The photograph above may not be what you would expect. The outdoor bench in this detail is not made from an unsustainably harvested tropical hardwood. The wood itself is actually maple, a widely available species that can be farmed and harvested without ripping up acres of rainforest. But maple and many other similar woods are too susceptible to decay and rot when used unprotected outdoors. The usual alternative has been treatment with chemical pressure treatment. Now, through a method called kebonization, a Norwegian company, Kebony ASA, treats soft woods in a non-toxic process that allows readily available woods to be used for outdoor uses.
One of the islands off the coast of Washington, Lopez Island, has seen rising land prices, which in turn, has put the squeeze on teachers, health care workers, and others in need of affordable housing. In an effort to help, Mithun partnered with the Lopez Community Land Trust to create eleven economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable homes. These homes are now complete and the community, Common Ground, is absolutely incredible. The net-zero energy homes feature some of these green elements:
When it comes picking a green surface material, there's a lot out there to choose from. And we're going to give you another option, Elements by Durcon. Elements is made with 10% post-consumer recycled glass, an epoxy resin, and fine quartz. Available in five main colors, Elements is non-porous and has inherent anti-fungal and anti-microbial characteristics. The surface does not require sealing, and according to Durcon, it will not off-gas.
Hot on the heels of our prior coverage of the Rainscreen Shed and the International Shed of the Year comes this solar-powered beauty, the Microhouse. According to Naomi Seldin of Simpler Living, the 100 square-foot tiny house is part of the Human = Landscape exhibit going on in City Hall Park in Burlington, Vermont. The Microhouse was built by Alex Carver and Christopher North of Northern Timbers Construction with the design help of landscape architect and metal artist H. Keith Wagner.
The portable classroom is just about as ubiquitous as the mobile home, so our ears perked when Toby Long, principal of Clever Homes and Toby Long Design, mentioned these first-generation, prefab, green portable classrooms. Working with the Chartwell School in Seaside, California — itself the first LEED Platinum campus in the country — Toby Long Design designed, fabricated, and installed two relocatable classroom structures on the Chartwell campus. Almost incredibly, the on-site work only took about four weeks.