50 Builder Secrets

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How to Use this EBook

Where do you stand?  Knowing your current energy usage will help you to appreciate the potential benefits of greening your home. Having a benchmark will allow you to measure the difference between what you’re using now compared to after you’ve Greened!

To begin, determine your climate …..

Green strategies are different depending on your climate – what may work in Southern California could be the wrong approach in Minnesota for example.
So, where do you fit in these four typical types of climate?

  • Hot and dry
  • Hot and humid
  • Cold and dry
  • Cold and humid

This will have an impact on the types of building materials you choose (insulation, windows and doors, roofing, and so on) what types of plants are best for your area, as well as what kinds of clean energy you can generate.

5 Minute Energy Audit
Now, take stock of how much energy you consume. A quick way to determine this is to gather up your utility bills—preferably for a year or more. Add up what you’re spending on the various types of utilities:

  • Electric – figure out total and average kilowatts(KW)
  • Gas – Cubic Feet or Therms or Gallons         
  • Heating Oil – Gallons
  • Water – CCF (1CCF= 748 gallons)

Energy star yardstick

Your goal

Determine your current energy and water consumption, tuck this information away so that you can refer back to if once you’ve lived in your new, energy efficient home for a time and be amazed at the savings you’re achieving!

Get the kids involved!


Introduction. 3

How to Use this EBook. 6

Contents. 8

Energy – why you should care about it! 10

The Key to Green Building – Passive solar design! 14

Free Energy Now – Day lighting. 15

Solar Tubes. 15

Skylights. 15

Lighting with LEDs. 16

Fluorescent Bulbs. 18

Awnings – keep the sun out! 21

Sunshades. 21

Pergola. 22

Shade Tree. 22

Appliances. 23

HVAC or Heating Ventilation and Air Conditioning. 24

Digital Thermostat 24

HVAC Filter 25

HVAC Tune Up. 26

Tankless Water Heaters. 27

Solar Energy – It’s Not that Complicated. 28

Solar Electric – Simple Information. 28

Solar Hot Water 29

Solar Pool 30

WATER – There’s not much left! 30

Water service – shut off check. 31

Simple Pool Tips. 32

Gray Water 33


Two-Button Toilets. 36

Aerators. 37

Care for Your Piece of Dirt! 38

Site water 38

Rain Water Harvesting. 40

Drywell Pit 43

Grass. 44

Plants. 44

Irrigation. 45

Hot and Cold! 45

Air Leaks #1 Job. 45

Roof Color 46

Ceiling Fans. 46

Attic Fans. 46

Radiant Barrier 47

Finishes – VOCs   (VOLATILE organic compounds) 47

Get rid of your carpet 48

10 Little Practices – Every Day! 49

About the Author 52

Disclaimer 53