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Danish Island Is Energy Self-Sufficient

The goal of the Danish island of Samso, home to about 4000 people, is to power their island with completely green power. They heat their homes with grass burned in a central heating system. Their electric come from the wind, and they power their vehicles on biofuel which they also grow. Since 1998, Samso began converting its energy into renewable …

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Efficient: Making Organic Beer

If you are going to brew beer at home, why not brew organic? You’ll have clean tasting, fresh beer without using ingredients that are not genetically modified, and not grown with pesticides. Organic brewmaking ingredients cost slightly more but the rewards are worth the expense (in our moderately humble opinion). On a more technical side, organic malts on average have …

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Non-Toxic Caulk Substitutes

We’ve tracked down a more efficient caulking compound — one that does not contain toxic VOCs (volatile organic compounds) such as toluene and hexane. These are present in conventional caulk because they are cheap to produce. One company, AFMSafeCoat, produces a caulking compound that is a water-resistant, flexible sealant with excellent adhesion.

A Paint Stripper Made From Corn

Conventional paint strippers are usually very toxic substances that you’d be better off not bringing into your home. But one company, Green Products, has created a bio-based paint stripper and solvent called aMAIZEing.

Better Basics For The Home: Less Toxic Living

You can make household and personal care products at home. The mixtures you create will be healthier and of a higher quality than those found in stores. Once you have the right ingredients, mixing them up is quite straightforward. The book, Better Basics for the Home, offers more than 800 simple alternatives to toxic household products, covering everything from skin …

The Solar House: Free Heating

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 …

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Solar Evacuated Tubes: Free Hot Water

For solar water heating in your home, there are basically two types of solar collectors: conventional flat-plate collectors and evacuated tube collectors. Evacuated tubes have a number of advantages: the work on overcast days, in colder weather, and the tubes can be installed and replaced individually without special tools.

Test Tube Vases

These are minimalist test tube vases. They’re available for $9.15 from Sprout Home. Found via Better Living Through Design

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A Modern, Green Modular Cabin: BlueSky Mod

This modern prefab cabin, called the BlueSky MOD, is one of a few examples of affordable green modular homes currently available today (see these books for more examples). It was designed by Todd Saunders, an architect born and trained in Canada and currently working in Norway. The company that sells the homes, also called BlueSky MOD, is run Hy Rosenberg …

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Corn Stoves Are Hot Too

Corn burning stoves are similar to pellets stoves but use corn kernels as fuel instead. Most corn suppliers are located in the interior states, so these stoves are most useful in those areas. Corn is a fuel that burns clean and does not require a conventional chimney. You can vent corn stoves outdoors by using a type “L” or “B” …

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Wood Pellet Stoves Are Hot

Efficient Home Heating With Pellet Stoves

Wood pellet stoves have become very popular this year, due to the fact that heating oil costs have risen 31% and natural gas is up 46%. Pellet stoves are small electric stoves that burn small pieces of recycled sawdust, that have been compressed into pellets. There are a number of advantages to using wood pellet stoves: they are extremely efficient, …

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The Best Low-Flow Toilets

Early on, low-flow toilets got a bad rap — and justifiably so — their flushing ability left a lot to be desired. But today there are many low-flow toilets on the market that work well. Terry Love is a plumber who reviews low-flow toilets. He takes his job seriously, installing some of the toilets his own home were he can …

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Solar Water Heating Simplified

Solar water heating works efficiently even in cloudy areas. Home Power Magazine recently ran an article that gives a simple overview of solar water heating systems (well, relatively simple). In the article, they examine various popular systems that have proven themselves reliable.

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Efficient Wood Burning Stoves

Woodstoves can indeed be a metaefficient way to heat your home. Modern woodstoves are an economical and environmentally sound choice for home heating. Wood has a much higher BTU capacity than gas, and wood is a renewable resource. Older, conventional woodstoves emitted between 30 and 80 grams of particulate matter (smoke) per hour, while the new EPA-approved stoves have reduced …

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Japanese Interiors: Minimalist: Adaptable: Renewable

Traditional Japanese houses are built with bamboo, paper, straw and other kinds of light weight wood, all of which are renewable. The houses are also made with components such as tatami mats, shoji screens and tansu cabinets. The components are fitted together without nails, and are often rearranged. For example, in the bedroom, futons are rolled up and stored away, …

MetaEfficient In the News: LA Times Review

We’re in the news again, with a recent review from the Los Angeles Times: The Reactual Institute, which tries to highlight ecologically sound products, sets a lofty goal on the home page of Meta-Efficient, billing it as a “guide to the most efficient things in the world.” That means products are reviewed based on how well they meet consumer needs …

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EnviroGLAS™ Terrazzo: 100% Recycled Glass Flooring

EnviroGLAS™ Terrazzo is flooring made of 100% post-consumer recycled glass. Recycled glass bottles are crushed, mixed with an epoxy, and poured to form a very appealing surface. Terrazzo, from the Italian word for terraces, was created several hundred years ago in Europe when Venetian workers discovered a new use for discarded marble remnants. EnviroGLAS™ Terrazzo is the latest Terrazzo innovation …

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Biolet Toilets

Notes from Manufacturer: BioLet composting toilets are efficient, compact and reliable appliances which can be easily installed in any location. All models are manufactured from durable, easy to clean ABS plastic and non-corroding stainless steel and are backed by over 25 years of experience, a three year limited warranty and toll free customer support. Home Page: Biolet Price: $1065-2000