As a child, the only knowledge I had about the mysterious world of “home improvement” (aside from the titular Tim Allen sitcom) was gleaned from watching Bob Vila’s This Old House with my father. It was a cryptic, intimidating world filled with paint, power drills, and an ample dose of facial hair. I didn’t know exactly who Mr. Vila was and what business he had working his magic on sad, decrepit homes, but I knew he was to be trusted –- his word was law when it came to DIY drywalling.

Years later, Mr. Vila is still around, patented beard and all, and shelling out useful, practical advice and instruction. Yes, he has much more competition than he did back in the olden days of the 80s. But thanks to the green section of his official website and a new, eco-minded generation of followers, sustainability and energy-efficiency is an integral part of Mr. Vila’s home improvement ethos.

Vila’s green site features a blog, original articles, and a series of instructional videos that cover topics ranging from water heater insulation to replacing air filters. The "At Home with..." features are entertaining enough, providing further evidence that bold face names -- aside from Ed Begley Jr. -- like musician Cy Curnin and erstwhile supermodel Cheryl Tiegs are keeping green homes. Sure, the Internet is ripe with home-related eco-advice but if you’re looking for solid info on a wide variety of projects, Vila’s your man.  

Any eco-home gurus that you dig? Tell us about 'em in the comments section. 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

This green house
Bob Vila –- America’s iconic bearded handyman -– may be an institution but is up-to-speed when it comes to matters of sustainability.