February 8, 2021

Now, a More Climate-Friendly Spray Foam

Spray foam is used enthusiastically by many builders hoping to improve energy performance of their projects. But the hidden climate impact of conventional 2-pound, closed- cell foam is actually a huge step backward. A new generation of low global warming potential spray foam corrects this fatal flaw.

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February 6, 2021

Time to Build and Buy Homes that Power Electric Vehicles 

Two trends are now converging that will promote a zero energy lifestyle. First, electric vehicle sales are poised to grow dramatically. Second, positive energy homes are growing in popularity. These homes create enough energy to supply all at-home energy use and much of the transportation energy for households. It's time for building professionals to build positive energy homes for homebuyers who will soon be driving and charging electric vehicles.

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February 5, 2021

Zero Energy Housing Market Could Double in 2021

The sixth annual inventory of zero energy homes has just been released. It shows considerable growth to almost 28,000 units. Projections indicate the number could double in 2021.

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January 12, 2021

Brightleaf Homes Gets High Value Appraisals 

Brightleaf Homes used zero energy ready homes to break into the Chicago home building market. Building higher value high performance homes was just the beginning. Then they had to make the extra cost work for buyers. Here’s how they do it.

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January 11, 2021

Community Solar: My Experience

Rooftop solar may be ideal for some, but it can be out of reach for others. If you want to live on locally-generated, clean renewable energy, consider a community solar program. Here’s how one family jumped on board and saved money, too.

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November 9, 2020

Keep Cool Without Air Conditioning

Since before the dawn of civilization, humans have stayed comfortable by harnessing the forces of nature. These principles can also be applied in today’s homes and buildings to reduce or eliminate energy used for conventional air conditioning.

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November 9, 2020

Low Carbon Concrete – Starting from the Ground Up

Concrete is the largest source of embodied carbon in buildings, but we can change that. “Green” concrete products are now available that range from somewhat lower carbon, to zero carbon, and carbon negative. Concrete may just flip from villain to hero when builders, designers, and homebuyers demand it.

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October 19, 2020

SelahVista Homes Start with Health

While health is always on the list of zero energy home benefits, it was the motivating force that prompted Steve Weise and Brenda Nunes to develop this 60-unit neighborhood in Central Washington. All homes in the development include a comprehensive package of proven features that protect health, maintain durability, and guarantee zero energy ready performance. But Steve and Brenda are taking the health of their homes to a higher level.

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October 15, 2020

Three Simple, Low-Cost, High-Performance Wall Assemblies

Most builders agree that the most affordable wall system is a variation of something they already build. The standard wood-framed wall assembly must evolve to a higher R-value. But how high? What’s the simplest way to get there? 

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October 15, 2020

Builders – Get Ready for the Renewable Energy Revolution  

The construction landscape is changing rapidly and one of the major drivers is the revolution in renewable energy. These six renewable technology innovations are already shaping the market for new homes. Designers and builders who understand and take advantage of these changes will ride the wave. Those that don’t may just wipe out.

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September 11, 2020

Keep Zero Energy Construction Simple

Ted L. Clifton of Zero Energy Plans has been designing and building zero energy homes using structural insulated panels (SIPs) for many years. He shares his thoughts about affordability, building codes, and electrification in this interview.

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August 15, 2020

Fast-tracking Building Energy Retrofits

At current rates, most offices and homes will not be retrofitted for decades or even centuries to acceptable levels of energy efficiency. One approach is mandatory building performance standards—requiring existing buildings to meet a performance benchmark (energy or carbon intensity, performance rating, etc.), with owners having multiple years to bring buildings into compliance.

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