Efficient fireplace inserts

They look great but that homey glow real fires produce sends heat right up the chimney as the fire sucks warm air from the rest of the house.

“Ninety-five percent of the heat is lost,” said Prof Kevin Eigel, who studies energy use in homes. “The rest of the house gets cold even while it’s warm right around the fireplace.”

Fortunately, homeowners have more options than ever to get more use and heat from the fireplace.

Options range from a simple blower system that costs less than $1,000 to wood-burning inserts that can cost more than $5,000 but can heat an entire home.

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X-prize announced

This week, the X Prize Foundation announced a pair of California students won the $25,000 prize for their crazy green idea, an

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Art anywhere

Artist creates FEMA-style portable studio

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Wave powered computers

From big oil to big wave
The data centres at the heart of the global Internet may soon all be off-grid. Google has filed a patent for a datacentre that uses wave motion to power on-board computers and the ocean’s water to cool them

The search giant has filed a patent for a ‘floating datacentre’ that uses wave motion to power on-board computers and the ocean’s water to cool them.

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Crofting boom

Scottish Crofting has not been so popular for 1000 years. Its a combination of ancient land rights and modern technology to create the ultimate off-grid life, and the waiting list is a mile long.

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Off-Grid 101

The Drain Brain

Introducing our new eco-plumbing advice service.

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Sustainable travel? Try walking.

Ethical, off-grid holidays walking the route Moses took. Details. The timing is right as a survey reveals 70% of holidaymakers prefer low-impact travel.

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Setback in Wales as planners reject off-grid house

Tony and Jane Wrench
Wrenches – they’ll never give up

The first test of a new policy to promote off-grid housing in the Welsh county of Pembrokeshire has ended with a defeat for Tony and Jane Wrench who built a roundhouse in a beautiful field ten years ago and have been fighting the planning authorities ever since.

The Pembrokeshire planners decided earlier this month that the hobbit-style home is not suitable for the area, even though it is built entirely of natural materials and uses renewable energy and rainwater. The application for retrospective planning permission was declined on the grounds it could not make a positive environmental contribution and has an adverse impact on the semi-natural habitats in this location. The officers also stated that the development cannot meet the basic needs of the applicants in the long term, because of the yield from the woodland.

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State by state guide to green tax incentives

Tom�s Shell price list
price rise

USA Today last month carried a full list of every US State with details of whether it offered tax rebates or grants for installing renewable energy. The chart on the USA Today web site
also offered details of which States mandate net metering allowing customers to sell power back to the grid.

Only New York, California, Oregon, Massachusetts and Maryland are running all three incentives, rebates and net metering.. Fourteen states are offering just one of the three, and Idaho is offering none no benefits, no incentives and no metering.

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