Shading Windows & Passive Solar Design-UPDATED

Shading Windows & Passive Solar Design-UPDATED

  Whether you think of it as common sense shading, or if you treat it as a scientific approach to energy efficient passive solar design, every new and remodeled home project should carefully consider these principles: Orient the house to the Sun, if possible.  Allow for exposure to the southern sky to heat the house in Winter.  Minimize direct solar gain to the East and West through tree plantings and […]

Net Zero Energy Home Tour: Sunday, June 7, 1-3 pm

The Net Zero Nest is finally done! Please join us for a tour and see how we transformed our 2 bedroom, 1.5 bath 1957 ranch into a 4 bedroom, 3 bath open concept family home without adding any square footage. We added air conditioning and lowered our annual energy usage by 60%. And we are on track for achieving net zero energy. If you are planning a remodel or curious […]

Kudos to Energy Upgrade California

Kudos to Energy Upgrade California

It was a privilege to meet with the Energy Upgrade California program directors to talk about energy efficient remodeling this week.  These sharp young people are clearly passionate about their mission, and are doing more to encourage homeowners to incorporate energy efficiency into their projects than just about anyone.  They carved out part of their busy meeting to hear our experiences working with the Energy Upgrade California Home Upgrade program, what’s […]

Open House a Big Success

200 visitors attended the “Behind the Walls Open House” event held at the house Sunday, January 11.  There to answer questions were: Dan Hardey, Hardey Construction Cynthia Kraus & Claudia Wiehen, OPENHAUS Design Bryan Amburgey, Solar Source Mike Burch, D’Mand Hot Water Systems It was great to see the turnout, despite the NFL playoffs and rain that morning.  The skies cleared just in time for our real-time solar demonstration.  Visitors […]

Why Us? Why Now?

Why Us? Why Now?

As we continue to write the story of our remodel, things are a little rocky at times. Let’s be honest, remodeling isn’t for the squeamish. It requires a certain tenacity, flexibility, and optimism – especially when you have limited time and money. With each challenge, there have been moments of soul searching…do we really want to do this now? Can we afford it? Will our kids disown us? Will our […]

Gas versus Electric

Gas versus Electric

Most houses are “dual fuel”, meaning in our case that some systems run on natural gas, and others run on electricity.  Typically, gas is used for cooktops, heating water, space heating, and drying clothes.  Electricity is used for space cooling, ovens, washing machines, dishwashers, and everything else in the house.   In designing our net-zero energy house, our goal is to produce enough energy on-site to cover both electric and […]

1,000 Square Feet of Green

1,000 Square Feet of Green

The Solar Decathlon was an inspiring collection of 19 net-zero homes designed by teams of university students, on display in September 2013 at Great Park Irvine. The next event is scheduled for 2015, and I would wholeheartedly recommend taking family and friends for inspiration on how to build houses today. It is amazing what 1,000 square feet can do. These teams of students made 1,000 square feet into comfortable 2-bedroom […]

Net Zero Nest

Net Zero Nest

Introducing the Net Zero Nest A demonstration green home project in Long Beach, CA In collaboration with the City of Long Beach and Southern California Edison, Nick and Holland Brown are building a unique case study home in Long Beach, CA.  This community project will prove the feasibility and affordability of: Reduced energy consumption through a deep energy retrofit Improved indoor air quality though sophisticated monitoring and whole house filtration […]