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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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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August 14, 2020

Selling the Value of Zero

There is a special connection between homes and homebuyers. Yet many new homes are marketed like commodities. To effectively sell zero energy homes, it’s necessary to create a direct link between buyer needs and these homes’ intrinsic values.

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August 8, 2020

Hey Boomer! Pay Your Carbon Debt!

Baby boomers have enjoyed unprecedented financial opportunity, convenience, and economic security— benefits built largely from extraction and burning of fossil fuels. The resulting impact on Earth’s climate has created the Baby Boomer carbon debt. It’s time for them to take action to preserve the climate for future generations, but there’s not much time.

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July 21, 2020

Six Cities Forge Ahead with Home Energy Disclosures – How Your City Can Join Them

Leading U.S. cities are filling a crucial information gap in the residential real estate market by requiring home energy disclosures for potential homebuyers: a much needed transparency measure and consumer protection practice. This process provides buyers with an energy efficiency rating on every property listed for sale. An online resource and a support network are available for local governments that want to adopt similar energy disclosure measures.

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July 19, 2020

Are Solar Roofs Ready To Go Mainstream?

On new and retrofitted roofs, you can now use aesthetically pleasing solar shingles to keep the weather out and generate renewable energy. They’re more cost-effective than you may think. We compare costs with other roof options and review pros and cons to help you decide if they are right for you.

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June 12, 2020

Does Your Insulation Have Low Embodied Carbon?

Zero energy homes need thick layers of insulation, but some materials have serious climate impacts. Identify the key factors that affect the carbon footprint of insulation materials and some good choices for future projects.

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June 8, 2020

The Smog in Your Kitchen – What the Experts Say

Experts Say Cooking with gas is hazardous to health, according to research that spans the last several decades. A recent study puts the issue in stark terms. Air inside homes can be more unhealthy than outdoor pollution even during a wild fire that fills the air with smoke.

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June 8, 2020

The Many Benefits of All-Electric Design

Decades of advertising tell us that gas is cheap. Even without factoring in the cost of climate change, natural gas is no longer the least expensive choice for residential use. It’s a new era of cost-effective, low carbon, all-electric homes.

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