Sharon O'Malley

Bright Future
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Bright Future

As the traditional incandescent bulb fades away, new energy-efficient options are... More

Product Review: Decking
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Product Review: Decking

A guide to eco-friendly options among wood, composite, and plastic decking. More

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Stimulus Package Means Work for Remodelers

Tax credits and rebates should boost consumer spending on energy-efficient home improvements. More

High-Efficiency Toilets Combine Water Conservation and Improved Performance
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High-Efficiency Toilets Combine Water Conservation and Improved Performance

New toilet standards ensure water savings does not come at the expense of a... More

Smart Steps to Water-Conserving Landscaping
Affordable straw bale homes in Lopez Island, Washington, look to achieve zero energy.
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Marketing Environmentally Friendly Products

The "green" that sells eco-friendly, energy-efficient houses isn't necessarily the kind that can save the earth. It could be the kind that your customers want to keep in their wallets. More

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New Programmable Thermostats Make it Easy to Save

Baltimore Sun columnist Kevin Cowherd spoke for a lot of people when he wrote of his newly installed programmable thermostat: "We're afraid to touch [it]." His rant came shortly after he replaced his old mercury-filled manual unit, which had three settings -- heat, cool, and off -- and that he described as "round, the way God intended." His fancy new programmable thermostat can change the temperature in the house at least four times a day, but he can't figure out how to program the digital, rectangular box. He's not alone. Industry research indicates that up to 70 percent of people who buy programmable thermostats to save energy find it difficult to set them, so they don't. Instead of reaping the $150 a year the EPA estimates a programmable thermostat can save a household on heat and air conditioning, most people use the digital devices just like their old, mechanical models, which keep the temperature the same all day and night unless the homeowner moves the dial. For builders offering the units as an energy More

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