One cancer risk you can easily remove from your life

It’s a little like a storyline from those nuclear-age science-fiction movies from the 1950s. An invisible, insidious gas invades your home, poised to undermine your family’s health.
But this is no fiction. It’s radon, a gas that exists naturally in the earth, but can concentrate in homes raising the cancer risk for those who are exposed long term.

Smart meters may need to be a little smarter, and safer

Here’s a scary thought just released on Halloween, what if your smart meter were leaking information about you to the world?

Automatic Meter Reading systems may need better security, according to a USC team.

With millions of so-called “smart meters” being installed in the U.S. annually, utility companies are getting closer to creating a smart grid that can target energy delivery where it’s needed and thus avoid having to run extra capacity at power plants. It’s a potential win-win that could help keep energy prices affordable.

Tea Partiers win light bulb concession; but energy experts say prospects for better bulbs are still bright

Far right GOPers who oppose federal standards for energy efficient light bulbs have successfully attached a rider to the big spending bill moving through Congress.

The rider withholds funding for federal enforcement of new efficiency standards going into effect in 2012, though it leaves in place the 2007 law raising the efficiency standards for light bulbs.

While this could lead to some cheap, inefficient bulbs slipping into the market — potentially slowing of the adoption of energy efficient light bulbs — it is unlikely to stop the wave of innovation and lighting advancements already under way by manufacturers who’ve retooled to meet the 2007 requirements, according to lighting and energy experts who spoke at a news conference on Friday.

7 top green residential buildings in the U.S.

Forgotten about green building during the economic swoon of the last two years? Rising energy costs and static incomes make it more important than ever as consumers look for added value and long-term energy savings.

Check out these top green residential projects from across the U.S., which demonstrate that green living is no longer just for the wealthy few.


1 – Postgreen’s 100K House in South Philly sets the mark for in-city affordability

Postgreen, a sustainable building and design company, wanted to address a demographic that was not being served in Philadelphia: Urban dwellers who want to live in a green property, but do not want to move to the suburbs or spend the money, typically $500,000 and up, for most builder’s green creations.

So the team set out to build its inaugural projects, the $100K and $120K infill homes in the sleekest, greenest, low-waste designs they could muster, while resisting the “bells and whistles” that drive prices up. They wanted the 100K home to come in at a building cost under $100 per square foot, so they had to work extra hard at efficiencies in all aspects of construction. The result: Two two-story loft homes with two bedrooms each priced at between $200,000 and $250,000, both on commute-free city lots, walking distance to subway and bus stops.

China plays tug of war with U.S. inspectors over drywall

by Joaquin Sapien, ProPublica, and Aaron Kessler, Sarasota Herald-Tribune

A federal investigation into contaminated Chinese-made drywall has been a long, hard tug-of-war for U.S. investigators trying to pry information from Chinese government officials and manufacturers. When a team of investigators traveled to China last year, the tug-of-war became physical, with a Chinese official trying to wrest a piece of drywall from an American’s hands.

The federal probe is the largest defective-product investigation [1] ever conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. But almost two years after it began, the CPSC still hasn’t been able to figure out what materials in the Chinese drywall are triggering the release of sulfur gases. The gases have a chemical smell and have corroded wiring and appliances in thousands of U.S. homes. They’ve also been linked to respiratory ailments, nosebleeds and sinus problems

Get your ducts in a row

You can hear them rattle in the winter, and rumble in the summer. Whether they’re underfoot or overhead in the attic, these unseen monsters can really make a difference in your home’s heating and cooling bills. Yes, we’re talking about your ducts or duct work, and we don’t mean to be personal when we say, you’d better have your ducts in order when it comes to saving on cooling costs.

An affordable green home, Philadelphia style

By Carol Sonenklar
Green Right Now

They said it couldn’t be done: A LEED platinum house for $100 per square foot in hard construction costs.

Builders, architects, real estate developers, among others, have expressed skepticism that green building could be done inexpensively. One persistent notion is that sustainable home building is expensive because of higher upfront costs for cutting edge technology and design. Its become conventional wisdom, in some corners, that green building carries a 10 percent upcharge, at least.

Green Depot founder says green consumers are savvy buyers

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

Who are green consumers? And what do they want?

These are two questions being hashed about by marketers and businesses around the country as Americans become increasingly conscious of wanting products that are cleaner, less-toxic, verifiably sourced, responsibly made, and reasonable in the bargain.

Green consumers, it appears, do come in peace. And while they might not speak green. They’re willing to learn. That’s what Sarah Beatty has concluded after a few, fast and furious years in the green building and living supply business. She’s the founder and president of Green Depot stores, which is opening its seventh store this month after less than five years in the business.

How the House stimulus bill would help green your house

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The $819 billion economic stimulus plan passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday has been criticized for containing too many short-term measures aimed at stimulating the flagging economy – or too few; for being too focused on green infrastructure – or not focused enough.

Those arguments aside, there are many provisions in the House bill that passed Wednesday that will help individuals and their communities save money and energy, and in doing so, take a swipe at global warming.

“The House bill adopted (yesterday) would make increased energy efficiency a hallmark of the nation’s economic recovery with the infusion of federal funds for efficiency initiatives throughout the economy – to consumers, to businesses, to state and local governments, and more,” said Kateri Callahan, president of the advocacy group, Alliance to Save Energy.

According to the Alliance, which has sifted through the massive bill to pull out the energy-saving components, there are several meaningful ways money will flow from D.C. to help green America. Many of these measures also will create spending, for example, by offering consumers incentives to buy hybrid cars and newer furnaces.

Brace for winter by sealing up windy windows and drafty doors

By Lynette Holloway

Jamie Swise, a Chicago-based weatherization expert, said President-elect Barack Obama made his job a whole lot easier when during a recent debate he urged Americans “to weatherize” their homes to save energy.

Obama made the appeal at a presidential debate last month before his election in response to a question about sacrifices his administration would ask Americans to make during these tumultuous economic times.

“Here you have the soon-to-be president of the United States stressing the importance of weatherization,” Swise said after the election. “He’s got a lot of people thinking about how weatherizing their homes can help save energy. You can’t beat that.”