improve buildings so that energy use can be cut dramatically.
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.
Silicon-based LEDs, expected to hit the market in two or three years, could lower prices by as much as 75 percent.
Ken Ruck wants to build a fully self-sustaining earthship on New York's Lower East Side.
A handful of cities has implemented a new service that lets residents stop junk mail. If your city isn't one of them, you have options to keep wasteful, unwanted solicitations and catalogs out of your mailbox.
Any net zero-energy home needs two things. The first is the sun, providing passive solar energy. The second necessity is retaining maximum heat.
Experts say that that bathroom and kitchen remodels--once a sure-fire way to move a home for sale--aren't necessarily the ticket anymore. Creating a house that feels homey and welcoming is most important.
Homeowners and renters who made five or more energy-efficient improvements found satisfying savings, a new study finds.
Leap Adaptive's 480-square-foot, energy-efficient Hummingbird kit house makes green living affordable.
Fracking, buying American, GMOs and unplugging topped the green news this week.
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.
A new study warns that energy-efficient LED light bulbs contain potentially hazardous metals. Some lights had eight times the amount of lead allowed by California law.
A wonderful, whimsical Austin eco-remodel is the playful expression of two highly creative minds.
Wouldn’t it be nice to live in a home that uses less energy? Saving energy is not only good for the environment, it’s also nice to have lower heating and electric bills! There are numerous ways to save energy at home, but if you’re dreaming of a home that’s the ultimate in energy efficiency, take a look at the Passive House standard. This performance-based certification, which is already popular in Europe, is starting to catch on in the United States. It sets a maximum level of energy use per square foot of the house. Altogether, a Passive House will use an estimated 90 to 95 percent less energy for heating and cooling and 60 to 70 percent less overall energy than a typical code-built home. Builders are reaching this high level of energy efficiency by using high levels of insulation, high-performance windows and super-efficient ventilation systems.
Washington, D.C., Nevada and New Mexico see the most LEED-certified green building per capita in 2010.
Together, wabi (humility) and sabi (beauty in rust) become more than the sum of their parts--a philosophy that promotes peace, serenity and respite in our homes.
A graduate student experiences the comfort and efficiency of a superinsulated, passive solar home in Taos.
Smaller spaces, simplifying and creating healthy homes are top trends in home improvement.
With no building experience but a lot of determination, Gary Zuker built an 800-square-foot straw-clay home on the shores of Lake Travis in Texas--for $40,000.
Location near public transporation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
EU's ban of five chemicals commonly used in building materials will "shake up the industry," Healthy Building Network official predicts.
Healthy home advocates are concerned that wireless power and gas meters, which are being installed in homes across the country, could release dangerous radiation.
Consumers are intrigued by smart grid technology, but they need a lot more information and better tools before they'll participate.
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.
Denise Franklin's 280-square-foot cabin in British Columbia provides everything she needs--and more.
Re-Nest's list of its favorite Etsy stores makes navigating the handmade goods shopping site easier to navigate.
Green products rule at Ambiente 2011, the world's most important consumer goods fair, in Frankfurt, Germany, this week.
The Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products asks designers and builders to spec materials with lower carbon footprints.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
A new open-source website helps consumers track where their products come from.
The L41 is a mass-produced, superefficient home designed to provide affordable shelter for everyone.
When he renovated his 816-square-foot condo in Boulder, Colorado, Greg Miller borrowed space-saving and efficiency solutions from his years of living on the road. Check out this video of his van, prepped for adventure.
Your simply imperfect arsenal for getting the whole house clean--naturally.
During national bedbug summit, health experts urge thorough cleaning and heat as the best prevention and cure for the nasty pests.
Ranging in size from 528 square feet to 960 square feet, miniHomes are a combination of park model trailer, manufactured home and code-compliant residences that combine modern design with state-of-the-art building technology.
While many indications point to house size shrinking in America, National Public Radio reports that the McMansion is far from dead.
Some consumers are wary of the impending federal phaseout of incandescent light bulbs. Are you?
The Council of Better Business Bureaus National Advertising Division recommends that Sherwin-Williams modify or discontinue advertising claims that its “Harmony” paint line is completely free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
California architect Matthew Hofman gives a 1978 Airstream a good green makeover.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
Most of us would love to live in energy-efficient homes that are good for the environment and have low, low energy bills. But what are the best real options available? How do you create an extremely energy-efficient home that’s still affordable for most people?
One of the best ways to learn about green homes is to explore real-world examples--by touring homes or reading about them online. This article links to free online collections of case studies and in-depth profiles of green homes.
While corporate progress toward sustainability may seem agonizingly slow, GreenBiz editors found plenty to cheer about in 2010--and believe 2011 will be a banner year for green initiatives.
EcoSharing.net lets you easily swap, give away or borrow items from your Facebook friends.
Chinese worker Chen Shun Qun says she is paid and treated fairly at the factory that makes Natural Home bamboo kitchen tools.
Natural Home bamboo kitchen tools are made without formaldehyde or other harmful additives, through a process that eliminates waste.
Extend the life of your washer and dryer and save money on repairs with these 10 tips.
Natural Home chose bamboo for its kitchenware line because it's both sustainable and beautiful.
The “One Good Chair” competition winners, announced at Winter Las Vegas Market, demonstrate that minimal materials can result in maximum comfort.
Cree's new dimmable LED bulb emits a warm, incandescent-like color.
Weatherproof your log home by chinking or caulking to seal up gaps between the wood.
These space-saving, smart front loading units perfectly accommodate apartments and small spaces and eliminate the need to wash your clothes, remove them from the washer and place them into a separate machine for drying.
Learn building methods from the experts, such as what types of soil to use and how much to use.
The best option is to prevent the issue of shrinking before you build. Make sure logs are dry first!
Having your water tested is the best way to learn about contaminants.
Learn from an expert about how a water softener works with well water.
Green home improvement and retrofit projects that only require a minimal investment and that have a sure (and often speedy) payback. These relatively low-cost improvements can reap real savings. Plus, a link to info on tax credits and rebates.
Simran Sethi discusses easy (and free) ways to reduce your water footprint.
Are you thinking about building a cordwood home? Learn about cordwood homes from the experts. Find out the life-expectancy and the maintenance involved with cordwood houses.
Concrete rubble from collapsed buildings is a huge problem in Haiti. It is blocking roads and hindering reconstruction. Instead of spending millions of dollars trucking the rubble away and disposing of it, why not use it to build affordable housing?
The Esse Ironheart stove multitasks to provide wood heat in three different forms: space heat, cooking heat and heat for domestic water. Read more to see what the Brits are so excited about, and to determine whether the Ironheart would make a good addition to your home.
One of the greatest needs in the world is disaster resistant housing – houses that can hold up against hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters. Properly designed structures can save millions of lives and millions of structures every year.
Green America offers savvy shoppers daily discounts--and reassurance that they're buying green--through GreenDeals.
Simran Sethi discusses how to green your bathroom in easy ways: through your choice of toilet paper, shower curtain, and towels.
The U.S. Green Building Council's Project of the Year is a small, urban home built for $100 per square foot.
Find out how wabi-sabi, an ancient Japanese philosophy that promotes attention, reverence, generosity and respect, can build the foundation of a happy home.
Learn how to identify and expel radon, the second leading cause of lung cancer in the U.S., from your home.
Marley Audio Electronics collection, which debuted last week, showcases premium, eco-conscious manufacturing and materials, including hemp.
Home energy management, electric cars and solar gadgets take starring roles at consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show.
As Passive House Institute standards up the ante, USA Today’s “Best Green Homes of 2010” list reflects Americans’ desire for affordability, efficiency and style.
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.
Simran Sethi describes the choices she made for her eco-friendly kitchen remodel.
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.
Simple Living star Wanda Urbanska offers 3 easy steps to a serene, streamlined bedroom.
Tumbleweed Tiny House Company founder Jay Shafer teaches Americans how to build efficient homes of less than 1,000 square feet.
Clean air does not need to be expensive.
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
Our favorite natural homes of 2010 range in size and grandiosity, from a 280-square-foot mountain cottage to an urban warehouse-cum-artists’-loft. Every one of them can teach us a lot about living green.
From West Africa to the Netherlands, furniture designers find oil drums an abundant, green material.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
Definitions of terms used in low-cost building technique articles. Originally published in "MOTHER'S $10-PER-SQUARE-FOOT (OR LESS!) EARTH-SHELTERED HOUSE: PART II" in the January/February 1984 issue of MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
If you have access to small diameter trees and wood pallets, and live in an area not restricted by building codes, then this truss design is one good low cost roof option. If you do all the work yourself, these trusses are virtually free.
Simran Sethi writes about choosing eco-friendly paints, tiles, and other aspects of her renovated bathroom.
Some of Natural Home’s favorite paint and wallcovering companies get pretty in pink.
Natural Home is ahead of the most recent trends, highlighted in the National Association of Remodeling Industry’s builder poll.
Home design apps for smart phones and iPads make visualizing your dream home even easier.
Made from bamboo, wood and grass seed, this tiny house could be our future.
Building housing projects in developing regions is extremely rewarding, but also quite challenging. It’s prudent to draw ideas from as many resources as possible to improve the process. The following guidelines have proven effective.
Simran Sethi explains her bathroom-remodel goals to conserve water.
Conserval’s transpired air collectors are stylish and efficient. Marketed as SolarWall, simple solar-absorbing panels heat fresh air before it enters a building. Clients have earned LEED points, saved money and decreased their carbon footprints.
The U.S. Green Building Council singles out the Forest Stewardship Council as the only trusted wood certifier.
Have you had a home energy audit done before? A home energy audit can show you the best ways to make your home more energy efficient.
Simran Sethi writes about the importance of eco-friendly mattresses, bed frames, and bedding.
BuildingGreen’s 2010 Top 10 Green Building Products list includes a low-flow toilet, composite decking, a high-performing wall system and other products that conserve energy and resources.
GE Unveils Unique Hybrid Halogen-CFL Light Bulb Coming in 2011
Two new federal programs, the Home Energy Scoring program and the PowerSaver program, make it easier for homeowners to save energy.
Sustainsia’s compact, green-built work pod could solve my office needs.
Simran Sethi seeks out advice and inspiration from her audio interview with home organizer Amy Thomas.
This article describes an alternative roof design for those building in areas without building codes. A little extra effort working with poles will reward you with a stunningly beautiful wood ceiling and superinsulated roof at very reasonable cost.
Keep spiders and other crawling bugs out of your house by using a nontoxic pest control: diatomaceous earth.
Simran Sethi works with Amy Thomas, professional organizer, to eliminate clutter and develop clutter-free habits.
The thousands of families who have built affordable homes, cash up front, made of earthbags, straw bales, cordwood, cob and rammed tires are not in danger of losing their homes in the current mortgage crisis.
Much of the material removed for a remodeling project can be recycled instead of sent to a landfill. A Country Lore tip from the December 2010/January 2011 issue.
You may be able to get rid of mice in your walls by scattering about cotton balls soaked in peppermint oil. A Country Lore tip from the December 2010/January 2011 issue.
Learn what it means to have LEED-certified home and about the LEED for Homes program that started in 2008.
A Wisconsin community used cordwood construction to build an education center for a local school. The center is powered by solar PV and utilizes passive solar construction principles.
Does your home need more insulation? Chances are the answer is yes. Many of today’s houses are woefully underinsulated, which means that you may be able to save considerable energy and money by adding insulation to your home. Here’s how to assess insulation levels in walls, attics and basements, and a quick guide to how to install additional insulation if you need it.
Simran Sethi interviews Tom Kostigen about water waste and conservation.
What does it take to build truly sustainable houses – the kind people really want and can afford? If you build small and use natural building materials, then most likely you’ll be able to build your own home in a reasonable amount of time for cash.
Conventional flooring and wallpaper products contain high levels of toxic chemicals, an Ecology Center study finds.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
Simran Sethi discusses the "wood" that makes up our kitchen cabinets, as well as more eco-friendly (and people-friendly) alternatives.
Green builders and home preservationists have a common goal: conservation. If you’re looking to bring an older home up to modern standards of green building, you’ll need to understand the basics of fixing a home’s foundation, and what can cause foundation failure.
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
Simran Sethi looks into the furniture and logging industries.
Earthbag building has just received engineering approval. This is probably the greatest news ever for earthbag building. With engineer-approved plans, we see unlimited potential for earthbag building for homes, shops, schools, you name it.
A clogged sink can be fixed without harsh chemicals!
Woodstoves can have indoor or outdoor air supplies depending on factors and requirements for the building.
Share your opinion: Are you contemplating installing a solar-electric panel for your home?
Adjusting the timing of your water heater could help you increase energy savings.
Though it reuses a waste material, fly ash concrete contains traces of mercury and other chemicals from coal-burning power plants. Do you want that in your home?
Next spring, President Obama will install a solar panels on the roof of the White House. The photovoltaic system will provide hot water and some electricity for the White House living quarters.
I am especially concerned with the electricity hogs that keep us burning coal.
The earthbag/geotextile basement wall system described here has excellent potential to save on initial construction costs and long-term energy costs. No concrete is used. The same principles have been used to build retaining walls for decades.
Here's what it means when a building department requires "sealed drawings" of your project.
Here's the scoop on composting toilets, including the environmental benefits, how much they cost and how well they work.
Radiant floor heating may save energy in the average home, but for especially well insulated new houses, here's why it's probably not your best option.
Jane Koger designed her home in the Flint Hills of Kansas using a number of sustainable strategies, from building with salvaged lumber and limestone to insulating with bales of native Indiangrass to getting her power from the wind and sun. In this excerpt from the book “The Hybrid House” by Catherine Wanek, Koger, a fourth-generation homesteader, shares how she built and maintains her beautiful, energy-efficient home, what she’s doing to help prairie wildlife, and what she loves about her life of frugal comfort on the land.
GoodLight is first to offer sustainable, non-toxic candles for restaurants.
Bed bugs are taking over America. You can prevent them naturally.
Recently, I had an epiphany in a building supply center. Even though I’ve been in the building trades for over 35 years and made countless trips to purchase building supplies, this trip was different.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
Simple living expert Wanda Urbanska at the 2010 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, according to a recent American Institute of Architects report.Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, says an American Institute of Architects report.
Six rug and carpet companies have joined the GoodWeave certification program, which works to end illegal child labor in the South Asian carpet industry.
A zero-energy home — a home that produces as much energy as it consumes — slashes or eliminates utility bills, and even creates the potential for the home to make money by selling energy to a utility. In this excerpt from the book “Toward a Zero Energy Home,” authors David Johnston and Scott Gibson explain why green building shouldn’t be just about expensive photovoltaic panels and wind turbines, but should also focus on reducing the total amount of energy a home needs. Learn about the basics of zero-energy, near-zero-energy, off-the-grid and carbon-neutral homes, and how these exciting abodes are redefining what it means to build green.
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.
SunRay Kelley’s Gypsy Wagon is an exciting, sustainable home on wheels built from a camper vehicle.
Auburn University students build a home using bales of non-recyclable corrugated cardboard.
The tankless water heater new design adheres to our corporate philosophy of practicing the Three Rs; of Reduce, Recycle and Reuse.
Weatherization Program Nearly Doubles Payback in One Easy Step with GE's new GeoSpring™ Hybrid Water Heater
Nearly every home has small openings that allow air to seep in and out — from large gaps, such as a missing windowpane, to nearly invisible cracks around windows and doors. You can save a ton of money on your heating and cooling bills by taking the time to seal up these air leaks, and it’s amazingly cheap and easy to do.
Information about energy-efficient washing machines and cellular window shades. These energy-efficient appliances and window shades will please environmentally conscious consumers.
Share your thoughts. What homemade and natural cleaning products do you find work best in your home?
Simran Sethi comes to terms with getting rid of the mouse in her home.
Is your home winter ready? Go through these 11 questions to see where your money might be falling through the cracks. Plus, find solutions and winterize your home to save money and conserve energy this winter.
BuildingGreen.com founder and Environmental Building News editor Alex Wilson wins Hanley Award for Vision and Leadership in Sustainable Housing.
Simran Sethi discusses what it takes for a home to be truly clean by avoiding harsh chemicals and using natural cleaning products.
Your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore is a great place to find inexpensive building supplies and appliances, and you can even donate your leftover supplies when your project is complete. Proceeds from your purchases support Habitat for Humanity and future housing projects.
The Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Act establishes tough formaldehyde emission standards for household products made from composite wood.
Saving the Barn’s Barn Cats is proud to announce it’s branching out with a new line of structures constructed of historic recycled materials.
Mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will stop accepting loans from the nationwide Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) program, which helps homeowners pay for the cost of energy-efficient retrofits.
A look at the completed project and some of the features.
Making your home more energy efficient has many benefits. Not only does it reduce your energy bills, it can make your home more comfortable. But here’s something you should know: Some of the most effective things you can do to make your home more energy efficient aren’t the most obvious. Here are some tips for finding the home improvements that make the most sense for your home.
To meet its goal of making all new buildings carbon-neutral by 2030, the American Institute of Architects introduces an online tool that help designers predict how much energy their buildings will use.
High-efficiency washers save energy, water and money with every load. And with the average household washing 400 loads per year, those savings add up.
The GeoSpring hybrid water heater from GE continues its impressive run of firsts.
The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicted in January—Americans are moving to smaller homes.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors endorses mandatory green building codes for all new commercial buildings nationwide.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented an air conditioner, the DEVap, that’s up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional ACs.
The Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, expected to pass this summer, offers rebates for windows, doors, skylights, window films and storm windows and doors.
Ceiling fans help cool people naturally, and use a lot less energy than air conditioners. Use them to save on energy.
Green builder Don Ferrier has built a zero energy home in north Texas using a classic design, structural insulated panels (SIPs) and recycled materials. The casita’s location, combined with Ferrier’s unique design, create a one-of-a-kind green building that creates all of the energy it uses.
Vinyl (PVC) has been called many names: toxic, dangerous and carcinogenic to name a few. But is latex really as bad as the hype suggests? Read both sides of the story, and then tell us what you think about the PVC debate.
When the Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010 passes (as expected) this summer, be prepared by learning what to expect when you buy a water heater, heating system, air-source air conditioner or heat pump.
Use naturally cool nighttime air to provide summer comfort. It's a lot easier than you think and it can save you a fortune on cooling costs.
The “Cash for Caulkers” home-retrofitting program, known as the Home Star program, is expected to pass the Senate this summer. The bill offers rebates for 13 different types of retrofits, including insulation and air and duct sealing
This week green building author, architect and Natural Home columnist Carol Venolia dispenses advice on green remodeling during workshops sponsored by Design~Build~Live in Austin, Texas.
Water conservation can help you save big on money and energy. Here are a few ways to help you conserve water at home by simply using water-efficient appliances.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi spends her first night in her new home and reflects on the struggles and triumphs of the journey thus far.
Clotheslines are the most energy-efficient—but not always the most practical--drying option. Levi Strauss’s Care to Air contest offers $10,000 for innovations that would improve or replace the clothesline.
The ARCX dome has been sold to young couple!
From switching out light bulbs to bundling up your water heater, environmental journalist, Simran Sethi, shares some simple and stress-free tips on how to save energy in your home.
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!
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!
Hundreds of gallons of water can slip down the pipes if you own a leaky toilet. You can save water by checking for toilet leaks using simple tricks or by replacing your old model with a water saving-toilet.
The Niagara Conservation Corporation has developed a new pressure-assisted toilet, the Stealth, which uses even less water than your standard pressure-assisted toilet.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi investigates the greenest way to move to a new house.
On the brink of settling into her new home, environmental journalist Simran Sethi shares some tidbits of eco-information, such as how to box and save for the move, and how a few simple changes can make your home cozier and more energy-efficient.
Problems with drywall continue as the Environmental Protection Agency finds traces of mercury and formaldehyde in drywall products.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi stays thankful for what’s important in the midst of a big move.
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 Home Star Energy Retrofit Act of 2010, which passed the House on May 5, would provide $6 billion in rebates to homeowners who make energy-efficient upgrades to their homes.
So many paint colors to choose from for Simran Sethi’s home, but one standard must be met: no VOCs or harmful chemicals.
Environmental journalist Simran Sethi goes through the process of rejuvenating her hardwood floors, and describes how to avoid harmful ingredients in cleaning products, such as volatile organic compounds, in the process.
Michael Morley is posting regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here he talks about HVAC work and installing windows.
If you were to add on to your home, how would you make the most of the additional space? Planning a sunroom addition has many advantages. A well-designed sunspace helps produce heat for your home during the winter and provides a perfect place for growing herbs, flowers and vegetables. In the summer, a sunspace should be ventilated and cool. You can create this kind of comfortable, productive living space for your home by understanding a few basic principles of passive solar design.
The American Institute of Architects’ Committee on the Environment has picked 2010’s best examples of sustainable architecture. The buildings feature a wide range of architectural styles, and many have LEED Platinum certification.