Remodeling and Home Design

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    4 Green Things I’d Buy Right Now If I Could

    A Michelle Kaufmann-designed Breezehouse , by Blu Homes.

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    New form helps appraisers see green

    If you’re a conservation-minded homeowner and you go to the trouble, and expense, of installing a high-efficiency furnace or a truckload of insulation or other energy-saving features, you’d probably like to get credit for adding value to the place.

    But that doesn’t tend to happen in a property appraisal because, among other reasons, the existing appraisal paperwork doesn’t spell out the range of features and upgrades that are increasingly available in our more green-conscious world.

    Recently, however, the Appraisal Institute introduced an optional addendum form that should help some homes get credit for being green.

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    ‘Active House’ Upends Russian Energy Habits

    On a recent Saturday, a bus filled with local architects arrived at a field 12 miles southwest of Moscow. As a light snow began to fall, they made their way past a handful of model homes to a wooden A-frame whose spare, modern lines could be straight out of Dwell magazine.

    With thermal solar panels, a geothermal-powered heat pump and a slick touch-screen system in the living room that automatically raises and lowers window shades depending on the carbon dioxide levels in the interior, the Moscow active house is one of a small vanguard of green residential buildings popping up in the country.

    The Moscow house project was initiated by the Velux Group, a

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    Net-Zero Certification Spins Off from Living Building Challenge

    The International Living Future Institute (ILFI), owner of the Living Building Challenge, is going where no certification program has gone before with a new Net Zero Energy Building Certification program. Jason McLennan, chief executive officer of ILFI, sees this program as a response to environmental constraints that a growing human population is facing on an already stressed planet.
    Many projects are claiming net-zero-energy status, often based on modeling with little documentation to verify their performance post-occupancy. McLennan told

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    Case Study: Extreme Retrofit Project Honors the Past While Looking to the Future – EcoHome Magazine

    When architect Terrell Wong and her husband decided to conduct an energy-efficient renovation of their 90-year-old home, there were many parts of the house they wanted to preserve. The house, which had been in her husband’s family for 35 years, had beautiful hardwood flooring and dark kitchen cabinets that her mother-in-law had commissioned 35 years ago. Plus, it was located in the historic Rosedale neighborhood of Toronto.
    “I wanted to honor it,” says Wong, owner of Stone’s Throw Design in Toronto.

    But there was one important feature of the house Wong wanted to do away with: the $12,000 annual utility bills. The home’s heat was provided by two gigantic oil tanks in the basement. The construction was typical of a home from its time period: The exterior was 8-inch brick,

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    To Separate Green from Greenwash, Use Material Safety Data Sheets

    Did you know that all manufacturers of chemicals are required by law to describe clearly and completely the hazards of chemical products? A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS), called simply a Safety Data Sheet (SDS) in many countries, documents the hazards of chemicals. Primarily intended for industrial and professional users, even the products on the shelf at your local store usually have MSDSs. How else would the employees at the store know how to clean up in case a couple cartons of household cleaner fall

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