Innovative solutions for creating healthy, efficient, eco-friendly homes

Archive of: Alternative Energy

Title Issue
Book review: "Power from the Wind"

Book review: "Power from the Wind"

Faced with frequent power outages, skyrocketing energy costs and constant reminders of the impacts of conventional energy sources, homeowners and businesses are beginning to explore ways to generate their own electricity to reduce fuel bills and their carbon footprint – and to achieve greater independence.

June 2009

Home solar by satellite

The process of installing solar panels on a home often involves several preliminary visits by an installer, who will take elaborate measurements of your roof, possibly resulting in added costs and delays caused by scheduling conflicts. However, a California company has reduced this preliminary stage of the process to just a few short hours, thanks to a simplified online system that uses satellite imagery.

August 2008

The Alternative-Energy Puzzle

While I was putting together this issue of Smart HomeOwner (my first as the magazine's new managing editor, by the way), someone in our office made an interesting comment about our special home energy section. If all these alternative energy sources we're writing about are so efficient and environmentally friendly, he mused, why aren't they more popular?

Good question.

September 2007

Biodiesel Hits Home

What do Jim Ashton of Vassalboro, Maine, William Grace of Seattle and Maine's Governor John Baldacci have in common? All of them have heated their homes with biodiesel, a blended fuel that includes new or recycled vegetable oil.

September 2007

Tapping Into the Sun According to the site, a typical 2-kw residential rooftop solar system can produce about half the electricity needed for an average home, or about 3,600 kw-hours per year.


September 2007

Solar Hot Water Pays Off

Energy costs are escalating more rapidly today than at any other time in history, and energy bills are squeezing budgets. The good news: Every hour of sunlight delivers enough energy to provide all the power consumed worldwide in a year.

There's never been a better time to invest in systems that will capture the sun's power and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. For the majority of homes in the United States, heating domestic hot water is the second largest use of energy, consuming an average of 16 percent -- and as much as 30 percent -- of every dollar spent on energy.

September 2007

Solar Harvest in the Rockies

From the outside, with its rows of south-facing windows and its roof covered in solar panels, the Solar Harvest home resembles an ecologically responsible mountain inn or retreat. But instead of being located in a Rocky Mountain resort area, this 4,600-square-foot residence is situated in a typical neighborhood in Boulder, Colo., surrounded by older, more conventionally built homes.

September 2007

What's New Under the Sun

In an effort to keep the wave of interest in solar power rolling merrily along, manufacturers are introducing new solar panels that are sleeker and more powerful than their predecessors.

For instance, Sharp Electronics Corp., based in Mahwah, N.J., recently introduced new 62-watt solar modules that are designed to integrate seamlessly with Monier Lifetile, Hanson and Eagle Roofing concrete roof tiles. Each solar module replaces five flat concrete tiles and is resistant to moisture, impact and high winds.

September 2007

The Green Marketplace

A new online marketplace is designed to help homeowners find renewable energy professionals in their area. Developed by Verde Energy, an Austin, Texas, renewable energy services company, the free service matches homeowners who are interested in green energy projects with contractors and businesses that are experienced at installing residential solar, wind, hydroelectric and fuel cell alternative energy systems.

The homeowner begins by filling out an online survey that describes the type of system he or she would like installed, such as a rooftop solar energy system.

September 2007

The Solar Umbrella

How do you turn a vintage Spanish-style bungalow in the design-savvy beach community of Venice, Calif., into a decidedly up-to-date family retreat? Quite simply, by looking to the past while incorporating the most innovative building techniques of the present.

That's what homeowners and architects Lawrence Scarpa and Angela Brooks did when updating their 650-sq.-ft., two-bedroom, one-bath residence, which was built in 1924.

September 2007
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