November 6, 2006

The Green House Exhibit at National Building Museum

green-house.jpgHave you ever dreamed about living off the grid? Not in a creepy cultish commune kind of way, but in the "Hey, my 'green' house just got featured in Dwell" kind of way. In the "Jeez, I saw An Inconvenient Truth and want to help conserve the Earth's resources" kind of way. Yeah, me too.

Well, I found new hope for that dream last week at The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design, an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC. The Green House builds off the growing popularity of "green" and eco-friendly design, and sets out show that houses can be green and stylish at the same time. Moreover, it sets out to demonstrate green and sustainable building techniques and materials in a way that makes them easy to understand and approachable for everyday consumers.

bamboo house.jpgWalking through the exhibit, I was both awed by what was possible if you decide to really "go for it" (read: money is no object), and what was do-able, if, like the rest of us, money is an object, and you'd kind of like to save yours, but still make some eco-friendly updates to your place.

The exhibit starts when you walk in the door of the Glidehouse, a highly green, pre-fab modular home designed by Northern California architect Michelle Kaufman. It includes energy efficient windows and appliances, and is furnished with eco-friendly materials, furnishings and household stuff designed to inspire and educate.

Well, I'm inspired. And educated. (At least more than I was when I started.) I'll use this week to highlight some of the coolest things I saw in The Green House exhibit, and to provide info on where you can go to check 'em out.

The Green House: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design runs through June 3, 2007 at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 25, 2006

Now that's Green Building: Fab Tree Hab at MIT

From today's Boston Globe:

Faced with global warming, a projected energy crunch, and suburban sprawl, a team of MIT researchers has envisioned a radical antidote: truly "green" homes, nurtured from seedling to tree house.

The "fab tree hab" is a fanciful orb of a home that is literally alive, with a frame of growing tree trunks grafted together, insulation made of clay and straw, and vines instead of vinyl siding. The heating, cooling, and plumbing would all mimic natural processes.

"The structure is a statement against cutting down timber," said Mitchell Joachim , the architect who designed the house, "composed of 100 percent living nutrients."

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 7, 2006

Yo, MTV: Green My Crib

Looking to make your dorm room a little greener? Even if your school hasn't embraced the sustainability movement, there are steps you can take to reduce your own impact on the environment. MTV tells students how to "Feng Shui the Eco-Way".

You can also make a difference by using eco-friendly products. When Berkeley College launched its experimental "green room" last year, they stocked it with environmentally sensitive personal-care products such as Tom's of Maine soap, Seventh Generation facial tissue and Avalon Organic Botanicals shampoo.

Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must become the change we wish to see in the world." Lead by example.

And speaking of the environment, memo to your roommate: that 3-day-old pizza under his bed has got to go.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

NYTimes on Biophilic Home Design

The Home and Garden section of today's NYTimes has a cover story on "biophilic" design. Writes Virginia Sole-Smith,

Biophilic design — the term is derived from biophilia, coined in 1984 by a Harvard biologist, Edward O. Wilson, to describe what he considered the innate human attraction to nature — incorporates real or simulated natural elements in an effort to promote well-being. It is a quirky, lesser-known cousin of green design, and is concerned more with “speaking to our emotions, our ancient genetic predilections, probably fundamental, for interaction with a natural world.”

Greenhouses on rooftops, "living walls" of plants that improve indoor air quality, design that brings nature indoors. Unlike green design, which focuses on sustainable building practices which conserve energy and protect natural resources, biophilic design is more concerned with appearances and natures relaxing effect.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

Tufts University Announces "Green" Dorm

How green is your dorm room? For 126 students at Tufts University, the answer is "pretty darn green."

University officials announced this week that the new "green" dorm - which features solar roof panels, dual flush toilets, bamboo floors and energy-efficient windows - will use 30 percent less water and energy than conventional buildings. CBS4, the local news station took folks on a tour of the building, which looks way cooler than my college dorm.

Jess Brooks at Permalink social bookmarking

September 6, 2006

Brad Pitt Announces Winner of Affordable Green Building Competition

PittCelebrities have all the fun. While we were plotting to sell all our earthly possessions to college students via Craigslist (weekend profits are at $405 and counting!), Brad Pitt was saving the world

NinthwardLast Thursday, Pitt joined Global Green ( to announce the winners of their affordable green building contest. The winning design, by NYC's Andrew Kotchen and Matthew Berman, will be implemented in the Katrina-ravaged Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans.

The housing will be affordable, energy-efficient, less polluting, and healthier for residents. As ( reported on Friday:

Interviewed on Today, Pitt tells Ann Curry: “You can cut your energy bill down 65 percent just by the way you position your house, the way you structure it for air flow and insulation and shielding from the sun, and again, the material that you use.”

Hats off to Brad Pitt for recognizing the importance of green affordable housing for low-income communities, and for using his celebrity to draw attention to the issue.

And thanks, Ecorazzi, for being the eco-friendly equivalent of InStyle magazine.

-- Jess Brooks

Blogpire Productions at Permalink social bookmarking

August 30, 2006

Ban Beater Recycles Your Bathwater For Plant Watering


What's not to love about recycling your bath water? How about drinking it? YUCK. Okay this really isn't for you to drink after recycling, but it is for you to use in your garden. Recycled "HUMAN WATER" is perfect for plants and other water uses in the outdoors. Ban Beater is actually available in the UK and you can get it shipped internationally.

Via Gizmodo at Ban Beater

Blogpire Productions at Permalink social bookmarking

August 29, 2006

Making a Natural Home in the Modern World


Dwell magazine has an amazing profile over at under their Pro section. If you've never experienced Dwell before, it's a terrific read and full of info on making your home more natural, modern, and yes - more green. At first I thought it was a magazine for only architects or people who wanted a super modern home and I might have been right except within that context lies a more modern natural living approach that Dwell exudes in ever issue. Check it out and pick up a copy of Dwell and see for yourself.

At Apple - Pro - Profiles - Dwell and Dwell Magazine

Blogpire Productions at Permalink social bookmarking

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