Ben, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Chewonki Semester School’s photostream

Happy New Year, Pittsburgh! If you’re looking for something new to do in 2013, or if you’ve resolved to go more green, or even if you just want to save some money, then a trip to the Pittsburgh Green House should be on your to-do list. Let’s face it — the vast majority of us will not be installing solar panels on our homes in 2013. But, there are ways that we can cut our energy costs and reduce emissions of carbon dioxide that don’t require lots of money or being especially handy with tools.

The Pittsburgh Green House is a 110-year-old house in East Liberty that has been weatherized by ACTION-Housing to serve as a training and educational facility for both contractors and the general public. It’s not been renovated to be the most energy efficient house ever, but that’s the point. It’s meant to serve as a practical example of what an average homeowner can achieve either by doing it themselves or hiring a contractor and without breaking the bank. You can browse the resource center, interact with the staff or attend classes.


Meghan, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Chewonki Semester School’s

Via the Pittsburgh City Paper:

Most fixes are feasible for average do-it-yourselfers.

True, some Green House classes for energy-auditors use infrared beams to find air leaks. But as Susan notes, looking for cobwebs works, too. (Spiders like drafts.) And most gaps can be plugged with spray-foam insulation or even caulk. “Caulk’s a good thing,” says Susan.


Knowing what not to do matters, too. Replacing old windows, for instance, might cost more than it’s worth, says Cowan: Better to seal around windows, or even along baseboards, and insulate the windows with plastic sheeting.

Public viewing hours are Wednesdays from 3:00 – 6:00 PM and also by appointment. It’s located at 308 North Sheridan Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206. To learn more about The Pittsburgh Green House, visit their website here.


Seth measuring insulation, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from USDAgov’s