Energy Efficient Upgrades That Pay For Themselves

by Benjamin Roman •

Home improvement can pay for itself, and even put cash back in your pocket – if you’re putting your money in the right places.  Renovations that increase your home’s energy efficiency aren’t just nice for the environment, they can be economical as well.  The folks at One Block Off The Grid offer a great guide to help you sort out …

Efficient Home Heating With Pellet Stoves

by Benjamin Roman •

The newest generation of home heating stoves, which burn fuel pellets instead of firewood, can be a great choice for fending off winter’s chilly temperatures.  Pellet stoves are available in a wide range of styles and designs, and they can provide an extremely fuel-efficient source of heat.


An Energy Producing Home In Disguise

by Benjamin Roman •

Who says that a home with cutting-edge energy efficiency has to look like an ultra-modern pod? This recently completed Wisconsin home packs so much energy tech that it makes money by selling electricity back to the grid, and it still keeps a low neighborhood profile.


“Low-E” Windows Maximize Buildings’ Energy Efficiency

by Benjamin Roman •

Low-E stands for low emissivity, and these windows are constructed to minimize heat transfer through the glass. Since windows are essentially huge holes in the walls of a building, choosing a low-E window design that’s appropriate for local climate and architecture can greatly increase a structure’s thermal efficiency, while reducing energy use and utility costs.


2010 Review Of Tankless Water Heaters

by Justin Thomas •

Tankless water heaters have been used in Europe and Asia for 50 years, and they are gaining popularity in the US. Right now they represent about 8% of new sales in the US. Tankless heaters, also called on-demand, flash or instant water heaters, qualify for a $300 federal tax credit. How efficient are tankless water heaters?


SolarDucts: Heating Air and Generating Power

by Justin Thomas •

Solar energy is often used to heat water or generate electricity, but it can also be used to heat air. The SolarDuct is a new device that uses sunlight to heat air before it enter a ventilator. They are modular units that can be installed on buildings with flat roofs.


Electric Tankless Water Heaters

by Justin Thomas •

Note: This post has been expanded and updated for 2009! Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed. About 8% to 30% of the energy consumed by a standard water heater goes to keeping the water hot while it’s not being used. New tankless systems heat the water instantly when you turn on the faucet, rather than keeping …

Metaefficient: Trombe Walls

by Justin Thomas •

Incorporating a Trombe Wall into a house is one of the most efficient ways to capture the heat of the sun. They work in the mildest to the most severe of climates. Basically, sunlight strikes the wall through a window, and the Trombe Wall heats up, causing warm air to flow into a room.


Efficient Floor

by Justin Thomas •

Using stone to capture heat from the sun is metaefficient.

The Solar House: Free Heating

by Justin Thomas •

People often think of using solar energy for producing electricity, but it is actually easier to harness the power of the sun to heat your home. It’s free heat that has been utilized since ancient times but few modern architects or builders really understand the principles involved. The Solar House, by Dan Chiras, explains architectural techniques that can be incorporated …