Mother Earth Living

solar homes





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5/3/2011
Adding solar panels can increase a home's resale value by as much as $17,000, a new Lawrence Berkeley Lab report finds.
3/25/2011
One of the nation's largest home developers announces it will offer solar arrays as standard features on new homes in California.
4/20/2011
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.
4/25/2011
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.
4/20/2011
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.
5/2/2011
These seasoned off-the-grid veterans have found that hefty batteries make for a happy home.
7/18/2011
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.
4/7/2014
See how an energy-efficient house faired it’s first winter in Maine.
10/21/2010
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.
6/16/2011
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.
3/24/2011
Covering an area about the size of California with solar panels would provide enough power to handle the world's needs.
2/23/2011
Colorado's once-thriving solar industry has ground to a halt following Xcel Energy's move to slash incentive rebates for homeowners.
5/8/2009
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.
8/30/2013
My home is going nearly 100 percent solar thanks to a local solar leasing program.
1/21/2011
Enter Natural Home’s Go Solar Giveaway to win a solar hot water heating system from Sunward.
12/28/2010
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.
4/7/2011
Solar industry analysts and executives say PV installations will surge in the next two years as prices continue to drop.
4/6/2011
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.
5/6/2011
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.
10/22/2010
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.
3/11/2011
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.
1/15/2010
For part three of our 2010 Predictions series, the experts predict that consumers will demand—and create—healthier, more efficient homes. Cool by us.
4/1/2011
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.
6/19/2009
Clayton Homes’ first green prefab home project, i-house, will feature a plethora of green technologies and innovative designs.
6/22/2009
Americans are turning to smaller, affordable housing. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks into this trend.
4/14/2011
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.
12/28/2010
This year readers were concerned about bedbugs and greenwashing, and everyone wants to know more about smaller homes.
11/13/2009
The Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star program reached a major milestone this week when it qualified its 1 millionth Energy Star home.
3/21/2011
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.
6/10/2009
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.
3/24/2011
Willis Tower in Chicago, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, gets new windows that could generate up to 2 megawatts of solar power.
10/6/2010
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.
6/21/2011
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.
2/14/2011
Americans continue to believe that green homes make a difference--but they need to be more affordable.
7/7/2010
The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicted in January—Americans are moving to smaller homes.
2/10/2010
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.
9/23/2010
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.
12/27/2010
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
2/23/2007
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.
5/12/2011
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.
3/23/2011
Former Boulder, Colorado, mayor Shaun McGrath, the new head of the American Solar Energy Society, has his work cut out for him.
5/20/2011
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.
4/2/2010
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.
2/21/2011
In a move that could devastate Colorado's thriving solar industry, Xcel Energy slashes incentive program.
6/14/2011
After a wildfire destroyed their off-the-grid compound in Colorado, Betty and Rolland rebuilt—better than before—following Rolland’s creed: no plywood, no plastic and nothing that smells bad when it burns. The wildlife around their home approve.
7/26/2011
The solar powered RainPerfect pump system is a great way to harvest the rain that does fall and recycle it to help your gardens and lawns stay hydrated and rejuvenated.
5/31/2011
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.
4/27/2011
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.
5/4/2011
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.
6/15/2011
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.
3/10/2011
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.
5/4/2011
Here are three great reasons that hemp cultivation should be legal in the United States: food, health and shelter.
4/28/2010
The Canadian government’s ecoENERGY program stops giving financial assistance for energy-efficient home improvements.
3/31/2011
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.
2/24/2011
Location near public transportation and walkability are as important as green materials and design in creating a green home, study finds.
6/6/2008
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.
7/14/2011
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!
1/27/2009
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks forward to good, green building news for 2009.
4/20/2009
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explains how hemp, a renewable resource, can aid in building zero-carbon homes.
1/11/2010
A new Environmental Protection Agency website helps homeowners and renters decrease their energy consumption and cut carbon emissions.
3/7/2011
Leap Adaptive's 480-square-foot, energy-efficient Hummingbird kit house makes green living affordable.
2/8/2011
Ranging in size from 528 square feet to 960 square feet, miniHomes are a combination of park model trailer, manufactured home and code-compliant residences that combine modern design with state-of-the-art building technology.
6/17/2011
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.
4/18/2011
This tiny kit home—less than 90 square feet—is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
9/22/2010
The World Community Grid uses grid technology and idle computers to power environmental and humanitarian research projects.
4/21/2011
Solar-powered jar lights are pretty but too pricey. You can easily make your own using easy-to-find items from the hardware store.
6/21/2011
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.
3/22/2011
An affordable prototype home helps revitalize a blighted Syracuse, New York, neighborhood--and could be the city home of the future.
3/10/2011
Ken Ruck wants to build a fully self-sustaining earthship on New York's Lower East Side.
5/17/2011
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.
10/25/2011
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).
3/15/2012
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson considers quality over quantity, slow homes and creating something beautiful.
11/16/2010
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.
3/26/2010
Natural Home guest blogger John Patrick explains why he and his wife, guest blogger Rebecca Selove, designed their sustainable Tennessee farmhouse for passive solar gain and a 5.17-kilowatt photovoltaic system. John and Rebecca are building their sustainable Tennessee farmhouse home to LEED Platinum standards.
7/11/2011
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.
2/7/2011
For the first time, acclaimed Not So Big House author and architect brings quality-over-quality design to a residential development.
12/30/2010
Green Builder Media’s Vision and ReVision Houses highlight energy efficiency, water conservation, waste management, indoor air quality and great new green materials.  
10/5/2010
Maintaining indoor air quality is important in a healthy home, but poor craftsmanship can lead to water damage and eventually mold issues.
4/16/2012
Sonya Newenhouse describes how she uses the southern-facing 17-inch-deep windowsills of her Passive House-certified home to grow seedlings.
3/4/2011
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.
3/3/2010
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.
6/17/2011
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.
4/4/2011
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.
2/18/2010
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!
3/28/2011
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.
8/19/2013
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!
9/17/2013
Guest blogger Sarah Lozanova talks about the advantages of downsizing to a small home as her family moves to Belfast Cohousing & Ecovillage.
2/22/2012
The Recharge Mower Ultralite is a Cordless Lithium-powered push mower that weighs under 35 pounds.
2/25/2011
A graduate student experiences the comfort and efficiency of a superinsulated, passive solar home in Taos.
3/17/2011
A California couple is hitting the road in a greened-up Airstream to share and gather lessons on living sustainbly.
5/27/2011
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.
3/22/2011
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.
3/14/2011
Wind power grew by 30 percent and solar power grew by 40 percent in 2010, according to a new report.
9/17/2010
Natural Home guest blogger Rebecca Selove shares the lessons she learned building her now completed green home.
11/16/2011
Alchemy Architects builds its first weeZero, or net-zero weeHouse, in the desert near Moab, Utah.
11/30/2011
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!
3/3/2011
A wonderful, whimsical Austin eco-remodel is the playful expression of two highly creative minds.
5/19/2011
Simone Swan built her off-the-grid domed and vaulted home in Presidio, Texas, as a model of how financially and thermally efficient adobe can be. For $50 a square foot, she built a masterpiece. She says you can, too.
1/6/2011
Enter the Go Solar Giveaway Sweepstakes for a chance to win a solar powered hot water system valued at over $10,000.
5/26/2011
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.
5/9/2011
Designed to be a comfortable, modern home with a minimum impact on the environment, the Cube generates its own energy and proves that you don't have to sacrifice creature comforts to live in a small space.
8/31/2009
Conserve your iPod’s energy with these eco-friendly tricks.
6/10/2011
  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.  
5/25/2011
The Reincarnated McMansion Project aims to tear down one inefficient, climate-insensitive suburban house and replace it with two small, green, handcrafted homes.
6/29/2011
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.
1/26/2012
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson offers inspiration to anyone wanting to build their own home from salvaged materials.
2/16/2012
Deconstruction, breaking down houses bit-by-bit, is a great way to find free building materials to build small low-cost homes.
2/29/2012
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson offers advice on how to incorporate reclaimed materials into home design without the end result looking like "junk."
7/29/2011
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.
10/18/2011
The U.S. Green Building Council recognizes the top projects, developers and home builders participating in its LEED program for 2011.
1/10/2011
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.
1/17/2012
Elizabeth Richardson lays out her plan for building her own salvaged home.
11/29/2011
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.
2/6/2012
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson shares her plans for Blackbird Studio, a 333-square-foot she plans to build.
12/1/2010
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.
4/28/2011
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.
5/31/2011
Guest blogger Sonya Newenhouse describes the HRV (heat recovery ventilation) unit and insulation installation for the NewenHouse Kit Home.
4/11/2012
Guest blogger Elizabeth Richardson shares how she built her home's front porch from salvaged wood—and how she finds beauty in flawed materials.
10/20/2010
Follow along as architect Mark Miller takes his energy-efficient design skills to the next level with the Passive House standard.
1/15/2010
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.
10/22/2010
Architect and Passive House consultant Mark Miller continues his introduction to the Passive House standard.
5/18/2011
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.


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