≡ Menu

at the Ideal Home Show 2011

I find it comforting to know that some of the world’s leaders are not part of “the headless chicken brigade.” Global-warming deniers have been dubbed “headless chickens” by none other than the Prince of Wales. A royal title traditionally linked with a restrained sort of opulence, the current Prince of Wales is at the forefront of minimalism insulating his home roof with sheep’s wool for starters.

Hailed as “a hero of the environment,” the Prince did not like what he saw at the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Innovation Park. Tasked with creating environmentally-mindful living environments, the BRE constructed Innovation Park in order to demonstrate easy-to-build, low-carbon houses for bulk builders to use in their developments. Upon seeing the results at Innovation Park, however, the Prince decided that more could be done; they could do better.

One particular building caught his eye, and he said that he would get The Prince’s Foundation to come up with an alternative. A keystone statement of The Prince’s Foundation is that they, “believe building can be done in a way which is both sustainable and eye-catching at the same time.” This ideology was properly completed in “The Prince’s Natural House.” [click to continue…]



Would you prefer just a wash of “Celery Sprig” or go head-on “Limeade?” If you’re a homeowner looking to enter the world of “eco-friendly” building or remodeling, then you’ll quickly learn that there are many shades of green.  You could simply replace an old appliance with an energy-efficent one, or you can learn the lingo in the veritable forest of low-carbon, low-emission, low VOC, hempcrete, and solar gadgetry.

There are many programs in place to help people navigate the various hues, but the predominate one at the moment is LEED certification from the US Green Building Council’s “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” program. In essence, it’s a points system with certification awarded to buildings at the silver, gold, or platinum levels. Even those who believe pursuing the certification is a waste of time can see why builders are striving to medal. On top of pure energy savings, there tax credits and breaks, and a growing number of US government agencies are requiring that their buildings meet LEED standards.

Despite the rise in LEED certification for larger agencies, it has been slower to catch on with individual homeowners. Why? [click to continue…]


tiny home massachusets

Doug Immel, a school teacher, built his own 8 foot by 20 foot mobile tiny house on a trailer in Massachusetts.  His new address is 0 (not a type, it really is zero). His super well insulated shack has a passive solar room which collects energy from the sun and helps heat the entire house.

Doug came out of the solar world back in the early 80’s from Northern California. He says he always loved the idea of all the energy we’re able to capture with more intelligent design.  He has small needs and a small home was a perfect fit. [click to continue…]

passive solar Greenhouse design

What if you had your own grocery store attached to your house? And what if that grocery store saved you money on both produce and energy? Well, imagine no further; the day is upon us. A passive solar greenhouse, like the most famous one in British Columbia, could make endless, fresh produce a reality – [continue reading...]


Just when you’re thinking one can not re-invent a flowerpot… it happens. Some genius Spaniard, while sipping on Sangria during noon siesta, looks at the plant that is half bathing in the sun and has an epiphany – why not tilt the flowerpot so that the entire plant is facing the sun? Heck, why not [continue reading...]

Bioclimatic House in Spain2

Arguably and despite its relatively recent origins, the current crest of the American green movement wave has been one of the broadest in terms of public awareness. However, America still has far to go when compared to the leaps and bounds that European and Asian countries have been making for over half a century, especially in [continue reading...]


Brad Pitt has been noticed these days more for his and his wife’s humanitarian activities more than for his acting. His nonprofit “Make it Right” has been involved with many housing projects that provide earth-friendly housing for those without homes, a sort of “Captain Planet” version of Habitat for Humanity. One of his most recent [continue reading...]

st john passive house

Expensive but worthwhile work should be wrapped up this fall on Canada’s northernmost Passivhaus, a 1,895-square-foot home in Fort St. John, British Columbia. Coming in at almost double the initial cost estimates and double the challenges, this unique house is built in one of the harshest inhabited climate zones and deemed by local mayor as [continue reading...]

cliff house chile2

Sitting on top of the world and enjoying unparalleled ocean views is the newly built Casa Till in Los Arcos, Chile. This is what a German couple envisioned as their private Nirvana spot on Earth and they got it. With the help of the local firm of WMR Arquitectos the couple raised a small, single [continue reading...]


Any energy efficiency minded home owner knows – maximizing natural daylight in key areas of the house not only lowers the electrical load but also brings enormous comfort and emotional wellbeing. When I lived in California I loved that blindingly clear bright sky but the winter nights would be so long I often wished for [continue reading...]