Greening In Place

I had the privilege of working with a great team on REMODELING’s Home for Life 2013, a virtual remodeling project featuring universal design and green remodeling principles. Although I wasn’t specifically considering aging-in-place issues in my work on the project, in retrospect, green remodeling provides many benefits for older people and those with physical disabilities, as well as the average homeowner. Retirees’ incomes are often fixed or are even declining. A high-performance home saves energy, ensuring lower utility bills, allowing …

$241,080: The Cost to Raise a Kid

Dear Adult Children, If you don’t appreciate your parents by now, perhaps this will change your mind: Raising a kid today costs $241,080 – and that doesn’t even count spiraling higher education expenses, according to a new government report. (By the way, you’re welcome Bloomberg’s Zara Kessler.) That figure represents an increase from the $219,500 (inflation adjusted) that we boomer parents shelled out to raise your generation (born around 1990), says Mark Lino, an economist who did the calculations for …

Get Cooking With a DIY Solar Oven

With plenty of sunny days still ahead – but with summer vacation nearing its sunset for kids and grandkids – here’s a fun, inexpensive and educational project to do with the young people in your life during the dog days of summer.  Build a simple solar oven (aka a “solar cooker”) from repurposed household items. It will not only amaze and amuse kids of all ages, but it really works. And it will save you money and keep the heat out …

Who Pays Some of the Highest Gas and Electric Bills?

Meet Paula Wood from Alabama. Retired, once married – now single, supporting herself on Social Security alone, Paula must make sacrifices to make ends meet. But, her electric bills have skyrocketed from $50 to $300 a month in six years. Paula has cut her budget in every possible way. She says, “I also have bronchial asthma, so I have to use power to be able to maintain breathing… If I didn’t have to eat and I didn’t have to breathe, …

3 Questions When Utility Companies Try to Raise Your Rates

Across the country, a number of gas and electric companies are looking to increase their customers’ bills. The cost of everything is going up, but sometimes utilities ask for too much. Here are 3 questions you should ask the next time your utility company tries to raise your rates: 1) When rates go up, will quality improve? Is the utility being held accountable for providing reliable service? 2) What impact do raised rates have on the company’s profit? Is the …

Other Earth-Friendly Days

Don’t get me wrong:  as a lifelong environmentalist, I think that Earth Day (April 22) serves an invaluable purpose both as a celebration of our wondrous planet and as an opportunity to draw attention to the many serious – literally “life threatening” – challenges facing our natural environment.  The only problem with Earth Day is that it’s a single day once a year, while our responsibility to the environment is 24/7, every day of the year. The good news is …