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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January 8, 2021

Heat Pump Clothes Dryers — Ready for Prime Time

There is an elephant in the utility room. Clothes dryers have big energy appetites. As homes go all-electric, switching to heat pump technology for clothes drying will save energy and reduce carbon emissions, while reducing the wear and tear on your clothes.

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December 10, 2020

Five Things I Learned From Buying a Used Electric Car

If you’re thinking about an electric vehicle, but have been put off by the purchase price, you might consider a used vehicle. With the growing availability of new EVs, early adopters are trading in their older models for new technology, creating an affordable option for others.

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December 9, 2020

How to Find Common Ground with Climate Skeptics 

Most people feel as if society is at a stalemate. Opinions are stuck and steadfast. Tempers flare. Finding common ground with others is more important — and more difficult — than ever. Try these techniques to move toward solutions.

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December 9, 2020

Give a Holiday Gift to the Environment

Tired of giving “stuff” as holiday gifts? Here’s an idea for holiday generosity that benefits the planet and your peeps.

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December 8, 2020

Causes for Optimism

One thing everyone agrees on: 2020 has been hard to take. In spite of protests, pandemic, and politics, there are some spots that burn brighter amidst the darkness. Here are a few developments on the path to zero that deserve our gratitude, support and celebration.

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November 9, 2020

Energy-Efficient Low-Income Apartments 

People living in old apartment buildings often find themselves caught in a bind. They are stuck with high energy bills and have no reasonable path to make improvements. Here are measures that building owners can take to increase the value of their buildings while benefiting residents.

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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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