927 Lee Road 268, Valley, AL (706) 773-9274

How Many Solar Panels Does It Take to Power an Electric Car?

Calculating the number of solar panels needed to power an electric vehicle is fairly simple. Photo courtesy of the Zero Energy Project. My wife and I built a zero energy home in 2015. The energy model we conducted as part of that process said that we would need to generate about 6200 kWhs per year to provide the energy our home was projected to use. So, we installed a solar electric system with that in mind. As it turned out, due to our well planned energy-saving measures and conservation practices, we actually produced more energy than we used. Our utility…

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Hollywood on the Hudson: At Home in Upstate, New York, with Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen

We’ve been following Amanda Pays and Corbin Bernsen for years as they leapfrogged around LA. Amanda is an actress-turned-interior designer who has been on a decades-long remodeling tear. Her style is pleasingly simple, sustainable (since before it was a buzzword), and thrifty: see, for instance, Backyard Bunkhouse and 11 Money-Saving Strategies from a Hollywood House Flipper. Her partner in the overhauling business is her husband: they’ve lived in 25 places in their 31 years of marriage (along the way, they had four sons), and Corbin—though busy acting, writing, and running his own production company—is a Star Handyman. After being MIA for…

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Does a Concrete House Make Sense?

John Downie and his wife are planning to build a house in Ontario, and instead of choosing a conventional wall system they are considering poured concrete exterior walls that are insulated on the outside. Downie likes the “solidity” of concrete and recalls a comment from former GBA Editor Martin Holladay that a poured concrete wall is functionally the same as a wall built with insulating concrete forms (ICFs, pictured above). Otherwise the house looks fairly straightforward: between 1,200 and 1,800 square feet over a single story with polished concrete floors, high ceilings, and a gable roof. Heating and cooling would…

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How to Install a Sump Pump

The process begins with setting the sump basin upside down on the basement floor and marking its outline. (When choosing a place to install the pump, factor in a proper drainage plan and a proximity to a ready power source.)Next, use a demolition hammer to chop through the concrete floor and dig a hole deep enough to set the sump basin inside it, flush with the floor. Before setting the basin in the hole, wrap its exterior base with filter fabric. This will prevent silt from clogging the pump motor. Then, after the basin is placed inside the hole, put…

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How to Repair a Sump Pump

The process begins with setting the sump basin upside down on the basement floor and marking its outline. (When choosing a place to install the pump, factor in a proper drainage plan and a proximity to a ready power source.)Next, use a demolition hammer to chop through the concrete floor and dig a hole deep enough to set the sump basin inside it, flush with the floor. Before setting the basin in the hole, wrap its exterior base with filter fabric. This will prevent silt from clogging the pump motor. Then, after the basin is placed inside the hole, put…

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How to Save Energy in Your Home

No matter what time of year it is, it’s smart to implement energy efficient strategies throughout your home. Not only will you save money on energy bills, but you’ll also make your home more comfortable all year round. Check out these 7 ideas that, whether implemented individually or together, help make for a truly energy efficient home.Update Your HVAC Replacing your old heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (“HVAC”) with a new system provides significant savings on your energy bills all year long, from heating your house in the winter to cooling the air during the hot summer months. Make sure…

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