Articles - September, 2011

KB Home Unveils Efficient ZeroHouse 2.0

KB Home, a publicly-traded home builder with its headquarters in Los Angeles, this month announced the nationwide roll out of net-zero energy home designs called ZeroHouse 2.0.  The standard KB Home with Energy Star certification is built to save homeowners about $1,000 in average annual energy costs, while a ZeroHouse 2.0 design is expected to eliminate monthly electricity charges.

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BamDeck is a New Bamboo Deck Option

Cali Bamboo is now offering a new product, BamDeck, which is a composite material made with 100% recycled content — 60% recycled bamboo fibers, 40% recycled plastics.  It’s twice as dense and strong as the leading competitor, according to Cali Bamboo, and doesn’t require sealing, painting, or refinishing.  BamDeck comes in four colors (natural, coffee, caramel, and slate) and three surface options (smooth, rigid, or alternating).  Quotes available through Cali Bamboo.

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Dodging a Draft, Connecticut Prefab, Italian Job Housing, + Little Big Houses

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Efficient Upcycled Duplex in Portland

Hammer & Hand, a design-build firm based in Portland, is getting well-deserved attention for transforming this circa 1905, dilapidated eyesore into an energy-efficient duplex that uses less than $100 per month in energy.  With the help of Scott Edwards Architecture, the team expanded tiny spaces and transformed the lower level to facilitate aging in place.

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Solar Decathlon: Let The Games Begin!

Solar Decathlon 2011 all teams photo

Today, the Solar Decathlon officially opens to the public and the games begin.  The competition is organized by the Department of Energy, and 19 teams have invested more than two years of effort to design, build, and operate solar-powered homes that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive.  The winner will be the one with the highest score after the following ten contests:
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Solar PV Install Costs Continue to Drop

solar panels in a field of the sun

The value proposition of solar energy is driving great opportunities for homeowners looking to invest in sustainable power production.  In fact, the average installed cost of a solar PV system completed in 2010 fell by 17% from the prior year, and the cost has also dropped an additional 11% so far in 2011, according to the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

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