First Passive House School In Maine Is Also Net Zero Energy

The Friends School of Portland in Maine is the first Passive House school building in the state, and only the third in the country.  The neighboring OceanView Retirement Community is donating solar panels for the school to use, making the facility net zero energy (NZE). “One of our core values is stewardship and we certainly apply that to our environment,” said Jenny Rowe, Head of School at the Friends School of Portland.  “This new facility not only provides a symbol…

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Free single family home design

Sustainable Home Designs Now Free Online

The Australian government has begun making free sustainable home designs for single family homes available online. The plans showcase modern, sustainable designs featuring a large main bedroom with a generous walk-in closet and ensuite bathroom. There is also an open plan living and kitchen area with cathedral ceilings, bathroom and laundry. The flexible, functional floor plans are available in two size options: 3 bedroom plus study and 2 bedroom plus study. Both include a single car garage.  Karen Andrews, parliamentary secretary for industry and…

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DURA House, designed and built by NYC College of Technology

New York City Team DURA Designs Stackable Post-Disaster Home for Solar Decathlon 2015

One of the teams in this year’s Solar Decathlon, is from New York City’s College of Technology.  This team focused on the issue of providing disaster housing that can be easily transported and stacked, if needed, to provide a high density of housing in a small footprint. Team DURA (Diverse, Urban, Resilient, Adaptable) created a stackable design to provide relief after catastrophic storms that can also be used for mobile and low-income housing in urban areas. “A lot of our…

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Tiny House Trends: Homelessness & Sustainability

Having been interested in tiny houses for a while now, I continue to be pleasantly surprised by new developments in the movement. One of the more recent developments in the many uses for tiny houses is making permanent housing the first, most crucial part of a comprehensive strategy to help counteract homelessness. Home ownership is a significant step forward for most members of the homeless community. It is perhaps the most important factor involved in restoring a sense of dignity…

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Building Materials, Fossil Fuels’ Ugly Cousin

We still live in a time when we do plenty things that are very harmful to our planet. It seems we’re all aware that fossil fuels like oil and coal create a considerable portion of our greenhouse gas pollution. But many people don’t understand that we also do a lot of harm to our planet with the materials we use to build and remodel our homes and buildings. If you examine some our most prominent building materials, it quickly becomes obvious…

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Passive design office

Passive Solar Design Enhances Natural Ventilation

What is passive solar design?  It goes by many names, though all are similar: passive design, passive solar, passive heating, Passivhaus, and passive house.  Buildings using this strategy rely on the heat of the sun to moderate the temperature indoors without the need for artificial heating and cooling.  How do they do it? Thermal Mass By using large amounts of building materials that are able to store the heat from the sun during the day and release it at night,…

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SunBeamer Skylight System Provides Natural Light Indoors, Promotes Vitamin D Production

SunCentral has announced the release of a new skylight system that claims to promote vitamin D production by providing natural sunlight in interior spaces that would not normally see sunlight. “Our goal was to develop an indoor lighting system that provides much of the sun’s health benefits, including boosting the body’s ability to produce Vitamin D, while reducing the intensity of wavelengths of ultraviolet (UV) light that are more harmful than beneficial,” said the system’s co-inventor, Lorne Whitehead, Ph.D., professor…

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Buy Scottish land and become a lord or lady

Become a Scottish Lord or Lady for $50, and Help the Planet Too

Ever dreamed of being a part of the landed gentry?  Here’s your chance.  For less that $50 you can purchase a small plot of land in Scotland, which entitles you to use the title of Laird (landowner), Lord, or Lady!  The good thing is, the land is preserved in its natural state and you can help the planet. Highland Titles, one of the world’s leading innovators in land preservation, is offering the opportunity to purchase souvenir plots of land in…

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