Energy Star homes
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program reached a major milestone this week when it qualified its 1 millionth Energy Star home.
President Obama revealed plans for his new Home Star Program, also known as Cash for Caulkers, which will offer rebates for energy-efficient home renovations such as replacing windows, adding insulation and sealing ducts.
Following a disastrous investigation into the Energy Star program’s certification process, the Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency are making major changes, including scrapping automated approval and requiring stricter lab results.
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.
The NewenHouse kit home has officially received Passive House certification! The Passive House is also the highest-rated Energy Star home in the state of Wisconsin.
Looser standards and self-certification have led to a market flooded with Energy Star appliances—many with questionable qualifications.
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.
At the Healthy Homes Conference in Denver, a health care pioneer said healthy housing is as important as diet and exercise in maintaining well being and that access is a social justice issue. The Home Depot Foundation is addressing that.
Cree's new dimmable LED bulb emits a warm, incandescent-like color.
A new Environmental Protection Agency website helps homeowners and renters decrease their energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and create—healthier, more efficient homes. Cool by us.
Natural Home guest blogger Rebecca Selove narrows down her choices of Energy Star-rated appliances for her LEED-certified home in Tennessee.
Victoria Gazeley considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin, located on 7 acres of fertile earth in British Columbia, a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
A National Association of Home Builders report and a Better Homes and Gardens survey find that builders and homeowners are moving toward smaller, more energy-efficient homes.
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.
Jessica discusses her experience as a judge at the Lighting for Tomorrow energy-efficient lighting design competition.
Guest blogger Tracy Herz juggles greenspeak 101 while considering what products and certifications she will use in her West Virginia condo remodel.
The Canadian government’s ecoENERGY program stops giving financial assistance for energy-efficient home improvements.
Sonya Newenhouse describes how she uses the southern-facing 17-inch-deep windowsills of her Passive House-certified home to grow seedlings.
Think having a green home is out of your price range? Here are some easy, realistic ideas to create an eco-friendly living space that might actually save you money!
The recipe for a well-lit room involves combining energy-efficient bulbs with stylish, sustainable light fixtures.
To address consumers' growing desire to save money and be environmentally conscious, GE is launching GeoSpring, the first hybrid electric ENERGY STAR-qualified water heater manufactured in the U.S.
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.
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
Easily extend your growing season with a cold frame, a simple enclosure with a transparent lid.
Tea, salt, vodka, corn starch—even ketchup and mayonnaise—can be used to get your entire house clean. No kidding.
Have you ever wondered about the difficulties of starting a compost bin? Check out our recommendations and suggestions for composting as well as its benefits for your garden.
GE Lighting’s full line of light-emitting diode (LED) GE Energy Smart incandescent replacement bulbs are anticipated to be on store shelves within the next 16 months.
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.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller offers an introduction to the Passive House standard, including what makes Passive Houses energy-efficient and how they differ from passive solar homes.
Follow along as architect Mark Miller takes his energy-efficient design skills to the next level with the Passive House standard.
See how an energy-efficient house faired it’s first winter in Maine.
Third-party certifications are extremely helpful. While you’re out shopping, look for the following logos.
The borage plant (Borago officinalis) is a tall herb with hairy foliage, blue starshaped flowers and many useful properties. Whether you use it for healthy, tasty greens, a medicinal herb or a companion plant for your strawberries and tomatoes, you’ll be happy you planted borage.
Try these valuable bug repellent formulas for a weekend in the woods.
These tips mined from the second issue of Mother Earth News, published in 1970, will make your housekeeping more enjoyable and efficient. Mother has always known best.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller continues his introduction to the Passive House standard.
Practice zero-waste gardening by donating your garden’s excess produce to local food pantries or other community organizations.
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.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
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.
One guest blogger recently discovered that you can make homemade terrariums from everyday household items already hanging around the house. Check it out now.
Starting an exercise program isn't as tough as you think! Just follow these simple tips to get moving.
That sage (ahem!) advice is from the Wall Street Journal Online, in an article about how small investments in buying seeds can reap large returns in the coming year.
Two new federal programs, the Home Energy Scoring program and the PowerSaver program, make it easier for homeowners to save energy.
The Environmental Protection Agency releases a list of the top green power purchasers in the United States.
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.
Clayton Homes’ first green prefab home project, i-house, will feature a plethora of green technologies and innovative designs.
Americans are turning to smaller, affordable housing. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks into this trend.
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.
This year readers were concerned about bedbugs and greenwashing, and everyone wants to know more about smaller homes.
One restaurant owner in Chicago relies on local farms for outstanding in-season herbs and other produce.
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
Starting seeds indoors is economical, fun, and easy to do for most anyone. Gardening under lights can be as simple or complex, inexpensive or expensive as you desire. Starts can then be planted outdoors in easily accessed containers or raised beds.
Last weekend more than 12,000 people flocked to Washington, D.C., for a three day demonstration to demand the creation of green jobs, cuts in the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and less dependence on fossil fuels.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains why wind energy is growing in popularity right now.
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.
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
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.
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
The Greener Gadgets competition in New York called on designers and entrepreneurs from around the country to come up with the greenest electronic gadgets around. From toys to tents, they didn’t disappoint.
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.
The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicted in January—Americans are moving to smaller homes.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
This morning in my inbox: Orlando Bloom announced at Wednesday night’s Global Green pre-Oscars party that he’s building a green, solar-powered home in London. And an RISMedia report stating that despite the downturn in the general housing market, demand for green homes continues to be a hot trend.
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.
Turn out the lights. Light the candles. Tomorrow night (March 28) from 8:30-9:30 (in your time zone) is Earth Hour.
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.
Sustainability starts at home—but it sure does help to have community backing. Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence takes a closer look at the Cambridge Energy Alliance, a nonprofit, community-supported program that offers free energy audits and customized plans to make homes and buildings more eco-friendly.
Building homes using dangerous and impactful industrial chemicals--in the name of energy efficiency--is not sustainable or ecological, a green building veteran says. His Health-Based Building model is an important step forward for green design.
If you're starting seeds indoors, consider making your own biodegradable seed-starting pots out of newspaper, cardboard or eggshells.
Decorate your home with zero-waste decor that can be reused, recycled or consumed—instead of toxic landfill trash. The Christmas decorations of Colonial Williamsburg offer inspiration for using natural decor.
The new Microsoft Hohm application makes it easy to track your energy use and provides simple recommendations to save energy and money.
Summer marks the start of buzzing AC units, but this doesn’t have to waste energy or drain your wallet. By accessing the energy leaks in your home with a simple energy audit, you’ll save money on utility bills. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how to perform a home energy audit.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence shares exciting information about the Google PowerMeter, a new device that helps homeowners find ways to reduce their electric bills.
Natural Home editorial intern Kirsten Hudson discusses Starbucks’ progress in making its coffee cups recyclable.
U.S. energy consumers will rely more on natural gas and renewables and less on imports in 2011. Coal remains dominant.
Consumers are intrigued by smart grid technology, but they need a lot more information and better tools before they'll participate.
A survey by the Shelton Group, a Tennessee-based advertising firm, reveals why energy-efficient products are flying off the shelves during this tough economic time.
Homeowners and renters who made five or more energy-efficient improvements found satisfying savings, a new study finds.
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
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.
Location near public transportation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
For the past year, I’ve been chronicling the progress of a green-built home here in Boulder, Colorado, where I live, via this blog and accompanying videos. Watching the project unfold has been enlightening for many reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to see firsthand many of the cool technologies we read about and hear about. Sometimes that entails a little sacrifice.
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse Here Sonya gets ready for a busy week of subcontractors for the NewenHouse kit home. The interior of the home is nearing completion!
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks forward to good, green building news for 2009.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how hemp, a renewable resource, can aid in building zero-carbon homes.
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.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains a Pew Charitable Trusts study that finds that jobs in the clean energy sector are growing faster than jobs in the fossil fuel industry.
One guest blogger's special, original recipe prevents illness and quickly helps recover from, or completely ward off, colds, flu and other malaise.
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.
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.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse describes moving into the first NewenHouse and conducting the final duct blaster test and balancing the HRV (Heat Recovery Ventilation Unit).
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson considers quality over quantity, slow homes and creating something beautiful.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse describes the super-insulated, sustainable and small NewenHouse kit home she's planning to bring to market in 2012. The prototype, being built in Viroqua Wisconsin, is striving for LEED Platnium and Passive House certifications.
I wish you could experience the English Walled Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois. Blooming wisteria drapes over rows of trellised classical columns and flowering fruit trees shimmer in the breeze.
Learn how to catch more fish using star anise essential oil. Blogger Dawn Robnett explains why Illicium verum oil with keep the fish nibbling all day.
Try even more of our favorite, flavorful herb pickling recipes. They only take minutes to make.
You can make these pickles with cucumbers or a plethora of other fresh vegetables plucked from your own garden or farmers' market, including summer squash, carrots, tomatoes, peppers, onions and more.
This cooling French tarragon-infused drink can help you quickly beat the summer heat.
Conserve your iPod’s energy with these eco-friendly tricks.
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
If night sweats are causing you to lose sleep and costing you more on your air-conditioning bill, consider a Bedfan.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how the new energy and climate legislation that creates opportunities in green building.
MyEmissionsExchange.com stimulates the economy and combats global warming by paying registered users for reducing their energy use.
Weatherizing your home saves you money. Just a few simple changes can greatly reduce the amount of energy your home requires to stay comfortable. Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence fills you in on how to weatherize your home and collect stimulus money.
Now playing in select theaters, Carbon Nation is a non-preachy, solutions-based documentary that proves the benefits of a low-carbon economy.
Improvements in incandescent light bulb technology give compact fluorescent bulbs a revamped competitor.
The Geothermal Exchange Organization provides geothermal heat pumps to help reduce heating costs during this brutal winter.
In Bethel, New York, a developer that has specialized in large luxury homes is building modest houses to appeal to a younger crowd--more anecdotal evidence that smaller homes are here to stay.
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
When Paula and Matt learned that running a utility line to their rural Vermont home would cost the same as buying solar panels, they never hesitated. Now they're living the good life, off the grid.
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.
Maintaining indoor air quality is important in a healthy home, but poor craftsmanship can lead to water damage and eventually mold issues.
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.
Geothermal heating and cooling systems rely on the earth’s constant underground temperature of 45 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit to provide comfortable indoor climates. The technology works in any size or style home, in nearly any setting on earth.
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.
An annual survey of home buyers found that Americans want smaller homes with a focus on casual living and togetherness. From larger kitchens to outdoor living spaces, these 10 features were the most popular. Find out how you can get them, too!
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.
Guest blogger Sarah Lozanova talks about the advantages of downsizing to a small home as her family moves to Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage.
Mother Earth offers many natural energizers that wake you up without compromising your health.
Sixty-one percent of Americans say they understand our nation's energy issues, but more than half have never heard the term 'smart grid.' We have a lot to talk about.
With Earth Day afoot, it’s important that the rest of our nation keep a close eye on Chicago’s green initiatives.
Guest blogger Mike Samsel provides an overview on how the iPad and new apps relating to home automation can help you save energy through better control of heating and cooling, lights, window coverings, irrigation and security systems.
Jessica talks about her recent travels to Wisconsin for the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair and gears up to find an energy-efficient vehicle.
For a zero-waste kitchen, learn how to reduce food waste with these tips from guest blogger Letitia Star.
Now Pacific Yurts introduces one of its most exciting innovations to date the unique Custom Curve™ window system. Custom Curve™ is the first glass window system with a structurally engineered framework that follows the curved wall of the yurt.
Scheckter’s Organic Beverages introduces Scheckter’s OrganicEnergy, a natural, vegetarian-approved organic energy drink.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has invented an air conditioner, the DEVap, that’s up to 90 percent more efficient than traditional ACs.
Cable set-top boxes in the United States consume 27 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity—equivalent to the annual output of nine coal-fired power plants. Cable providers have a lot of energy-efficient improvements to make.
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.
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.
Panasonic Everleds offer new energy-efficient lighting that lasts almost two decades with regular use.
Exercising is good for you—but what about for the environment? Getting your workout fix outdoors, using retrofitted or energy-efficient machines and buying sustainable workout gear will lessen your carbon footprint by pounds of CO2 a day.
Researchers at the University of Bath are all set to test the efficiency of the HemPod, a building made from a hemp-lime composite.
Save money and energy by ditching the dryer and air drying your clothes instead.
These three homes--in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina--use passive cooling techniques to eliminate the need for mechanical air conditioning. Check them out and learn a few tricks for reducing--or eliminating--your AC bills this summer.
Deliciously cool off this summer with these naturally-sweetened chocolate ice cream toppings made with fair trade cocoa.
The Reincarnated McMansion Project aims to tear down one inefficient, climate-insensitive suburban house and replace it with two small, green, handcrafted homes.
Wabi-sabi has infused Western design for centuries—though its advocates rarely knew it. It’s in the plain, efficient homes built by the Shakers, the unsentimental Arts and Crafts style, Frank Lloyd Wright's Prairie houses and midcentury furniture.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson offers inspiration to anyone wanting to build their own home from salvaged materials.
Deconstruction, breaking down houses bit-by-bit, is a great way to find free building materials to build small low-cost homes.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson offers advice on how to incorporate reclaimed materials into home design without the end result looking like "junk."
Designed as a shotgun-style house for natural ventilation, the Alligator House was designed and built as part of the rehousing effort in post-Katrina New Orleans.
The U.S. Green Building Council recognizes the top projects, developers and home builders participating in its LEED program for 2011.
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.
Elizabeth Richardson lays out her plan for building her own salvaged home.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson shares her plans for Blackbird Studio, a 333-square-foot she plans to build.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse describes how and why the Passive House conference inspired her to change the NewenHouse kit home's design to meet Passive House certification.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller shares discusses the lack of energy-efficient, insulated doors in the U.S.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller explores high-performance windows, a key element in reaching the Passive House standard.
Next time you need a boost of energy, put down the caffeinated beverage and pick up one of these natural remedies for boosting energy.
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.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse describes the HRV (heat recovery ventilation) unit and insulation installation for the NewenHouse Kit Home.
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson shares how she built her home's front porch from salvaged wood—and how she finds beauty in flawed materials.
This smoothie recipe, courtesy of Driscoll's, is perfect as a quick breakfast, a post-workout snack or a healthy summertime treat.
Urban Moonshine will introduce its new certified organic Energy Tonic at Natural Products Expo West, the industry’s largest event taking place on March 8th.
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.
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.
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.
Jessica reports about all the fun and wonderful information at the Mother Earth News Fair in Puyallup, Washington.
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.
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
Natural Home editorial intern Kristin Standley examines the successes and failures of the Beddington Zero-Energy Development.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller pinpoints areas where unconditioned air could be leaking into or out of homes.
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse tests the performance of her new Passive House by not turning on the heat—and enthusiastically reports that you can comfortably live furnace-free in Wisconsin in the winter.
Southwest Windpower launches a program to sells its Skystream 3.7 personal wind turbines at select Home Depot stores.
Here Sonya Newenhouse describes how she uses her southern facing 17 inch deep window sills to grow seedlings. She also notes that their electrical bill for February in the furnace free home was only $11 -- $8 of which was service fees.
President Obama and the Department of Energy are creating new standards for energy-efficiency in lighting.
Use these herbs to relieve stress, increase energy and stimulate sleep this school year.
These powerhouse herbs are great for runners. They act as natural energy enhancers, improve stamina and endurance, heal aches and pains and improve circulatory health.
Zephyr’s new range hoods are quieter, more powerful and more energy-efficient with DC Energy Technology, HD LED Bulbs and an Integrated PC Board.
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.
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller offers solutions to thermal bridging.
What you eat throughout the day can affect how you sleep at night. Avoid these five foods for a better night’s sleep.
The weather outside may be frightful, but it’s a delightful time to curl up with a stack of gardening books and begin planning next season’s harvest.
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.
Reading books from your local public library is a greener alternative to buying new books.
Natural Home editorial intern Samantha Schwartz helps her family plan an eco-friendly road trip complete with a hybrid car, organic snacks and energy-efficient hotels.