I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet. In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal. I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one. Here’s what you need:
I’ve been following Matt Risinger’s blog for about a year, because he’s sharing great videos about high-performance homes in Austin, Texas. Take this video about using old pine siding from a home built in 1935. The siding is in a condition to be reclaimed because it’s had enough air to dry when wet over the years. Now that it’s being re-used, Risinger shares the vented rainscreen he used to make sure the siding lasts another 80 years.
Start-up Aeroseal has been getting decent media exposure lately with a writeup on Energy.gov and a listing on This Old House‘s Top 100 Best New Home Products of 2011. The company has an exclusive license to technology originally developed within the Indoor Environment Program at the Energy Department’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In short, Aeroseal sends a sealing mist through air ducts to eliminate holes and cracks of up to 5/8th of an inch — resulting in improved comfort and energy savings.
When we bought our 1958-model home, it was newly painted but there wasn’t much else that was new about the place. The toilets were old and less efficient than modern-style commodes, especially some of the WaterSense versions on the market. One might think it’s expensive to replace an old toilet with a water-efficient model, but it’s not. I was able to swap out mine for less than $120, all costs included. Here’s how:
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Appraising a home is difficult work that’s made more difficult with the growing popularity of high-performance homes. Appraisers have access to training to learn how to better value energy-efficient homes, but a lot of what’s in the home is behind the drywall. Or may not be apparent with a site visit. Which is why I like this addendum created by the Sustainable Finance department of the Earth Advantage Institute.
On average, about 18% of home energy consumption is for water heating, the second largest consumer behind space heating. The primary technology used to do this is the tank-type water heater (both gas- and electric-powered), but solar water heating can be a cost-effective way to generate hot water.