solar electric system
AC solar panels are an intriguing new idea on the PV market. The panels themselves still produce DC, but each panel would come with its own attached micro-inverter, which converts the DC to AC.
With new breakthroughs in solar electricity coming out every year, should you wait before investing in a solar electric system? Energy expert Dan Chiras discusses cost of PV modules in terms of cost per watt of installed capacity.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
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.
Senator Bernie Sanders’ new bill would promote installation of 10 million new rooftop solar energy systems and 200,000 solar hot water heating systems in the United States in the next decade.
This handy online tool helps calculate your solar energy potential based on your location.
In the United States, renewable energy is growing, but we still don't get very much of our electricity from renewable sources. How can we speed things up?
The energy a PV system will produce during its lifetime far exceeds the amount of energy it takes to produce the PV system
Here’s advice from a renewable energy expert about what you can expect to pay for a solar-electric system to power your home.
When you're ready to price or purchase a new solar system, findsolar.com has everything you need.
A new technology developed at MIT, solar concentrators, could dramatically reduce the cost of photovoltaic (PV) power.
Take this quiz from How Stuff Works and learn more about how solar panels produce electricity.
Check out the PV Watts calculator and find out how much solar-electric power you can generate in your part of the world.
Start cutting your electricity use today, and it will save you a bundle of cash on a renewable energy system when you're ready to buy one.
If we want more electricity from renewable sources, we need to think about upgrades to our electric grid.
This one policy makes it much easier to pay for a solar or wind-electric system, but not every state offers it.
Chicago has decided to convert its entire garbage truck fleet to electric trucks from Motiv Power Systems, making it the first city in the U.S. to have a zero-emission fleet.
There are a growing number of small, solar-powered gadgets for sale including solar flashlights, radios, cell phone chargers, outdoor motion lights and more. Are you using any of these small solar products? Do you find them useful? Tell us what you think!
Let's take a trip back into the Mother Earth News archive to learn more about thin-film solar.
Leafy greens are among the most nutritious foods you can eat, but what if they contain systemic pesticides like imidacloprid? New pesticides that are taken up by plants mean there may be pesticides in food crops like collards and kale, not just on the surface.
Dan Chiras and other energy experts envision a future powered by a combination of renewable energy resources, including wind and solar.
Share your opinion: Are you contemplating installing a solar-electric panel for your home?
Comly Wilson, Associate with CleanEdison, a solar installation training provider, offers her tips to remedy 6 common mistakes solar PV installers make when setting up new photovoltaic systems.
This is the hands on portion of how a solar power system operates.
There are many different ways to bring solar power into your home. Here's a quick overview of the different ways people use solar energy, with links to related articles and plans.
Is the electric car all it's cracked up to be? Let's find out!
What's it take to build your own SOLAR-POWERED Electric Car? How about starting small with some hardware store parts and an old child's ride-on toy? Read how a tinkerer Dad builds a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with just basic tools and skills.
Cam is back riding his solar-powered electric bike and he loves it!
A lot of people have been asking us what incentives are still in place for 2012. The answer: All of them. While there were a few changes in 2011, the majority of programs that will impact the average homeowner remain the same. Here is an overview...
SANYO North America Corporation (SANYO) announces the availability of its most advanced HIT Power® solar module, the HIT Power 220A, offering improved efficiency and energy output -- and designed to energize integrators and installers with more power per square foot than ever before.
Conventional generators require gasoline or diesel fuel, which can be expensive -- especially during emergencies. Also, the emissions from gas-powered generators contribute to air pollution. Solar generators are a smart alternative to consider.
The Evergreen Institute's application to provide continuing education for LEED accredited professionals has been approved by the U.S. Green Building Council. A variety of workshops meeting required standards are now available for those interested in anything from solar electricity to straw bale construction.
Great tips for managing a septic system.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
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.
While it may seem like an easy fix or prevention method, septic system additives, generally used to kill bacteria, aren’t as effective — or safe — as you would hope.
Western civilization is totally dependent upon cheap and abundant energy. Three quarters of the petroleum we burn in our engines is imported. Could it be cut off suddenly? Without cheap and abundant energy, our way of life would collapse. If we value our freedom and independence, we should not be relying on foreign petroleum. We should be making our own energy.
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.
How big is that wind turbine exactly? For a frame of reference on the different sizes, check out these photos and links.
Ever wondered which countries around the world are installing the most wind power?
How does the amount of electricity you use each month compare to the average American household?
Relish is a blog about celebrating delicious alternatives to America's industrial food system.
Is it possible that the sheer extra number of calories produced by our food system could be partly responsible for the extra number of inches being tacked on to our waistlines? Is it possible that, by directing subsidies to the production of commodity crops used to produce grains and oils, our current agricultural policy is contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Daniel Sheridan found a way to turn children's energy into electrical power with a see-saw that generates electricity. The see-saw should generate enough electricity to light a classroom for a whole evening after only five to 10 minutes of use.
Steve explains what he's learned over 20 years of using generators and monitoring advances in design.
A short simple explanation of how to project your electrical needs in order to size your electrical off grid system.
This is the last of a series in home and energy options available to us. It is a short summary of all of the choices we have when designing a new home on or off grid that will benefit your energy use.
The Army gets greener by switching 4,000 gas engine vehicles to electic vehicles starting Monday.
One of the realities of country life is having to get your septic tank pumped every few years.
A good idea that could work for wildfire mitigation.
Almost everyone uses a computer these days. But not everyone knows how much energy is consumed by that one device.Most appliances or electronics tell you the number of watts they use. An average CPU uses 120 watts, while the monitor uses 150 watts. That's 270 watts of power while in use, but there are several easy ways to reduce that amount.
Texas is already the U.S. leader in wind power, and that lead is about to get even bigger.
This week, I've been using a Kill-a-Watt at home. It's a small meter that costs about $25, and you can use it to measure the electricity consumption of your appliances and home electronics.
Information and advice from the Small Wind Certification Council on creating wind power in your own backyard.
When you start measuring electricity use, you may be surprised by which appliances and electronics use the most energy.
Here are the basic options for buying your electricity from sustainable sources.
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.
If you want to live independently, it's always good to have backup because no one else is coming to the rescue. This is how we did it.
One of the first steps to building our homestead in Texas was to get water and electricity on the property so we had the basics from which we could build. This blog discusses how we implemented the first phase of our utilities.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
With the Smart ForTwo electric drive, Smart is underlining its pioneering role on the road to attractive individual mobility with no local emissions in cities and urban areas.
At the Vetter Fuel Challenge in Ohio, vehicles powered by electricity, diesel and gasoline competed to see who would consume the least fuel in dollars and cents.
It's easy to find out what fuels your power comes from using this nifty tool from the EPA.
The stylish new Sanyo eneloop bike features a partially-self-charging electric motor and can travel up to 40 miles on a single charge.
Current Motor Company recently introduced a line of electric scooters that could take you where you need to go without using a single drop of gasoline. And with a potential $2,000 discount for new customers, the electric scooters could help your wallet while you help the environment.
The community of Penobscot, Maine, has declared their local food sovereigny in a move to bypass restrictive state and federal regulations.
New Roots for Refugees, a program in the Kansas City area, helps fleeing refugees establish a new home and contributes to the local food system.
Guidance for aspiring micro dairy owners and managers when navigating regulations and permitting on the local and state levels.
The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s upcoming annual conference on sustainable farming will focus on how to achieve sustainability in our food system, as well as the future of agriculture in general.
Bill Clinton has 10 recommendations for what the U.S. government should be doing to promote cleaner energy.
Have you found helpful ways to cut your energy use at home? Whether it's turning down the thermostat or installing new light bulbs, tell us what you've done to conserve energy and how well it's worked.
How much electricity is your computer using right now? You might be surprised how easy it is to find out.
Zero to 60 mph in 3.9 seconds. Equivalent of 256 mpg. 220 mile range. Costs less than 2 cents per mile to drive. I'm in love. And you will be, too, after watching this video.
Life with an EV 12,000 miles later.
When you need tools for low-impact living, where do you go to find them?
Here's a 12-step process to green transportation bliss.
BioSafe Systems, LLC is the manufacturer of sustainable and environmentally responsible disease control solutions.
The Roots and Culture Tour is an incredible opportunity for all those interested in working towards a more sustainable and just food system to dive into the local food system in the small and amazing Talamanca Region of Costa Rica.
Selecting the location for the Bob-White Systems’ micro dairy barn.
Why we chose to build the Bob-White Systems barn we did.
Choosing cows for the Bob-White Systems micro dairy.
Steve shares an approach he installed at a friend's place for easing the burden of priming seasonal water systems
The Fisker Karma plug-in hybrid electric car won't be for everyone, given its high price tag. But this sleek and cutting-edge electric car could break the mold for green cars and raise the bar for electric car technology and production.
A new tool released by the U.S. Department of Energy allows drivers to compare fuel costs of electric cars with those of gas-powered vehicles.
A new bill will give drivers money to buy newer, more fuel-efficient cars when they scrap their older, less fuel-efficient ones.
I've never been more excited for 2010.
The automaker plans to add new DC quick-charging stations, capable of recharging to 80 percent in about 30 minutes, to dealerships across the country.
New EPA regulations require 35 percent reduced emissions from lawn-care equipment by 2011.
Our friend Pat Sweeney has built himself an Electric MAX - a DIY Locost with a DIY electric power plant.
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
The political system is not broken.
Cities, counties and states across the country have created food policy councils in response to their concerns about future food security in their communities. The councils work to coordinate local food efforts, such as farmers markets, to develop a sustainable food system.
Join the conversation about the best way to ensure a safe food supply.
A simple, practical and easy option for priming seasonal water systems.
Solar panels are strong enough to resist damage from most hail. But if you live in an area where large hail is common, there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk.
Student teams prepare to compete in the U.S. Department of Energy hosted, fourth biyearly Solar Decathlon, where they will be judged on the overall quality of their solar-powered homes.
The Appalachian State University team will be blogging about their progress on the solar home they are building for the 2011 Solar Decathlon.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has launched a new tool to help communities assess their readiness for plug-in electric vehicles.
As more manufacturers introduce new electric vehicles to the market, prices go down and electric car sales go way, way up.
Swiss manufacturer Stromer has announced a sweepstakes to give away a new electric bicycle in the U.S.
The Environmental Protection Agency announced a list of the top 20 on-site renewable electtricity generators.
Earlier this month a plan was drafted to remove all plasma screen televisions from California retail shelves.
Custom Curve is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Micro Dairy Industry Leader, Bob-White Systems, Launches E-Commerce Site.
This clever basement sump pump is designed to keep water out of your home during hurricanes and other severe storms.
Bike-share systems are popping up in cities across the Midwest as bike sharing becomes a more popular transportation option.
Permaculture is a holistic, integrative design for a sustainable future: registrations now open for D Acres' 2012 Permaculture Design Course!
Building a vibrant local community through local economics and rural culture.
In “The Root Development of Vegetable Crops” botanist John E. Weaver meticulously illustrates the complex layers of vegetable root growth.
Nokero International has been awarded the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s ‘Patents for Humanity’ award.
Admirals Alternatives make it easier to obtain renewable energy systems for your home.
Passive Houses use only 5 percent of heating energy compared to traditional houses.
On a wintry Sunday morning, I can’t think of much I’d rather do than settle in at the kitchen table with a cup of fresh coffee and read the big, fat Sunday New York Times.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology has developed a way to double electricity from solar cells by using dyed glass.
Admirals Bank opens Renewable Energy Lending Business Development Center in San Francisco.
The GateMate, by Cartell, has the lowest current draw in standby than any other free exit system on the market.
A new company has redesigned the typical shape of solar panels to be more three-dimensional.
Here are the pros and cons of using south facing windows for home heating, rather than solar collectors.
If you need a new car — and want one that employs green vehicle technology or hybrid vehicle technology to save gas — there’s no major reason to wait.
Electric car battery range is worse in cold weather: A drop of just 10 degrees could theoretically sap up to 50 percent of a battery’s charge.
The sales history of the Toyota Prius illustrates an exciting phenomenon: When a new idea or a piece of technology ignites the human imagination, it can spread very rapidly.
What's the plural of Prius? Whatever it is, there are lots of them out there.
One of the top automotive journalists around agrees that the future is bright for plug-in hybrids, even more so than fuel-cell vehicles.
How I traveled 500 miles in 24 miles (twice) in an electric vehicle.
Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.
Two electric cars, the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf, will be released this year. Which would you buy?
Been on the hunt for an electric or hybrid minivan? The options are currently limited in the United States, but a wider selection of green minivan options should be on the market soon.
Do you see yourself in an electric car? Dan Chiras lists the benefits of driving an electric vehicle, and predicts the benefits will increase as the technology becomes more sophisticated.
Celebrate the third annual National Plug In day on Sept. 29, 2013, and see what electric cars are all about.
If you go shopping for an electric bike, you’ll find a wide range of prices and brands. Discover how to determine the best electric bicycle brands for your lifestyle.
Two easy steps to reduce your electrical use whether you live off grid or not.
Find out what different states are doing to promote power from renewable sources, including solar and wind energy.
We’d like to hear more about your experiences with green power. Is it available where you live? How does the price compare to what you would otherwise pay for electricity? Why have you — or haven’t you — chosen this option?
Should we be building more garbage incinerators in the United States? Leave a comment and tell us what you think.
Robert Zwald grew up in the 1900s, farming in Minnesota. This is part two of his stories from the past, as compiled by his daughter, Ruth.
Henry Red Cloud has a lot to do with the wind energy education happening in South Dakota on the Pine Ridge and Rosebud reservations. Along with these tribes, the interest in wind energy is spreading across the nation, especially to Arizona, and outside organizations are lending a hand.
Human-powered generators cleverly derive electricity from something we already use in abundance — human movement — offering an easy way to tap renewable energy for anyone interested in a low-impact lifestyle. Two creative generators caught our attention: a merry-go-round that supplies light for poor Ghanaian schools and a revolving door that lights up a train station.
Al Gore is calling on Americans to support a rapid transition to renewable energy. Tell us what you think.
Electric car charging infrastructure will be launched in major urban areas nationwide. This is in part due to $15 million in stimulus money being set aside for the charging stations. Now we need to get the remaining $22 million in co-funding.
Triton College has installed electric car charging stations in an effort to promote greener lifestyles in the community.
Electric car batteries are at risk of warming up too quickly in high temperatures. Here’s how to help EV batteries beat the heat.
I hate to say it — because electric cars may be the salvation of transportation someday — but much of the current hype around electric cars is smoke and mirrors.
Dan Chiras asks why GM hasn't brought the EV1 back yet.
“Green,” sustainable homes that deliver low cost of ownership.
Heat Recovery innovator produces a safe hot water heating system kit for wood stoves.
On Monday, May 2, Adventure Cycling Association kicked off its second annual grassroots fundraising effort to raise $30,000 to support ongoing coordination efforts for the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS).
Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) today announced that AASHTO’s Special Committee on U.S. Route Numbering has approved six new U.S. Bicycle Routes.
This week Adventure Cycling Association announced that our 2011 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign for the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) surpassed its $30,000 goal, raising over $31,000 for the project during National Bike Month!
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.
Most Americans believe that cleaning products are required to list ingredients on labels. They're not. But Whole Foods is taking matters into its own hands with a color-coded rating system that holds manufacturers accountable for green claims.
Since the U.S. House of Represenatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the U.S. Senate started work on its own energy and clilmate change bill.
A brief announcement of a rare educational opportunity ... a wind turbine installation. We'll be installing a 2.5 kW Skystream wind turbine on a 127-foot tilt-up tower.
Garlic has been used medicinally for thousands of years, and ethnobotanist James Duke, Ph.D., one of the world’s leading experts in medicinal plants, places garlic among the best all-around plant medicines in the world. Learn about the host of ailments garlic can alleviate and prevent, and discover some of the added health perks of this flavorful, folklore-infused herb.
Kingtec K25Z-4 will not only cut the spiralling out of control energy demand from the power-hungry air-conditioning unit of the world but it can also cut a struggling families electric bill significantly.
This is a summary of our attendance at the IBS show in Jan. Also a re-cap of Jan events and our transistion into the construction phase of the project. We also talk about the decision for the competiton to be moved off the Nationa Mall in DC
As tough economic times hit the renewable energy industry, unsold solar panels are collecting dust in warehouses in many parts of the country. But in Gainesville, Florida, homes, buildings and schools are glittering with brand new panels, installed after the city passed a feed-in tariff law, requiring the power company to buy renewable energy from local producers.
After a five month struggle, the San Francisco board of supervisors approved a program called GoSolarSF, making solar installations more affordable for its citizens.
Without federal subsidies, the future of solar power looks grim. Fortunately, the Obama administration is giving solar a boost with four new large-scale solar projects.
Here’s how to find good background information on residential solar energy systems, including locating solar installers and finding advice on particular products.
QSolar Limited today announced that it has introduced its' new Kristal and Kristal Rainbow range of semi-transparent and colour semi-transparent solar panels.
The Solar Decathletes begin assembly on the National Mall at midnight, Oct. 1. But just getting the houses into D.C. is no simple task.
Find out how to enter our Solar Giveaway.
Team Germany takes first place in the 2009 Solar Decathlon, followed by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in second and Team California in third.
Here's how you can find out what financial incentives are available for purchasing solar panels, or another renewable energy system for your home. Search these resources to find state and local incentives.
Here are three of the season’s brightest and cleanest gifts for a greener holiday celebration.
As the importance of solar architecture grew, the southern aspect took on great stature in Chinese life. Ancient wisdom associated the south with fire and warmth, while the north came to be synonymous with winter and somberness. The Emperor facing south therefore shuns darkness and embraces enlightenment to govern. The Chinese to this day prefer a southern orientation for housing.
Let It Shine by John Perlin highlights the context in which solar energy developments have occurred and the people who have made the solar revolution possible, revealing a whole new group of unknown technological pioneers, as well as people famous for other accomplishments never before known for their work as the solar advocates and technologists they were.
American carmaker Fisker Automotive has received a coveted Stevie Award for business innovation from The 2010 American Business Awards program.
Nissan LEAFs Will Be Available in Select Markets Next Year – Extending Enterprise’s Commitment to Support Clean, New Technologies
Recent reports have incorrectly stated that the 2012 RAV4 EV will only be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs. We’d like to set the record straight.
Nissan North America Inc. is expanding availability of the all-electric Nissan LEAF to U.S. consumers for the 2012 model year, with upgrades based on feedback thousands of Leaf owners.
Chevrolet dealers in all 50 states are now taking orders for the 2012 Chevrolet Volt electric car.
Personal users can now buy welding and cutting products and accessories online from the comfort of their home.
Conversion kit install to convert a hybrid vehicle into a plug-in electric and improve your gas mileage by 25%.
These new vehicles may help the environment, but their soundless engines are a threat to the visually impaired, as well as pedestrians and bicyclists.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS Managing Editor John Rockhold talks with Jonathan Holloway about the Mitsubishi i, an all-electric car on display at the 2011 MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR in Puyallup, Washington. Mitsubishi is one of the FAIR's main sponsors.
In partnership with the Department of Energy, Chevrolet offers free home charging stations to 4,400 owners of its newest electric car, the Volt.
In Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a new Wind Turbine project at the port of Milwaukee will produce more than enough electricity for the city building there. Blogger Ben Nelson checks it out for you with a report, photos, and video.
A mapping and assessment by the Electric Power Research Institute found that the U.S. hydrokinetic waterpower resources could provide 3 percent of the nation’s annual electricity use.
Canadian car manufacturers have developed an electric vehicle with a body made from hemp fiber.
Michael Paul Holmes of Paul and Sabrina's EV Stuff will present a workshop on electric vehicles at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
Feels like I'm finally getting the ball rolling on my DIY Plug-In Hybrid Truck Project. I got a chance to visit Hot Rod Jim, talk about drive shafts, and even got the bed off the truck!
There's been a "shocking" increase in the number of EV charging stations across the United States, and in a remarkably short period of time.
The electric Tesla Model S was put to the test in a recent highway collision. Tesla's CEO offers his assessment of the resulting fire and the overall safety of his company's vehicle.
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.
Find the right type of insulation for a Solar Heat Grabber from MOTHER EARTH NEWS.
This simple, low-tech method of disinfecting water with solar energy can be a lifesaver when safe drinking water isn't available.
Check out this dramatic short movie.
New York makes a plan to increase solar power as part of an aggressive energy policy.
While photovoltaic panels are great for meeting small-scale energy needs (like those of individual homes or businesses), perhaps a more viable large-scale option is concentrated solar power (CSP) technology.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could produce all the energy we needed from local, renewable resources, such as solar and wind power?
Try these DIY methods to help warm up a cold basement.
MIT researchers announced a breakthrough that could ultimately make it much cheaper and easier to store solar energy.
Here's another reason to love solar panels and wind turbines: They're great tools for providing power to people who wouldn't otherwise have electricity at home.
30 states now working to establish official national bicycle routes, with more states interested — new online map and progress report document growing momentum
On Wednesday, Adventure Cycling Association announced that AASHTO is providing Adventure Cycling $5,000 to assist states with route selection and the technical aspects associated with the development of a U.S. Bicycle Route System.
There are small things that any city -- large, medium, or small -- can do to become more bike-travel friendly. Minneapolis is a great case study -- a place that many other communities can aspire to emulate.
An update to the refrigerator root cellar and how the Thermo Cube is keeping it from dipping below the freezing point and how we decided to start a terrace system to make more flat spots in a chicken pasture that's on a hillside that is steep.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
We haul our water from the river - walking water!
Making the most of a winter walk to home.
Homesteads are attempting to provide longer grazing times by dividing pasture into paddocks. The difficulty of getting water to each paddock can be solved by a windmill with underground pipes. No electric is needed--just wind!
World nuclear electricity-generating capacity has been essentially flat since 2007 and is likely to fall as plants retire faster than new ones are built.
Defying conventional wisdom about the limits of wind power, in 2012 both Iowa and South Dakota generated close to one quarter of their electricity from wind farms. Wind power accounted for at least 10 percent of electricity generation in seven other states. Across the United States, wind power continues to strengthen its case as a serious energy source.
As the world's demand for electricity continues to climb so will the need for new power plants. We need to decide what will be the fuel of the future for these plants. The choice boils down to conventional versus renewable sources.
Learning the basics about electricity will help you conserve energy.
It's surprisingly easy to figure out how many carbon dioxide emissions come from producing the electricity for your home, or burning a full tank of gas. Check out this carbon calculator, or find out how to do a quick ballpark estimate.
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
Leasing solar panels may be a way for you to have a solar electric system on your home. See what our expert has to say on leasing solar panels, from an operating lease to a capital lease. Plus, learn about the federal tax incentives that come with solar electric systems.
The North American Solar Stores (NASS) network announces their nationally recognized solar store brand to meet the solar energy demands of today's alternative energy-aware consumers.
Solar Energy International is excited to announce the 2013 Online Solar Training schedule! On Jan. 14, we will kick off this year's online training schedule with some of the most rigorous solar training in the industry. Join thousands of people from all over the world in SEI's Online Campus!
Rice University's ZEROW HOUSE takes first place for hot water and second for architecture and market viability at the Solar Decathlon 2009 in D.C.
A simple explanation of our solar power generating system and cost.
If you've been wondering how to dehrydrate tomatoes, look no further! We've compiled step-by-step instructions on solar dehydrating tomatoes, complete with photos from our own experience drying veggies in the solar dryer at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS office.
The Obama administration announced yesterday that it will place solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the White House roof by spring 2011.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
Henry Red Cloud moved back to the Pine Ridge Reservation 12 years ago and started looking into renewable energy. Since then he has started a solar heating system company and a renewable energy training center to serve the Native American community.
Despite utility opposition, key policy drives rapid expansion of rooftop solar.
One of the easiest ways to bask and rejoice in the gifts of nature is to make and use a solar wall heater.
Students from the University of Kansas spent spring break installing solar panels in a low-income neighborhood in Oakland, California.
Heating water with the sun is no longer an option on the Hawaiian islands. A bill was passed in Hawaii that requires all new homes to install a solar water heater in order to receive a building permit.
National Solar Tour couldn't have more perfect timing.
Dan Chiras talks about the benefits of passive solar design.
The sun provides us with enough clean energy that if ever effectively harnessed, we might never need any other form again. Sadly, we are only able to harness a fraction of it's potential. Fortunately, we are making great progress to get where we want to be.
Yes, you can make your own solar panels, but it won’t necessarily save you much money compared with buying commercial solar panels.
Next spring, President Obama will install a solar panels on the roof of the White House. The photovoltaic system will provide hot water and some electricity for the White House living quarters.
The Solar Impulse has made history as the first solar-powered airplane to fly across the North American continent.
With 67 percent growth in one year, the solar energy industry eclipses even the telecommunications industry, according to a new Solar Energy Industries Association report.
Summer's here, but the solar panels that President Obama promised to install on the White House this spring aren't. Today the administration announced that it's still working out the details. We'll just have to wait.
Colorado's once-thriving solar industry has ground to a halt following Xcel Energy's move to slash incentive rebates for homeowners.
Blog post number 17: Jeff solves the problem of how to use higher-efficiency D/C power for long run-time loads, while using some A/C appliances as well.
Toyota installs a large solar panel system on a California facility, proving its green thumb extends farther than the road.
The fastest-growing energy technology in the world is solar, and photovoltaic solar collectors capture solar energy in a supremely adaptable and portable form. Find out more about photovoltaics, how they work, and how they can change the way we make energy.
Today most new homes are sited without any reference to solar energy at all. A few builders are catching on, however, and making the simple adjustments necessary to turn new houses into solar collectors by adhering to the tenets of passive solar building. Learn more about how passive solar works and its benefits.
The term "living off the grid" can be used in different ways, but it means something very specific when you start looking at producing electricity from renewable sources.
You can use the power of the sun to heat water for your home using manufactured solar hot water systems or one you build yourself.
You can use a solar hot-air collector to heat your home with renewable energy. Here’s more about how they work.
A do-it-yourself portable solar cart allows us to have solar power without removing trees from the yard. We can also take it away from the home site and move it indoors before storms.
60 years ago scientists at Bell Laboratories developed the first solar cell capable of converting enough sunlight into electricity for practical uses. Their discovery is the greatest breakthrough in the 6000-year history of solar energy, and the sire to today's solar revolution. Let's celebrate!
Brief description of our journey back onto the National Mall, our Flex Space design, and our Solar Thermal Skylight.
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
Enacting a law requiring builders to orient new homes toward the sun would drastically reduce home energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.
Never in the history of the world has there been such a high-ranking member of society to advocate passive solar design than Socrates. He felt so strongly for building with the sun in mind that he even set up a class to teach his acolytes how the finer points of putting up a passive solar house.
When writing his great work On Architecture, Rome’s greatest solar architect Vitruvius emphasized proper solar orientation for buildings and bath houses.
According to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, 100 percent of the electric generating capacity added in January was renewable.
I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I have never loved a car like I love this one. And I have loved some cars.
Ford focus electric offers eco-friendly features throughout the vehicle.
Setting weld parameters is now easier than ever with the Miller Auto-Set elite feature.
Renewable energy expert Dan Chiras warns us that building nuclear power plants is not the solution to our current energy crisis.
Alternative transportation magazine, A To B, is chock-full of innovative bicycle tecnology reviews and test drives for everything from folding bikes to E-motorcycles and all the accessories in between.
Are EV's actually being marketed, or a ruse by traditional manufacturers?
A beginning farmer makes the most practical fencing choice available to her: electric nets. And gets tangled up, occasionally.
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program launched its 2011 Change the World, Start with Energy Star Campaign. This campaign encourages and inspires Americans to commit to energy efficiency by highlighting grassroots efforts of individuals all over the United States.
Three nuclear reactors in Japan have been destroyed by a 9.0 earthquake. Radiation levels are on the rise. The world watches helplessly, wondering if escaping radiation will eventually find its way to them. Are we not witnessing in Japan the dark side of nuclear energy? It is not that hard to see this happening in United States, is it?
Can party technology teach you about energy savings and even the theory behind electric cars? It sure can if you follow this simple video tutorial on pulse width modulation.
A year-long study in Oklahoma found that consumers who used energy-tracking technology and pricing plans that let them analyze their usage can cut their consumption in half.
Alisa Shorey will present a workshop on beekeeping and Jack McCornack will present a workshop on 100-mpg cars at the Mother Earth News Fair, an annual sustainability festival, June 4-5, 2011 in Puyallup, Wash.
For Bryan Welch, a prototype of Toyota's 2013 Prius Plug-In is a real life example of how gasoline electric hybrids have made major gains in efficiency over other conventional cars.
Ride the Future Tour, a 43-day cross-country trip in electric vehicles, will start July 4 in South Carolina. Event organizers hope to build awareness for green transportation and break a few records along the way.
Urban food forests and public gardens provide communities with an edible landscape for everyone to share. These public fruit forests are the new trend in urban agriculture and play an important role as sustainable local food systems in their communities.
Solar energy organization Show Me Solar comes highly recommended by renewable energy expert Dan Chiras for its 2010 list of workshops, webinars and other educational opportunities.
Lundberg Family Farms announces the opening of a new warehouse that is powered by 100% solar energy. Lundberg Family Farms produces wholesome, healthful rice products while protecting and improving the environment for future generations.
Sustainable Solar LLC has recently rolled out a line of Light-Weight, Portable, Noiseless Solar Generators providing a convenient power supply in remote or off-the-grid areas.
Solar protection window treatments that never go out of season.
Make your own rotisserie spit that is solar powered.
Michael Strizki proves that living off the grid doesn't have to mean sacrificing comfort.
It's how solar energy is more affordable than we may realize.
The solar-powered tractor was painted Terry’s favorite color—green—before the motor was strapped in. After the motor was installed a battery stand was welded over the top of the DC drive motor which is large enough to accommodate twelve 250-amp deep-cycle batteries. Once the performance controller was installed battery cables were run, linking the batteries together.
Cam has always enjoyed playing with water. Now he lets his solar-powered pump do some of the work!
Getting solar panels in Seattle is becoming more affordable with state incentives and net metering but still doesn't quite compare to other states.
Cam describes how our solar electric system has evolved over time.
When you only drink one cup of coffee a day, the mug you use is pretty important.
The Financial Times Climate Change Challenge winner is the Kyoto Box solar cooker, which uses no fuel other than the sun to cook food.
An introduction to Richard Hilderbrand’s new blog discussing climate change, plus the first installment. Learn how Earth utilizes greenhouse gases to ensure stable temperatures, or thermal equilibrium, as well as how fluctuations in solar activity relate to changes in global temperatures.
The word is that nitrogen trifluoride is more of a problem than previously thought, and it's used to manufacture all kinds of high-tech equipment, including thin-film solar panels.
This bathhouse from CU user SolarLadyfromNorwood proudly uses the sun to power it through the day. Making good use of alternative energy, the bathhouse surrounded by lush grass looks like a great little escape. Adorned with a sign and additional artwork, this
Tools and techniques for sustainable living.
Join the green collar economy by going through a green job training program. Learn the ins and outs of solar photovoltaics, wind power or biomass and save the planet while furthering your career.
Cleaning up an old water heater just requires two simple tools.
Save thousands on a solar electric system by learning this simple secret.
Find out what types of federal tax incentives are available for homeowners who install renewable energy.
Check out RenewableEnergyWorld.com for background information and breaking news on renewable technologies.
Check out this green gingerbread house built by MOTHER EARTH NEWS staff: It includes cookie and candy versions of SIPs construction, a living roof, and a solar electric system.
LEDs are all around us. Here are some of the ways these great green lightbulbs are being used, and a little more information about how they work.
If you’re thinking about getting a solar electric system to help the environment and save money, think about efficiency first.
How are US college students helping to brighten the future of Nicaragua, the second poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, without leaving campus?
Learn how to evaluate your own home for solar potential with four easy steps!
Alternative energy has become a hot topic in recent years as we try and work towards more sustainable resources. Whether we'll get there or not remains to be seen.
For many people, going green seems like a daunting task, but in reality, a few simple lifestyle changes is all you need.
The invention of clear window glass allowed the ancient Romans to trap solar energy to enhance their gardening techniques to grow vegetables out of season and exotic non-native plants in Rome. A thousand years later, empire builders in Europe rediscovered the trapping of solar heat with clear window glass so they as well could enjoy the foreign plants in their own back yard and grow native vegetables throughout the year.
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.
To see how much solar heat could be trapped by glass, Horace de Saussure, in 1767 built a solar hot box that consisted of several glass sheets covering an insulated box. Solar heat accumulated in the solar hot box, reaching temperatures far above the boiling point of water
Utility companies and solar power companies are vying for customers' business. See how that affects you.
Building my own electric car seems to have caught the attention of the Media. As though getting on the front page of the County paper for a speeding ticket in my electric car wasn't notorious enough, now I'm getting calls from big-shot reporters!
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.
Forty years ago a trombe wall worked to store and release heat in a passive solar house. Is it obsolete in the 21st century?
In this blog we talk about our three differnet types of solar technology that we have on the Homestead.
Cam has had to learn lots of new skills living in his off-grid home!
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
MIT students have developed an outdoor rocking lounge chair that doubles as a solar charging station, recasting power generation as an integrated and distributed public activity.
Solar food drying is incredibly easy with a solar food dehydrator, which requires very little effort to make perfectly preserved produce.
More and more people are looking for jobs in the renewable energy field. If you're interested in this type of career, here's how you can get started.
I have know Mark for years. Since I have known him (give or take a few years or so) Seiden asked me what were the best ways to go green and save energy at the same time. Then two years ago, we started with CFL bulbs. Now I'm trying to get him to go LED and get really green lighting in effect. In time. In time.
The Solar Foundation found a 13 percent increase in U.S. solar industry jobs in 2012, which is promising for the overall job market, and shows stability in the solar energy job market.
Deb and Tommy have spent just $7,500 to set up their off-the-grid homestead in Oklahoma's Kiamichi Mountains, which relies on one 80-watt solar panel for power. As they learn more, they will continue to build their systems.
Covering an area about the size of California with solar panels would provide enough power to handle the world's needs.
Kerr-Cole Sustainable Living Center in Taylor, Arizona celebrates national homesteading month with a display of solar ingenuity.
Short description of our solar system and the everyday things we do to operate them.
We’ve succeeded at drying herbs and greens in our SunWorks solar dehydrator, which promises to make future meals all the more flavorful and nutritious.
When you're looking for a job, there's just no substitute for getting out and meeting the professionals in the industry.
Will a degree increase your employment prospects? Absolutely. Here are some programs to look into.
A three-part series on sustainable comfort systems for heating and cooling homes using passive solar design, solar electric power, system controllers and newly popular heat pump technology.
Courses in solar energy taken through The Evergreen Institute now apply toward the Midwest Renewable Energy Association’s site assessor certificates.
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.
Collegiate teams showcase affordable, energy-efficient houses in global competition.
Chinese archaeologists have recently found the oldest solar device – a bronze concave mirror – capable of almost instantaneously making fire from sunlight.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
Last October, President Obama filled us all with hope when he announced he would install solar panels on the White House by this spring. The panels haven't materialized, and the White House isn't talking. Call Obama and find out what's up.
Scott Davis’ “Solar Projects, Big and Small” video offers inspiration for both solar energy enthusiasts and folks who are just curious. Tips and advice pertaining to solar energy can be found at the Yahoo! group Simply Solar, and you can make your dream project a reality with Gary Reysa’s instructions.
The Evergreen Institute lowers prices to encourage more participating in its January workshops in home energy efficiency, electricity and electrical wiring, and basic PVs: An Introduction to Solar Electricity.
The bad news? Coal-fired power plants are our biggest source of industrial pollution. The good news? Solar grew by 67 percent last year, making it our fastest-growing energy sector.
Solar Energy International is offering a free online course as an introduction to renewable energy. You will not walk away an expert, but will have learned the basics of renewable energy and be able to decide which technologies are right for you.
Solar energy is the ultimate source of all life, and there's lots of it.
A. O. Smith Water Products Company, the leading manufacturer and marketer of residential and commercial water heaters, has donated a 120-gallon solar storage tank to the Hurston family of Cocoa Beach, Fla., project of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.
Hodgson Mill Inc., a leading national producer of All-Natural and Organic, Whole-Grain foods, has added two wind turbines to successfully complete the second phase of a significant new green initiative.
Looking for a better way to preserve all that garden produce without a hot kitchen canning project? A new solar food dryer promises to dry food fast and save energy and money using the sunshine in your back yard.
Receives SRCC OG300 certification on 41 system configurations for residential solar water heating systems.
User of our CU photo-sharing website submits photo documents the building process on their new biomass and solar dome home.
Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Your favorite moments could become famous on our homepage!
The Solar Energy Tour is coming to communities all over the U.S. the first weekend of October — learn how to attend an event, or create one yourself.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house - learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
A typical winter morning chore - cleaning off the solar panels.
Cam is handling this heatwave much better thanks to his solar-powered air conditioner!
We now have something to walk on other than dirt!
Has the "magic" energy solution been discovered?
We finally see walls and a loft floor.
We settle in for a long winter's work.
Nuclear Armageddon due to solar flares or EMP, avoidable for teh cost of a single Stealth bomber
Instead of learning new tricks, we devise new ways to do the same old tricks.
Finally, we start to take shape.
A roof is a wonderful thing to have!
We heard from a variety of experts about the type and number of batteries to use in our DIY solar setup. Meanwhile, we checked in with the garden and bees.
Our humble abode begins to take shape.
Our power system begins to take shape.
We bring power from the array inside the building and put it to work.
A brief description of our experiences with solar tubes in our off grid home.
On sunny days it delivers about a half a megawatt of electricity to the biodiesel plant, while providing strategic shade to plants below. Energy is produced above as farmers harvest below in a genuine double cropping scenario.
For the first time, investors put more money into alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
For the first time ever, alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal power received more investment money than fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
A solar-powered cooker made out of cardboard boxes, which aims to reduce carbon emissions, deforestation and the spread of water-borne diseases, took home the first prize at the Climate Change Challenge.
The embrace of environmentalism by professional sports provides us all with a new and large opportunity to educate people worldwide about the need to do something, however small it might seem, to protect our biosphere.
There are many ways farmers can benefit from renewable energy, including wind energy, solar energy, energy efficiency and biofuels.
Are you looking for professional training as a solar installer or retailer? Check out this list of workshops available at the American Solar Energy Society's 2009 Conference.
There's lots of good information on renewable energy in this new NPR series on electricity in America.
Weekly user photo of a simple solar homestead. Don't forget to submit your photos to our CU photo-sharing website. Maybe one of your favorite moments will pop up on the homepage for all the world to see!
Use this parabolic mirror as a handy pocket-sized firestarter.
At last, we construct the foundation.
After spending several years drying food in an electric food dehydrator, I built a SunWorks solar food dehydrator to try and create truly sun-dried tomatoes.
Whether you're planning to install solar panels, or hoping to put up a backyard wind turbine some day, share your thoughts on the renewable energy projects that intrigue you most.
Having a “green home” means lots of different things. What does it mean to you?
Michael Morley will post regular updates about his progress building a unique green home with structural insulated panels (SIPs). Here, he discusses options for installing a colored concrete floor, and considering whether to install a solar hot water system.
Dan Chiras discusses the differences between power purchase agreements and lease programs, and the benefits of taking advantage of either.
Renewable energy is often seen as a way to have it all and still feel “green” and it is indeed at a glance more environment friendly than conventional power, but no power has as low footprint as the power not used.
Team Austria wins the Solar Decathlon 2013 for building the most energy-efficient, cost-effective and most attractive solar-powered house.
Keep your greenhouse above freezing during short cold periods without paying for a heater.
But what happens if progress in poverty’s eradication far-outpaces green energy solutions? Two of the most important issues of our century — clean energy and poverty eradication - are potentially mutually exclusive, if development efforts do not factor in increased consumption that will occur.
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
It seems only common sense that you don’t depend on a single source alone for life-giving home heat in the winter.
1.3 billion people live without access to electricity. In the last five years, falling costs of solar technology have made solar economically viable without subsidies for off-grid communities. How can businesses keep up with this potential solar growth? Hint: it’s all about the customer.
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!
Check out these high-quality workshops on solar electricity, home energy efficiency, and small wind energy systems. Geared to homeowners, aspiring professionals, students and teachers - anyone wishing to learn more about renewable energy systems
Conergy Projects Group has broken ground on a 725 kw photovoltaic system for T&P Farms out of Arbuckle, Calif.
Once our bodies and our imaginations are engaged, the incremental change begins. Then it gets easier and easier to envision humanity occupying this planet–this beautiful, abundant planet–far into the future.
Home energy management, electric cars and solar gadgets take starring roles at consumer electronics industry’s biggest trade show.
Visitors enjoyed hundreds of test drives of Ford hybrid and electric cars at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS is proud to announce we have won a prestigious publishing award for our Guide to Green Cars.
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
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.
The nation's largest community-owned solar array in Rifle, Colorado, will provide clean energy for up to 350 residents, who don't even need a roof to enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
Sun-Lite HP for greenhouse glazing provides excellent diffused light.
As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.
Engineer Venkappa Gani leads by example when it comes to sustainable living. His entire backyard is an organic garden, an edible landscape that borders his rainwater harvesting tank collectors overlooked by solar panels that power his home (and more!). Gani is dedicated to sustainability, a word he lives by everyday at his suburban home in Austin, Texas.
Everything you need to know about avoiding problems when you build or remodel your own house. Learn from the mistakes of others and make fewer of your own.
An introduction to Cam Mather's off-grid home and lifestyle.
Solar drying experiences in 2012, including tomato varieties Principe Borghese and Long Tom.
Grow calcium in your garden with collards, kale, and parsley. Suggestions are given for including these crops in your meals. Learn about companions to plant among your collards and kale to deter harmful insects.
A few thoughts on why so many people are hesitant to make the transition to produce their own power.
Chris Larson's Asheville, North Carolina, home--already a superb example of smart, passive solar design--gets even better with the addition of solar hot water collectors.
Dan and Karen Cripes made a few big upfront investments--including solar panels and a geothermal system--when they built their home in Round Rock, Texas. Now they're reaping the rewards with nearly nonexistent utility bills and a home they love.
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
Liza Fleischer was a suburbanite through and through when she met her husband, Ted, who she says was "born 100 years too late." Now they live in a solar- and hydro-powered hand-built home on 160 acres in Vermont--and she loves it.
Although winter is setting in, that doesn't mean an end to the garden season in desert climates! Get inspired by this beautiful rainwater-harvesting, food-producing desert landscape!
Solar Energy International (SEI), the National Wildlife Refuge System, and the National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service all offer events to educate participants in varying pursuits. This blog provides links to activity calendars and workshop schedules.
So far this year extreme weather events has cost the US over 35 billion dollars. This posting discusses the potential for non-carbon-based renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal.
ASES released a report that says 37 million green jobs are possible by 2030. Check out the study here!
Hold onto your hats, Congress is debating climate change. Right now the U.S. House is considering the Waxman-Markey climate bill. Here's where you can find more information about what is, and isn't, in the bill.
Get a glimpse of some of the unique exhibitors at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
A homemade solar food dryer allows you to dry tomatoes and apples for delicious and nutritious winter snacks and addition to your meals.
If you begin tomorrow, you can be soaking in fresh, 103-degree water by the evening.
Architect Debra Rucker Coleman shares tips for converting your home to passive solar energy.
Tell us what you think. If you installed a wind turbine or solar-electric panels, would you want to be tied to the electric grid, or would you rather have a grid-independent system?
Solar lights replacing kerosene lamps in developing countries do more than solve energy poverty, they are also helping curb climate change by reducing black carbon emissions.
Going solar at home will save you both money and energy. See why it's the future for renewable energy in residential areas.
Some examples of passive solar design applied to homes in the southeast, where cooling, as well as heating, is a concern.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
Cyndee and Tony love being in control of their own power and never having to worry about rate increases and outages in south-central Colorado. Solar panels, a wind turbine and a wood-fired boiler keep them plenty warm and happy.
Describes two effective alternatives to composting. Many factors can limit the ability to produce compost. These two products offer different but practical ways to organically recycle food scraps.
A BIG issue in everyone’s lives today is increasing fuel costs. The seriousness and scope of our energy problems calls for an all-out effort for sustainable solutions, starting as soon as possible.
Since they built their solar- and wind-powered cordwood home in Desboro, Ontario, Lisa and Ray Racicot have never looked back. The only thing they'll do differently next time is install the renewable energy systems first, to power the construction.
Eating only homegrown foods on the Fridays in Lent.
We will discuss how the Earth overcomes the increasing solar radiation from the Sun to maintain a stable temperature for life (Gaia Hypothesis). The role anthropogenic forces will also be discussed.
In this blog, my architect James Plagmann and I begin to tell the story of the construction of Dan's new net zero energy homes. Dan begins by laying the ground, defining a few terms and describing his experience in this field.
This blog contains a detailed list of most of my initial design priorities for my net zero energy home so others may benefit from my thinking and experience on creating a passive solar, net zero energy, green home.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
To build a net zero energy home, you'll need to design for passive gain. That requires a shallower footprint to ensure that the low-angled winter sun can enter and heat each room.
In this blog, I highlight the earliest decisions I had to make to create a net zero energy home: how I was going to build the foundation and walls. Thermal bridging, air tightness, insulation, cost, and greeness are all key deciders.
Insulation under the slab -- and lots of it -- is vital for the performance of a net zero energy home. So is the footprint. You can make the most of passive solar by creating a longer, narrower house in which each room is heated by the sun.
Be sure to install under-the-footing conduit to run electrical and water pipes, including sewer. I like to run pipes and wire under the foot to prevent penetrating the band joist or the foundation to create a more airtight, water tight home.
Don't forget to budget in the cost of deeper excavation and add $1000 to $2000 as a budget contingecy in case you run into bedrock.
Insulating concrete forms are an excellent choice for foundations for passive solar, net zero energy homes. They create a highly insulated, air-tight foundation, so essential for extremely high energy performance.
ICFs are not the most environmentally friendly green building product, but result in super energy efficient home, and offer many other benefits, that offset their origin from petrochemicals.
ICF walls must be carefully braced to prevent blowout.
Creating a net zero energy home requires that we eliminate all thermal bridging loss -- heat movement into and out of a building. All this starts in the basement.
In this blog, I describe two of the first and most important design considerations -- the length and depth of the home and the layout of rooms for optimum passive solar gain.
Scaffolding is required to access the walls to pour the concrete. Scaffolding also helps support the walls.
Additional reinforcement is required around the garage door opening.