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Round-up: Living with "net-zero" energy, adding value to your kitchen, and more

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Living in a Net-Zero Energy Home
Michelle Kaufmann
“There is more and more talk about ‘Net-Zero Energy’ homes and ‘Zero Energy Buildings’ (or ZEB). While this is great in many ways that ‘zero is the new black,’ it also comes with the downside of some using these terms incorrectly and applying them to projects that are in fact not Net-Zero Energy.” Learn more about living green by reading this post — and checking out the great photos — from Michelle’s post.

Stain Buster: An A-Z Guide to Removing Smudges, Spots, and Other Spills
Good Housekeeping
Have ashes rubbed into your favorite shirt? Barbecue sauces on your pants? Chewing gum in your carpet? With the ABCs of stain busting from Good Housekeeping, you can find simple solutions quickly and easily in this alphabetical problem-solving guide.

Kitchen Islands & Countertops | Install an Island to Add Value
One Project Closer
“If you’ve got a big open space in your kitchen’s floor plan, it’s probably screaming for a better use. Kitchen islands provide great storage options and additional countertop space without disrupting the flow of the room. […] While islands won’t add appraised value to the house on their own, as part of a kitchen upgrade, they certainly do. Plus, they do add to the appeal of your home, and are more likely to attract buyers. Almost every high end house these days features an island in the kitchen, and buyers have come to expect islands in nicer homes.”

Plug your money leaks
Money Magazine
“You don’t need to spend big bucks to tackle sorely needed home-improvement projects. These smart short-term fixes can do the job.” With tips for fixing up your roof, siding, windows and doors, this article provides some great ideas for saving money and saving trouble by making simple fixes yourself.

Photo courtesy of katielips via Flickr