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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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 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 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 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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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

Protect Homebuyers, Reward Efficiency

Economists often say that markets make the best decisions. But that can be true only when markets have accurate and complete information. Today, the housing market is flying blind regarding one of the most important characteristics of a home: energy use. The solution is mandatory energy disclosure at the time of sale. It’s good for buyers, sellers and the climate.

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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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