Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

DIY: Cut Your Electric Bill and Beat the Heat

Is your electricity bill rising with the soaring temperatures as you try to stay cool this summer?

By changing a few simple habits you can reduce the heat and your energy costs. Such as: Unplug your electronics when you’re not using them; grill or prepare food instead of cooking with the stove or oven; hang your laundry to dry, draw your drapes during the day – and more.

Already doing these simple things but still sweating?

While these small habitual changes can make a difference, there are deeper, structural changes you can make, too, to make your home more energy efficient. An efficient home is cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and it can help reduce your environmental impact and save you a considerable amount of money.

Jeff Wilson, author of The Greened House Effect, shows you how to slash your energy costs up to 90% in this video, where he does a spray insulation as part of a Deep Energy Retrofit (DER).

Before you rip off your roof and get in over your head, be sure to do a thorough evaluation of your home. A HERS (Home Energy Rating System) test or other energy audit will help you determine where your home is leaking air. Wilson recommends getting an audit because it “will allow you to target the worst perpetrators of energy wasting crimes in your home so that you can concentrate on fixing the big problems first.”

Once you complete your evaluation, you can begin analyzing your problem areas and determine where to start. A full-on DER may not be for every home, but there may be some areas of your home where you can significantly improve your energy efficiency.

Get started by reading the excerpt on Designing Your Deep Energy Retrofit from The Greened House Effect below.

Excerpt: Designing a DER by Chelsea Green Publishing

The Limits to Growth and Greece: Systemic or Financial Collapse?

Could it be that the ongoing Greek collapse is a symptom of the more general collapse that the Limits to Growth model generates for the first two decades of the 21st century? Author Ugo Bardi (Extracted: How the Quest for Mineral Wealth is Plundering the Planet) examines the correlation between what is unfolding between Greece […] Read More..

Permaculture Q&A: Mulching Options for Your Garden

As Permaculture Month continues, we are making our expert authors available to answer your burning permaculture questions. If you have a question to submit, fill out this form. This week, Lottie from Florida asked if there are other garden mulch options that are as effective as hay. Josh Trought, one of our soil building and garden management […] Read More..

Designing Your Own Solar Cooker & Dehydrator

In today’s world, nearly everything we use, from phones and computers to cars and kitchen appliances, requires energy derived from fossil fuels. Wouldn’t it be nice to offset some of that energy use by harnessing the renewable power of the sun? Josh Trought, founder of D Acres—an educational center in New Hampshire that researches, applies, […] Read More..

Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model

If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? How would you develop an organizational structure and connect with your community? And, how would you make sure all of this […] Read More..

A Man Apart: Remembering Bill Coperthwaite’s Radical Life

A Man Apart is the story—part family memoir and part biography—of Peter Forbes and Helen Whybrow’s longtime friendship with Bill Coperthwaite (A Handmade Life), whose unusual, and even radical, life and fierce ideals helped them examine and understand their own. Framed by Coperthwaite’s sudden death and brought alive through the month-long adventure of building with […] Read More..