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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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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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 11, 2020

Energy-Efficient Windows Help Close Holes in Your Envelope 

Seven times more heat can escape through a window than a wall. There are more choices than ever to balance energy performance with the other important benefits of windows. Choosing windows wisely will help close the gap.

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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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May 20, 2020

Four Steps to Zero Carbon Buildings

New homes and buildings will stand for decades, if not centuries. The carbon emissions embodied in the building materials and resulting from the manufacturing and construction processes must be factored into their overall carbon footprints. These four steps will get us started on the path to zero carbon.

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May 19, 2020

How to Buy Carbon Offsets 

With only a few years left to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, we must move rapidly toward a zero carbon society. Direct action is essential, but can’t happen fast enough. Carbon credits must play an important role in the transition.

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March 18, 2020

The Mystery of Misapplied Mini-Splits

If you’ve ever heard that a mini-split heat pump wasn’t fulfilling its potential there is no mystery — the problem was almost certainly errors in design or installation. Here’s everything that needs to happen for a proper installation and reliable performance.

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March 18, 2020

Production Builders, It’s Time to Sell Zero Energy Homes 

Zero energy homes are poised to go mainstream. Large builders have the scale necessary to launch the market into this new territory. Homebuyers save and builders profit.

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March 14, 2020

Make Hot Water the Modern Energy Efficient Way

Heat pump water heaters have been available for several years and are gradually gaining acceptance in new construction as well as in the replacement market. Here is guidance for the best application of this technology with an emphasis on colder climates.

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February 15, 2020

Wall Upgrades for Deep Energy Retrofits

Upgrading the energy performance of walls in an existing home is the most challenging aspect of a deep energy retrofit. One of these eight options will work for just about any zero energy renovation.

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