Chelsea Green Publishing

The Greened House Effect

Pages:280 pages
Book Art:Full color illustrations throughout
Size: 7 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603584500
Pub. Date May 24, 2013
eBook: 9781603584517
Pub. Date May 24, 2013

The Greened House Effect

Renovating Your Home with a Deep Energy Retrofit

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
May 24, 2013


Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
May 24, 2013

$29.95 $23.96

With greater public awareness of the need for energy independence, the issue of how we can make our existing homes more resource efficient is becoming ever more critical. Residential buildings make up a large fraction of our energy needs, largely due to heating and air-conditioning. So it's no longer enough to simply do the small stuff, like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs, or turning down the thermostat at night.

In The Greened-House Effect, author Jeff Wilson brings his twenty-five years of construction experience and knowledge of home building to bear on making our current houses cleaner, greener, and healthier. Think of a deep-energy retrofit (DER) as a "home makeover" - one that represents a significant investment, but that saves money from the get-go by capturing the energy you "drop on the ground" every month, every year, through inefficiency, poor design, or simply living in a typical older home.

Using his own family's DER of their 1942 home as a prime example, Wilson weaves a readable narrative at a practical, hammer-and-nail level. He presents the solutions to our building and energy problems, making them seem possible for average homeowners and small contractors by offering the right set of information, skills, and materials.

More technical information is presented in sidebars and graphs, and numerous color photos illustrate the process, including:

  • Testing the energy efficiency of your home and learning where improvements need to be made
  • Issues of local building codes and regulations
  • Financing and paying for a DER
  • Major components of the DER, such as roofs, exterior walls, basements, and home systems

Wilson's building experience, along with his lifelong passion for energy issues, all come together to form an inspirational, can-do approach to making our neighborhood, our community, our nation, and our world a better place - one home at a time.


ForeWord Reviews-

“In his hands-on guide to energy-efficient renovations for homeowners, construction expert Jeff Wilson presents highly useful strategies that are not only doable for those with no remodeling experience, but also budget friendly and practical.

In The Greened House Effect, Wilson notes that his interest in the subject kicked off when he decided to renovate his seventy-year-old house. Motivated by the desire to cut his home’s energy costs, he began discovering a greater impact to “a deep energy retrofit,” in which changes to single homes could add up to far-reaching changes for the United States.

Described by Wilson as “weatherization on steroids,” a deep energy retrofit involves everything from redoing insulation to purchasing new appliances. Even focusing on one aspect of eco-renovation, such as patching up a house’s small cracks and drafts can result in less humidity during the summer, saving on air conditioning costs.

Using a writing style that blends passionate activism with step-by-step instruction, Wilson details how homeowners can design a deep energy retrofit, find financing, deal with roofs, manage basement moisture, and handle walls, doors, and windows. He also provides information on ultrahigh-efficiency additions that increase a home’s square footage without affecting its carbon footprint.

Throughout, Wilson acts as a knowledgeable, helpful construction Sherpa who covers a wide range of topics without sounding rushed. Many times, his personable tone feels like neighborly advice instead of the more traditional, personality-free writing often found in how-to books. Also helpful, The Greened House Effect has ample photos for illustrating main points and smaller details. Even some of these show Wilson’s friendly approach, like the photo of his young daughter with crowbar in hand, helping to demolish a basement wall.

For those who prefer extra credit projects, or have some construction experience, Wilson includes projects for integrating wind and micro-hydro power as well as solar panels. He makes a compelling argument for going beyond simple renovations with home projects, and seeing the bigger picture of energy independence.

Although Wilson’s larger aims of economic security and environmental awareness are notable, for many homeowners, this guidebook will be most useful for offering practical, straightforward advice for renovations that create lasting effects. Sometimes, change literally begins at home.”

Library Journal-

"How energy efficient is your home? HGTV and DIY Network host Wilson, who boasts 25 years of construction and remodeling experience, uses the energy retrofit of his own 1940s Midwest home as a case study. Starting with energy audits to identify problem areas, he launches a plan to tackle energy drains, from roof to basement and everything in between, before venturing into alternative energy. This title emphasizes the long-term cost savings of DIY energy efficiency; however, though some of these renovations are do it yourself, many actually require specialty contractors and suppliers. Whereas Paul Scheckel’s The ­Homeowner’s Energy Handbook includes more individually defined projects, Wilson’s approach is more ambitious. The writing is excellent and enjoyable, and the list of resources at the end is very useful. VERDICT A solid addition for those willing to tackle more. ­Recommended."

“Jeff Wilson has provided an extraordinary service to all of us who are struggling to make our homes more energy efficient. I know of no other book that takes the reader on such a thoroughly entertaining but equally fact-filled tour of all the options and challenges in making an older home equal to, or better than, new. For anyone who is serious about making their existing home a better custodian of our planet’s resources, The Greened House Effect is a must read. If I could add an addendum to my own book, Not So Big Remodeling, I’d tell my readers, ‘To really understand how to do a Deep Energy Retrofit right, read The Greened House Effect.’”--Sarah Susanka, architect and author of The Not So Big House series

The Greened House Effect is inspiring, empowering, informative, and entertaining. Jeff Wilson puts a human face on a technical undertaking by relating his family’s Deep Energy Retrofit (DER) story as an adventure drama—with defining moments, ‘learning experiences,’ and palpable joys—interspersed with solid advice about how to carry out one’s own DER.

At the same time, Wilson views a single DER in the context of a growing movement that can positively impact our economy, environmental pollution, and national security. The Greened House Effect means a better life, for one family and for the world.”--Carol Venolia, architect, Come Home to Nature, and coauthor, Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House

“Professionals will debate the techniques, and economists will debate the payback, but no one will debate Jeff Wilson’s pluck in attacking his own Deep Energy Retrofit—all the while living with his family in the house! The Greened House Effect is a good overview of the DER field and a great argument for moving out while you do the work! Jeff must have a very patient wife!”--Steve Thomas, former host of PBS’s This Old House and Planet Green’s Renovation Nation

“I live on an island. There are 17,000 existing buildings here. Each will be brought into the 21st century, at some point, or be summarily discarded—demolished, dumped, and replaced. The Deep Energy Retrofit method is the key to restoring our existing housing stock. At South Mountain Company we practice this approach. Jeff Wilson does, too, and he has written a comprehensive and robust introduction to the subject that balances practical instructions with design, engineering, and social/environmental context. The Greened House Effect is very informative.  And it’s a good read, too.”--John Abrams, president and CEO, South Mountain Company, Inc., author of Companies We Keep


Jeff Wilson

Jeff Wilson has twenty-five years' experience in the building industry, both as a "pickup contractor" and as a television and radio host for various programs on the HGTV and diy networks. In his career he has demonstrated and done everything from small-scale home-construction projects to historic-home renovations. Together with his wife he runs his own video production company (Little Blue House Productions) and operates a website ( He is currently developing a multimedia website based on this project ( He lives with his family in Athens, Ohio.


January 20, 2016

Jeff Wilson at Michigan Sierra Club

109 E Grand River Ave,, Lansing, MI, 48906 | Jeff Wilson
More details to come.

See all Events by this Author


The Greened House Effect- Espisode 1

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 2

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 3

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 4

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 5

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 6

The Greened House Effect- Espisode 7


Build Your Own Earth Oven

Build Your Own Earth Oven

By Kiko Denzer and Hannah Field

Earth ovens combine the utility of a wood-fired, retained-heat oven with the ease and timeless beauty of earthen construction. Building one will appeal to bakers, builders, and beginners of all kinds, from:

    •    the serious or aspiring baker who wants the best low-cost
bread oven, to
    •    gardeners who want a centerpiece for a beautiful
outdoor kitchen, to
    •    outdoor chefs, to
    •    creative people interested in low-cost materials and
simple technology, to
    •    teachers who want a multi-faceted, experiential project for students of all ages (the book has been successful  with
 everyone from third-graders to adults).

Build Your Own Earth Oven is fully illustrated with step-by-step directions, including how to tend the fire, and how to make perfect sourdough hearth loaves in the artisan tradition. The average do-it-yourselfer with a few tools and a scrap pile can build an oven for free, or close to it. Otherwise, $30 should cover all your materials--less than the price of a fancy "baking stone." Good building soil is often right in your back yard, under your feet. Build the simplest oven in a day! With a bit more time and imagination, you can make a permanent foundation and a fire-breathing dragon-oven or any other shape you can dream up.

Earth ovens are familiar to many that have seen a southwestern "horno" or a European "bee-hive" oven. The idea, pioneered by Egyptian bakers in the second millennium BCE, is simplicity itself: fill the oven with wood, light a fire, and let it burn down to ashes. The dense, 3- to 12-inch-thick earthen walls hold and store the heat of the fire, the baker sweeps the floor clean, and the hot oven walls radiate steady, intense heat for hours.

Home bakers who can't afford a fancy, steam-injected bread oven will be delighted to find that a simple earth oven can produce loaves to equal the fanciest "artisan" bakery. It also makes delicious roast meats, cakes, pies, pizzas, and other creations. Pizza cooks to perfection in three minutes or less. Vegetables, herbs, and potatoes drizzled with olive oil roast up in minutes for a simple, elegant, and delicious meal. Efficient cooks will find the residual heat useful for slow-baked dishes, and even for drying surplus produce, or incubating homemade yogurt.

Available in: Paperback

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Build Your Own Earth Oven

Alan Scott, Kiko Denzer, Hannah Field

Paperback $17.95



By Ugo Bardi

As we dig, drill, and excavate to unearth the planet’s mineral bounty, the resources we exploit from ores, veins, seams, and wells are gradually becoming exhausted. Mineral treasures that took millions, or even billions, of years to form are now being squandered in just centuries–or sometimes just decades.

Will there come a time when we actually run out of minerals? Debates already soar over how we are going to obtain energy without oil, coal, and gas. But what about the other mineral losses we face? Without metals, and semiconductors, how are we going to keep our industrial system running? Without mineral fertilizers and fuels, how are we going to produce the food we need?

Ugo Bardi delivers a sweeping history of the mining industry, starting with its humble beginning when our early ancestors started digging underground to find the stones they needed for their tools. He traces the links between mineral riches and empires, wars, and civilizations, and shows how mining in its various forms came to be one of the largest global industries. He also illustrates how the gigantic mining machine is now starting to show signs of difficulties. The easy mineral resources, the least expensive to extract and process, have been mostly exploited and depleted. There are plenty of minerals left to extract, but at higher costs and with increasing difficulties.

The effects of depletion take different forms and one may be the economic crisis that is gripping the world system. And depletion is not the only problem. Mining has a dark side–pollution–that takes many forms and delivers many consequences, including climate change. 

The world we have been accustomed to, so far, was based on cheap mineral resources and on the ability of the ecosystem to absorb pollution without generating damage to human beings. Both conditions are rapidly disappearing. Having thoroughly plundered planet Earth, we are entering a new world.

Bardi draws upon the world’s leading minerals experts to offer a compelling glimpse into that new world ahead.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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Jorgen Randers, Ugo Bardi

Paperback $24.95

The Carbon-Free Home

The Carbon-Free Home

By Stephen & Rebekah Hren

You probably know that energy used in your home produces more global-warming pollution than your car, but what can you do to reduce your reliance on fossil fuels? Maybe you daydream of starting from scratch, building a new, super-efficient, passive-solar, off-grid house—but in reality you’ve got a roof (and a mortgage) over your head already. How can you turn your existing house into an environmental asset? One that simultaneously saves you money on utilities and insulates you from the possible shocks of Peak Oil?

Read this book—then grab your handsaw, tape measure, and drill, and get started! A life powered by the sun is waiting for you. Meant as a guide for renovating existing homes, The Carbon-Free Home gives you the hands-on knowledge necessary to kick the fossil-fuel habit, with projects small and large listed by skill, time, cost, and energy saved. For every aspect of your life currently powered by fossil fuels, The Carbon-Free Home offers alternatives you can accomplish yourself to get started using renewable and sustainable sources of power.

Having weaned themselves completely from fossil fuels in their conventional 1930s urban house, Rebekah and Stephen Hren provide a map for others to do the same. Their book shows first how to reduce energy consumption, then to retrofit existing homes to obtain all heating, cooling, cooking, refrigeration, hot water, and electricity from renewable sources. The Hrens also provide advice on renewable methods of transportation and home gardening. These practical approaches fit anyone’s budget and can be implemented over time to progressively liberate a home from fossil-fuel dependency.

Available in: eBook

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The Carbon-Free Home

Stephen & Rebekah Hren

eBook $35.00

Energy: Use Less-Save More

Energy: Use Less-Save More

By Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert

100 energy saving tips for everything in your home or business!

Did you know . . .

  • Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical home
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs last about 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and consume about 1/5 of the energy
  • If we all turned off our TVs and other gadgets that are kept on stand-by, we could shut down a couple of power stations in the United States, with huge reductions in CO2 emissions
  • Our energy use is projected to increase 17% from 1995-2015
  • Our homes produce even more CO2 emissions than our cars

This book gives you 100 energy-saving tips for the home—from simple things like switching off unnecessary lights and having a shower instead of a bath, to more drastic measures such as installing a condensing boiler. If each one of us acts on just a few of these suggestions, we can save money—and help slow down climate change.



Available in: eBook

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Energy: Use Less-Save More

Amanda Cuthbert, Jon Clift

eBook $7.95