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

Archive of: Heating, Cooling & Insulation

Title Issue

10 Smart Energy-Saving Strategies

Energy bills soaring this winter? Fortunately, you can do something about them.

January 2009

Fireplaces As Art

These aren’t your grandfather’s fireplaces. Less than 9 inches deep and featuring minimalist, lightweight designs with natural black granite or limestone finishes, the X-Fires vent-free gas fireplaces from Lennox are designed for installation in apartments or areas of the home where it’s not possible to install a traditional fireplace, such as in a kitchen or home theater.

November 2008

The ABCs of Saving Energy

Across the country this month, some homeowners are writing checks for yet another high cooling bill, while others are dreading the rising heating costs as winter approaches. Although the quick fix to save on energy costs is to turn up the thermostat in the summer and turn it down in the winter, making simple, cost-effective changes in the hidden areas of your home — the attic, basement and crawlspace — can help you save money without sacrificing comfort.

August 2008

A Practical Guide to Pellet Stoves


First things first: I really like my pellet stove. I wanted to get that out of the way, right off. During a harsh winter of record fuel prices in the Northeast, my new wood pellet stove helped keep our 2,000-square-foot house in Maine cozy for roughly half the cost of heating oil. It did the job by burning waste wood, harvested and processed in North America. And in terms of contributing to climate change, heating with wood pellets creates a very small carbon footprint.

August 2008

Taking Care of the Air

Air conditioners are not typically known as eco-friendly appliances, thanks to the use of refrigerants like Freon (also known as R-22), which has been shown to deplete the ozone. However, Freon is being phased out (as of 2010 it cannot be used in any new equipment), and a new generation of eco-friendly air conditioners is on the way.

June 2008

Warming Up to Direct Vent

There’s nothing like a warm fire on a cold day. The ambiance can’t be beat — but unfortunately, as you’re sitting in front of that cozy wood-burning fireplace, it’s greedily consuming your energy dollars.

December 2007

6 Ways to Cut AC Costs

Want to trim your air-conditioning costs this summer? Emerson Climate Technologies provides the following tips for homeowners with central air conditioning.

1. Don't touch that dial. Many homeowners adjust the thermostat two, three or more times a day, which is inefficient. Adjust the dial as little as possible.

2. Appoint a master controller. When multiple members of the family control the thermostat, efficiency suffers. Appoint one person to manage the temperature.

September 2007

The Ultimate in Control

A new waterproof digital control pad from Rinnai, a manufacturer of tankless water heaters, is designed to put efficiency and entertainment at your fingertips. Looking much like a small flat-screen TV, the control pad works in conjunction with Rinnai's Continuum tankless hot-water system. Once it is installed in your shower, near your bathtub, in the kitchen or anywhere else throughout the home, you can use it to set the exact water temperature and water pressure you want, as well as listen to music, check the weather, or watch TV on the control pad's 7-inch screen.

September 2007

Web-Enabled Thermostats

Forget to turn the heat down (or the AC up) when you left the house this morning? Not to worry. Now you can adjust the temperature of your home over the Internet using your computer and a standard Web browser, thanks to a new line of thermostats from Proliphix Inc. Once you've connected the residential-model NT10e thermostat to your home network via Ethernet, you can access it remotely to check and adjust the temperature. With the advanced NT20e, you also can view alarm conditions and monitor up to two remote sensors. It can even send a text message to your cell phone if there's a problem.

September 2007

The ABCs of SIPs

Two years ago, when a small lot next to my property became available, I bought it with the idea of building a small, inexpensive, energy-efficient and affordable rental house on the site. After researching the possibilities of building a conventional stick-frame structure as well as using alternative construction methods, I finally settled on the design of the house next door, and I'm ready to build it using structural insulated panels, or SIPs. SIP is a buzzword increasingly heard in home construction these days.

September 2007
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