More Cities Explore Modular Construction

Another Pacific Northwest city is exploring modular design as an option for supplying affordable, green housing. The Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) in Tacoma, Washington, is in the conceptual design phase with its 110-unit modular housing community known as Hillsdale Heights. The complex will be located on a 7.3 acre site formerly occupied by the Hillsdale Lumber sawmill; 60…

How to Stop Your Fireplace from Being an Energy Eater

Editor’s Note: This post was provided by one of our paid sponsors, Chimneyballoon. Stop heat and AC from escaping through your fireplace or woodburner chimney with a Chimney Balloon fireplace plug draft stopper. On a cold winter evening, who of us is not tempted to go to the living room, stoke up a fire in…

A Rational Discussion on Radon in Granite Countertops

This post is a follow-up to The Fight Over Radon in Granite Countertops Heats Up, which will provide some background information on the granite/radon issue. With the legion of both deniers and alarmists out there attempting to monopolize the discussion over the safety of granite countertops, it is difficult to find unbiased information.  Peruse the…

Natural Building 101: Building a Cob House

What is cob? Cob building dates back hundreds of years ago, and cob houses built over 500 years ago in Europe are still inhabited to this day. That’s pretty dang impressive considering the simple nature and composition of the material: buckets of wet clay and sand are mixed by foot (or by horse, oxen, concrete…

New Options for Home Wind Power

Utility-scale windpower is an important and growing part of the US energy portfolio. Farms ranging in size from dozens to hundreds of turbines can produce in excess of 60 megawatts of power. Plans for gigawatts of wind power are being proposed all over the globe, and new wind farms are regularly being proposed that outstrip…

Building a DIY Wetland

A family in Australia has created their own tiny wetland as a part of a household grey water system.  It is a fairly large DIY project, but, as the article demonstrates, not an overwhelming project.  The writer even enlisted his young children to help in the construction. Black water is toilet waste and other water…

Are Extruded Houses Green?

For several years, Professor Behrokh Khoshnevis at the University of Southern California has been working on systems for rapidly creating buildings with system that is essentially a very large 3-dimensional printer.  Called Contour Crafting, the equipment is able to rapidly build up walls.  Already, test runs have been able to produce six-foot high concrete walls….

Energy Efficiency at -30 Degrees Fahrenheit

Across the arctic and subarctic, many native tribes still occupy their traditional lands — but most do so in decidedly non-traditional ways. Western products of every description have been adopted by northern peoples, but one of the products that is least suited to the northern climate has also become one of the most widespread: wood…

Basics to Building a Better Green Home

Editor’s Note: This post was provided by one of our paid sponsors, Solar Energy International (SEI), a USA non-profit organization whose mission is to help others use renewable energy and environmental building technologies through education. SEI teaches individuals from all walks of life how to design, install and maintain renewable energy systems, and how to…

How Green Are the Beijing Olympics Buildings?

The 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing are supposed to be the greenest yet. There has been some coverage on television, and despite all the attempts to clean things up beforehand and to limit especially the air pollution during the games, pictures from the city show it still in many ways to be a smoggy, grimy…

Hansgrohe to Bring Simple, Compact Grey Water System to U.S.

Already a leader in water and energy conservation in bathroom fixtures, Hansgrohe is preparing to bring to the United States the Pontos Aquacycle grey water system.  Currently available in Europe, the Pontos Aquacycle is a compact and efficient way to convert bath and shower water into clean, filtered water for use in toilets, washing machines,…

The Costs of Not Building Green

Despite the narrowing gap in cost between green building and traditional “to-code” building, most builders and home buyers still perceive the green option to be significantly more expensive.  The reality is that due to increased builder education and an influx of affordable green building products, a building can be built green within the same budget…

Shaver Green Building to Offer Sustainable Workforce Housing

“Workforce housing” is a term being heard more and more, used place of the more familiar “affordable housing”. It differentiates between housing that is intended to accommodate people from the lowest income brackets, and housing for the lower middle class, people who have steady employment but have been priced out of the housing market in many areas….

Low Impact Living: My Solar Hot Water Experience

For the past few years there has been huge interest in Solar Electricity (photovoltaic’s, PV, or solar panels), there are lots of incentives at both a state and federal level, there are often photo opportunities for politicians, gazing towards the future over a vast array or solar panels. But there are problems with this vision:…

Build Your Ultimate Green Kitchen

A few weeks ago I offered my thoughts on green kitchens on a budget.  Today, I want to focus on making your new kitchen as green as possible, without regard for cost.  Remember, often the greenest options is to keep your current kitchen; many choose to repaint their cabinets with non-VOC paint or to tackle…

Low Impact Living: Green Prefab — Everyone’s into Modular Homes

Editor’s note: Modular (or prefabricated) housing is hot, and our friends at Low Impact Living have the lowdown on some of the companies driving this trend. This post was originally published on Thursday, June 12, 2008. It seems everyone is “going modular” these days with the rapid growth in the movement of green prefab design…

Cities Need to Offer Incentives for Building Green Roofs

The Top Ten Cities for Green Roof Installations In April, the not-for-profit industry association Green Roofs for Healthy Cities released its 2007 lists of the Top Ten Cities for Green Roof Installations. The Top Ten cities in the U.S. are as follows: Chicago IL Wilmington DE Baltimore MD Brooklyn NY Virginia Beach VA Royersford PA…