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Energy Efficiency

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Building Science for the Rest of Us
Building Science for the Rest of Us

7 basic principles to make homes safe, durable, and energy efficient

The Boat House
The Boat House

Housing is Back. Is it Better?
Housing is Back. Is it Better?

Here’s how the tough lessons of the collapse made us more-responsible builders

The Passive House Build, Part Three: Superinsulated Slab
The Passive House Build, Part Three: Superinsulated SlabOnline Membership Required

If you aren’t insulating the edge, you’re only doing half the job

A Small Addition Faces A Tougher Energy Code
A Small Addition Faces A Tougher Energy CodeOnline Membership Required

Energy regs on airtightness, insulation, and mechanical systems mean big changes—even for small buildings

The Passive House Build, Part Two: Air-Sealed Mudsill Assembly
The Passive House Build, Part Two: Air-Sealed Mudsill AssemblyOnline Membership Required

You only have one chance to get this critical detail perfect

The Passive House Build, Part One: Designed for Success
The Passive House Build, Part One: Designed for Success

One architect’s approach to designing a house to meet the country’s most stringent energy requirement

Ranch Transformed, Efficiency Achieved
Ranch Transformed, Efficiency AchievedOnline Membership Required

An architect rebuilds a midcentury wreck into a stylish, energy-smart home for $90 per sq. ft.

Seattle Net-Zero Home
Seattle Net-Zero Home

Best Energy Smart Home: A Higher Standard
Best Energy Smart Home: A Higher Standard

A practical design delivers a remarkably air-tight, super insulated home on a modest budget

Best New Home: Passive House Perfection
Best New Home: Passive House PerfectionOnline Membership Required

This compact farmhouse achieves home building’s highest performance standard without a shred of aesthetic compromise

Best Small Home: A Garden Cottage for Low-Impact Living
Best Small Home: A Garden Cottage for Low-Impact Living

This 800-sq.-ft. infill home was designed for its site and its owners’ lifestyle

Editor's Choice: Modern Masonry Farmhouse
Editor's Choice: Modern Masonry FarmhouseOnline Membership Required

A retirement house in keeping with its rural surroundings conjures old-world sensibilities in modern masonry

The Future of Housing in America
The Future of Housing in AmericaOnline Membership Required

Carter Scott is building and selling whole neighborhoods of affordable spec homes that produce more energy than they consume

The Rise of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)
The Rise of the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU)Online Membership Required

Backyard cottages and laneway houses have become increasingly popular in the Pacific Northwest. Will they work in your neighborhood?

Buttoned Up for a New Century
Buttoned Up for a New CenturyOnline Membership Required

Preservation meets performance when a Brooklyn architect applies Passive House principles to four iconic urban town houses

Energy-Saving Lightbulbs
Energy-Saving Lightbulbs

Incandescent bulbs are changing quickly to keep up with more-efficient, longer-lasting competitors

Build Like This
Build Like This

A simple approach to building a super efficient house starts with six key elements

Code Shock
Code ShockOnline Membership Required

Prepare to face the strictest building codes in history

Cure for a Leaky Stone Foundation
Q & A: Cure for a Leaky Stone Foundation

Double-stud walls
Double-stud walls

Double-stud walls are a low-tech way to create highly energy-efficient walls with common materials and familiar assemblies

A House for All Ages
A House for All AgesOnline Membership Required

An energy efficient modern day farm house offers single-floor living wrapped in low-maintenance, charming detail

A Practical Approach to Passive House
A Practical Approach to Passive HouseOnline Membership Required

An architect's "best work to date" is a super-efficient home that you could build

From a Leaky Old House to a Tight New Home
From a Leaky Old House to a Tight New HomeOnline Membership Required

A young couple retrofits the house next door as an investment in deep energy savings

Santa Cruz Straw Bale
Santa Cruz Straw BaleOnline Membership Required

Net-zero-energy use and whimsical details shine in a new family home

The Trouble With Building Science
The Trouble With Building Science

Few people understand it. Nobody agrees what it is, how to learn about it, or who's responsible for it. It has never been more important

Zero Energy, at Last
Zero Energy, at Last

The sun lends a big hand to this efficient home in the North Carolina mountains

Build It Right: Lessons From New Orleans
Build It Right: Lessons From New OrleansOnline Membership Required

Hurricane Katrina can teach us many things. Make It Right wants safe, affordable, energy-efficient building to be one of them.

How to Insulate a Cold Floor
How to Insulate a Cold Floor

Properly air-sealed floors exposed on the underside to outdoor temperatures will have better energy performance

Air-Sealing a Basement
Air-Sealing a Basement

Close off gable vents?
Q & A: Close off gable vents?

Foam Shrinks, and Other Lessons
Foam Shrinks, and Other LessonsOnline Membership Required

What we learned from updating a 16-year-old deep-energy retrofit

To Vent or Not To Vent?
Q & A: To Vent or Not To Vent?

Payback Time
Payback TimeOnline Membership Required

A small house in Vermont goes above code to cut energy bills by more than half

Designed for Density
Designed for DensityOnline Membership Required

A big house on an infill lot embraces its historic neighborhood and proves that buyers are willing to pay for energy efficiency

Preventing Ice Dams
Preventing Ice Dams

Ice dams are a sign of an inefficient house

Save Energy with a Cool Roof
Save Energy with a Cool RoofOnline Membership Required

Reflective roofing improves comfort and reduces cooling costs in the Deep South and anywhere the sun shines

Rainwater Collection Lowers the Impact on a Coastal Site
Rainwater Collection Lowers the Impact on a Coastal SiteOnline Membership Required

Traditional architecture, new building methods, and rainwater collection combine to lessen a home’s imprint on its sensitive coastal site

Super Energy Efficient Home in a Cold Climate
Super Energy Efficient Home in a Cold ClimateOnline Membership Required

With the help of energy-modeling software, a pair of architects prove that well-designed, functional, and predictable performance is possible on a budget.

The Passive House: Green Without Gizmos
The Passive House: Green Without GizmosOnline Membership Required

“Use less energy” is the mantra of a stringent German building standard that’s catching on.

A Closer Look: Zero-Energy Homes
A Closer Look: Zero-Energy HomesOnline Membership Required

With a balance of conservation and renewable production, these houses make as much energy as they use

A House with Geothermal Heating and Cooling
A House with Geothermal Heating and Cooling

A builder’s home unearths the benefits of geothermal

Six Proven Ways to Build Energy-Smart Walls
Six Proven Ways to Build Energy-Smart Walls

Whether you build new homes or remodel, these alternative framing techniques will allow you to reach R-40 or better.

From Luxury to LEED
From Luxury to LEEDOnline Membership Required

Used to building big houses with big budgets, the Picton brothers earned a platinum rating with their first modest green home—but mastering the learning curve wasn’t always a smooth ride

A Striking Hillside Home
A Striking Hillside HomeOnline Membership Required

In New York state, a new house combines compound curves and energy-saving details

The Bright Future of LightingOnline Membership Required

With stricter energy requirements and improved light technology, we all may be switching to CFLs and LEDs

A Buyer's Guide to Windows
A Buyer's Guide to WindowsOnline Membership Required

They’re one of the most important—and expensive—parts of a house. We help you sort through the materials, styles, and ratings that will influence your choice.

A Green Oasis in a Hot, Dry Climate
A Green Oasis in a Hot, Dry ClimateOnline Membership Required

Defined by a mosaic of indoor and outdoor spaces, a new house tames the sun and adapts a traditional Southwest style for an established neighborhood

Fix the Flow of the House With a Backyard Addition
Fix the Flow of the House With a Backyard AdditionOnline Membership Required

A new family room and master suite, improved entries, and an updated building envelope saved this home from the wrecking ball, again

Power House
Power HouseOnline Membership Required

21st-century technology and a classic look come together in a shingle-style house that produces more energy than it consumes

Audio: Pacific Northwest Architecture
Audio: Pacific Northwest Architecture

An architect highlights the hallmarks of a style that responds to its environment  

Exploiting the Elements of Passive Design
Exploiting the Elements of Passive DesignOnline Membership Required

This home uses five systems to reduce its environmental impact, lower its operating cost, and improve its connection to the land

Build It Green! 2008: A Heat Recovery/Exchange and Solar Hot-Water System
Video: Build It Green! 2008: A Heat Recovery/Exchange and Solar Hot-Water SystemOnline Membership Required

A forward-thinking homeowner invests in a highly efficient HVAC system that includes photovoltaics and a noncombustion furnace

Build It Green! 2008: A Rainwater-Harvesting and Filtration System
Video: Build It Green! 2008: A Rainwater-Harvesting and Filtration SystemOnline Membership Required

Requirements: 1 metal roof, 2500 gallons of rain, and the desire to save the planet

Build It Green! 2008
Video: Build It Green! 2008

A video introduction to Portland's Green Homes Tour + Info Fair

Build It Green! 2008: A Multifunctional Entry
Video: Build It Green! 2008: A Multifunctional EntryOnline Membership Required

Designed with reused materials, this entry for an active family makes use of every inch of space with hooks, cubbies, and lockers

Tour the Kelley Green Home
Tour the Kelley Green HomeOnline Membership Required

Get an in-depth look at a near-zero energy house featuring recycled materials and solar-heating and rainwater-harvesting systems

Building Green Homes in the Pacific Northwest
Building Green Homes in the Pacific Northwest

Video tours and takeaways from Portland's Build It Green! 2008 event

Cheaper Hot Water
Cheaper Hot Water

From wrapping your tank to tapping the sun: Six ways to put your water heater on an energy diet

Kitchen Lighting DesignOnline Membership Required

With the right fixtures in the right places, you can create anything from a soft glow to clear task lighting

Life With a Combo Washer/Dryer
Life With a Combo Washer/Dryer

It takes a little getting used to, but the shirts aren't complaining

Living better, but wasting less

Living off the fat of our water abundance must end, eventually

New Frontiers for Refrigerators
New Frontiers for RefrigeratorsOnline Membership Required

They come in more shapes and sizes than ever, and do their job with less energy and greater precision

A Brick Rehab Meets LEED's Highest StandardsOnline Membership Required

Solar panels aside, you can’t see the upgrades that make this downtown remodel so energy efficient

This Roof Grows Greener
Video: This Roof Grows Greener

Learn how planting a roof can help fight global warming

A push for more near-zero energy homes
A push for more near-zero energy homes

Voluntary Department of Energy program promotes and supports energy-efficient design and construction

A Small, Spacious House for a Skinny City Lot
A Small, Spacious House for a Skinny City LotOnline Membership Required

A contest-winning design squeezes a vaulted living room, a master suite, and room to breathe onto a pencil-thin lot

Mandate passive survivability in building codes
Mandate passive survivability in building codes

Passive survivability is a life-safety issue. How long could you live in your house without power or fuel?

Slip Inside a Skinny House
Video: Slip Inside a Skinny House

What sort of house can you build on a 25 ft. by 100 ft. lot? An architect walks you through her award-winning design.

Understanding LEED-H Scorecards

Reports from three case studies outline what it takes to achieve LEED for Home's silver, gold, and platinum ratings

Making the Green-Building Dean's List

LEED for Homes is a new, comprehensive national certification program for green, energy-efficient homes. Builders who’ve tried it like it, but will it change the way houses are built?

My Mountain BungalowOnline Membership Required

A first-time owner/builder with a modest budget pools talent and resources to create an energy-efficient cottage with rich Craftsman details

Pointed at the SunOnline Membership Required

An innovative solar-heating system is the foundation of an artist’s small country house, where an equally smart plan accommodates both life and work

Getting to Zero Energy

Common-sense solutions for creating homes that are self-reliant, resilient, and versatile

A Better Home Right Now
A Better Home Right Now

This concept home shows how smart design, advanced building practices, and modern technologies improve livability and energy performance

Germans take first prize in solar competition
Germans take first prize in solar competition

College students design and build nearly net-zero energy homes

Green Appeal, Craftsman Feel
Green Appeal, Craftsman Feel

Testing an attainable approach to green practices, an architect designs his own home for a friendly fit in a historic district

Greener by Design
Greener by Design

Faced with strict historic building guidelines, an architect gets clever to stay green

The New Age of Photovoltaics

Increased efficiency and better incentives are driving builders and homeowners alike to a cleaner source of electricity

Why Add a Tank to a Tankless Water Heater?
Why Add a Tank to a Tankless Water Heater?

Instant water heaters save energy and offer endless hot water, but not without some problems. A small tank and a big pump can fix the flaws.

What's the Difference: Green lightbulbs
What's the Difference: Green lightbulbsOnline Membership Required

Compact fluorescents and light-emitting diodes are energy-efficient alternatives to standard bulbs

Solar hot water in a box
Solar hot water in a box

Hot2O solar hot-water system

The Energy-Smart Kitchen
The Energy-Smart Kitchen

Choose the right appliances to curb your home’s energy appetite

Building Codes for a Small Planet
Video: Building Codes for a Small Planet

David Eisenberg discusses the impacts of construction and development on the environment. Some of his examples will surprise you.

Our myopic building codes

Are building officials' practices encouraging builders to perform mediocre work?

What's the Difference: Energy-efficient windows
What's the Difference: Energy-efficient windowsOnline Membership Required

Choosing high-, moderate-, or low-solar-gain units

A Crisp, New Ranch Nestled Among the PinesOnline Membership Required

Innovative site work and a thoughtful floor plan preserve views and a stand of mature pine trees

Designing the Best Last HouseOnline Membership Required

With low-maintenance exteriors, accessible floor plans, and special attention to day-to-day convenience, these two houses can accommodate the changing needs of their aging baby-boomer owners

Downsizing for Comfort

An architect designs a small in-town house that uses sustainable materials, solar energy, and water conservation to improve quality of life (and afford it)

Pathways to a Simple Home
Pathways to a Simple Home

In an excerpt from her book, The Simple Home, architect Sarah Nettleton describes the process behind creating a home that embodies "the luxury of enough."

A High-Performance Spec House
A High-Performance Spec HouseOnline Membership Required

A team approach creates an energy-efficient and environmentally friendly house for a growing market

A House for the End of Cheap OilOnline Membership Required

Healthful, light-filled, and energy-efficient, this home reaches back to its California past and toward a sustainable future

Zero Energy, Infinite Appeal

Winner of a national green-building award, this low-maintenance house should produce as much energy as it uses

12 Ways to Go Green

An interior designer's earth-friendly ideas go easily from Sarah Susanka's showhouse to your house

Energy-Saving ThermostatsOnline Membership Required

Easy to install, these programmable gizmos can save money and keep you comfortable

A Fresh Look at the Fridge
A Fresh Look at the Fridge

Cool new sizes, styles, and accessories show that manufacturers are really thinking outside the (ice)box

A Tranquil Hill Country Homestead

With a wish list as a guide, a Texas couple and their architect built an inviting, accessible, and energy-efficient home

Get the Right Replacement Windows
Get the Right Replacement Windows

They're a big investment with a big potential payoff. Here's what you need to know about types, warranties, comfort, and installation.

A Better Bathroom Bowl

At last, water-saving technology that works

Design a Home that Keeps You Cool, Naturally
Design a Home that Keeps You Cool, Naturally

Let in the breeze, keep out the sun, and stay comfortable when things heat up outside

Energy Efficient From the Ground Up

One builder's plan yields Vermont's most energy-efficient house

A Kitchen to Live In
A Kitchen to Live In

A true "family room" emerges from a practical budget and a taste for simplicity

Energy-Smart Cottage on the PrairieOnline Membership Required

Studio, dining and living areas share a lofty, light-filled space crafted to a modest budget

Red HouseOnline Membership Required

In Wyoming, an updated version of an old farmhouse adds up to an affordable home for a young family

Ensuring the Durability of Energy-Efficient HousesOnline Membership Required

Why are so many of today's homes plagued by rot, mildew and stale air, and what can we do about it?

12 Remodeling Secrets
12 Remodeling Secrets

Cost saving strategies and inspiring design ideas for kitchens, baths and beyond

Audio: Sunny Skies for Solar Energy
Audio: Sunny Skies for Solar Energy

Government sponsored energy competition brings out the brightest designs of these college students

Energy-Smart Details
Energy-Smart Details

Energy-Smart Details

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