SOLAR: Will solar save you $$’s? We review the best/worst solar calculators!

September 21, 2008

UPDATED:  9/21/08

“Payback on solar isn’t the most important thing…it is the only thing the vast majority of potential solar homeowners care about.”  

GetWithGreen took a look at how easy it is for us consumers to actually estimate the cost of installation/installing solar during a home remodel – using a web-based solar calculator.  

Below are we have listed a number of sources for solar installation calculators, and we have compiled the most comprehensive list of these calculators available on the web.  We want to warn you, many of these solar calculators appear to made by scientists for, well we couldn’t always figure out who the target audience was :-). 

To help you, we have given a GetWithGreen Rating (“GWG Rating”) to each solar calculator, where 1 is very hard to use, and 10 is the easiest to use – for an average consumer.  You should also know that MANY of the solar calculators on the web are from the same creators, and are just re-skinned (web terminology for different colors).

Before you begin, make sure you have Read more

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DAYLIGHTING SYSTEMS: A Solatube installation review

August 16, 2008

solatube 160 DS daylighting systemEarlier this Summer, selected a Solatube Model 160 DS Daylighting System for a residential hallway installation. A daylighting system was selected because a dimly lit hallway constantly required energy consumption for lighting — even during daytime hours.

Solatube was selected by because of the sheer amount of clear information on the company’s and reseller’s website, and because it was so easy to find the product locally. It’s now time to update you on the install, and our final opinion of this specific daylighting system.

The Solatube 160 DS installation was a snap. Our contractor installed the daylighting system within 90 minutes, and if you use a Solatube dealer this time could likely fall well below an hour! Our installation did require the wiring of electricity to the daylighting system, so that it could be used during the Read more

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COUNTERTOPS: How to get your “green” EcoTop kitchen or bathroom counter

April 14, 2008

ecotop jet black paper countertopThe momentum around eco-friendly EcoTop “paper” countertops continues to build as Klip BioTechnologies is locking up distribution agreements that will take this green countertop product “mainstream”, and make it incredibly easy to obtain for our home projects. 

As many of you know, and write often to us about, it is very difficult to easily buy “green” products for our home remodels.  Thus many of us just purchase what is most easily available from our contractors, Home Depot, or other — at the last minute.  (Come back later this week as we tell of our most recent difficulties trying to obtain UltraTouch insulation from Bonded Logic!)

Today, EcoTop is available to order by directly calling Klip BioTechnologies at 1-253-507-4622 in Washington.  At the moment all homeowners receive factory direct pricing.  Lead-times are running three weeks, for the present earth-tone neutral colors:  Snow White, Ivory, Cashew, Palamino, Pecan, and Jet Black.  Soon EcoTop will be available in a Charcoal, Concrete Grey, Espresso Brown, and Thistle Green.  

ecotop pecan paperstone countertopSample Kits can be ordered from EcoTop for $30, and if you decide to purchase EcoTop the $30 will come off the price of your final order.  Klip BioTechnologies did tell that the Sample Kits are on backorder, so contact them now if this is how you are planning on evaluating their product.

Remember that this product differs from Paperstone and other fiber countertop products in that it uses a completely new fiber system, a newly developed resin, and is manufactured with patent pending processes.

Finally, the team over at is running a great “paper” countertop overview in their most recent edition.  See the article at:  Paper counters look and feel like stone.  (Note: you might need to register to get the article.)

Read More About EcoTop on


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