Solar hot water / Guides

Electric Heaters - is heating with electric an eco-friendly option?
Heating with electricity

Heating with electricity or hydroelectric is far cleaner than electricity generated by burning fossil fuels, such as coal or gas fired generation plants. Thankfully the percentage of green electricity in the US is on the increase with renewable generation provided a new record of 742 million megawatthours (MWh) of electricity in 2018, ne...

What is Interstitial Condensation? (And how to stop it!)
Walls and Roofs

What is Interstitial Condensation in Walls or Roofs? (And how to stop it!)

...water that soaks into building materials. This may sound just like the surface condensation you would see on windows, however it is not. While the mechanism is the same science as surface condensation, interstitial condensation forms in the core of home structures. This causes damage we can't typically see until most...

Frost in Attics: What causes Attic Ice? How to Fix it?
Roof assemblies - renovation

Why is there frost in my attic? Is ice in roofs a problem & How do I stop it?

...water collecting. A little bit of frost forming is not unusual after really low nighttime temperatures, and it isn't a huge problem if it is able to melt and evaporate so that the wood can dry. However, it becomes a more serious problem when the quantity of frost isn't able to evaporate before more starts to accumula...

Building a Passive House that's LEED Certified too - an Owner's Tale
Passive House

An owner/builder's account of building a Passive House

...water resistance (allowing any humidity that might find its way into the wall cavity to dry to the outside). Picking & installing the right air/water membranes and appropriate tapes and being incredibly meticulous in their application is paramount to the building’s airtightness . Double stud wall constr...

Mobile tiny house
Tiny house

Is Tiny House living in a cold climate good or bad for the planet?

...water and sewage - these can be the Achilles heels of tiny houses, at least the mobile ones. The options for waste are holding tanks and composting toilets. Both require maintenance and neither comes cheap. The options for potable water are rainwater storage and treatment or filling up somewhere, also costly or a hassl...

High efficiency wood stoves
Wood stove and biomass heat

Heating with wood and biomass fuel as to be dangerous to touch. If you are able to place it in the path of the sun, you will also have solar heat gain as the sun warms the stone. During the time of construction, you can also have metal piping embedded in the stone which can be used to preheat domestic hot water or transfer heat through your home w...

Condensation on windows in our homes - why is it there? - how to stop it?
Walls and Roofs

Condensation on windows is a pain but is it a problem & how to stop it?

...water sparingly and often for best effect. Check for water leaks! – Any pipes carrying water in the house, both delivery of hot and cold or heating and evacuation, should be checked for leaks and any leaks fixed promptly. All excess humidity in a home’s structure is best removed at the source – so also check gutters,...

Earthship in Taos, New Mexico, shame they don't work in cold climates
Concept and design

Do Earthships work in cold climates?

...hotovoltaic solar panels and wind, propane is typically used for cooking, and in colder climates water heating. Rainwater is collected, stored in large plastic cisterns and filtered for residential use; waste water is treated on site and used for growing food. The south-facing wall is all windows and acts as a heat...

High efficiency fireplaces and how to choose one
Wood stove and biomass heat

Choosing the right wood-burning stove or fireplace for both heat output & the environment fire to take the edge off a chilly morning. It starts up fast, it burns really hot and it's over before you know it. Different tools for different jobs. You may have heard that burning wet wood will clog up your stovepipe faster, which it does, though the problem is not with the moisture itself but that the moist...

Snowboarder, Mike, Basich's, off-grid cabin in the woods with hot tub
Tiny house

Off-grid tiny house in the heart of the Sierras.

...hotographer Mike Basich built himself an epic Tiny off-grid cabin. Without a bedroom or bathroom per se, but equipped with a hot tub and chairlift, this gorgeous Tiny House is most perfectly situated in the heart of the Sierras. © Mike Basich Basich began his career as one of the pioneers of s...

Non-toxic, naturally-dyed Easter eggs
Lifestyle and environment

DIY non-toxic & all natural Easter egg dye.

...Hot dye method (process used for the eggs pictured) Add the appropriate amount of dye material and uncooked eggs to enough water to generously cover the eggs during the process. If you're using a vegetable, chop or grate it before adding it to water. When using a spice, use powdered or grind it well. When the wat...