World's First Active House in Denmark

Active-House-Denmark

The Guardian just published an interesting article about the world's first Active House.  An Active House, as compared to a super low-energy Passive House, is a highly efficient home that captures more energy than the occupants need for heat and power.  In particular, this Denmark Active House should generate enough electricity over 30 years to cancel out the energy costs of building it.  And it operates like a machine: a computer monitors the temperature and climate of the interior and opens, closes, and adjusts windows accordingly. 

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Animal House In St. Louis, LEED Platinum for Dogs and Cats

Animal-house-rendering

The Animal House Fund is a public private partnership whose mission is to replace St. Louis City's Animal Care and Control facility with one that is more adoption friendly, thereby reducing the number of strays that are put to sleep.  As a public/private partnership, the funds to build the facility are privately raised, and the new facility will then be handed over to the City of St. Louis.  The current building was built in 1941, and intended to stand a mere two years as a place to gather and put down animals that had been abandoned during World War II.  The new building will set a new standard. 

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Port Townsend Modern Dwelling Shed

Dwelling-shed-exterior

We've all heard, and sometimes dreamed, about the Modern Shed, which is made by a company based out of Seattle, Washington.  But the company recently expanded into full-fledged homes called Dwelling Sheds.  The images here show an installation of one in Port Townsend, Washington.  These Dwelling Sheds can be used as a small home, cabin, getaway, ADU, or any other use imaginable — and they come with a number of green features:

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FreeGreen, Greensburg Chain of Eco-Homes Competition for $10,000

Homestead Eco-Home

We've discussed both FreeGreen and Greensburg before, so we thought it would be proper to mention their collaboration on a green design competition.  As you all know, FreeGreen provides provides free green house plans, and Greensburg is a tornado-destroyed town rebuilding everything in a green way.  The two of them are hosting the Chain of Eco-Homes Competition, and I think it'd be incredible to see a reader take the $10,000 first prize. 

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Affordable Green Farmworker Housing

Mithun-farmworker

Sustainable design firm Mithun just updated their website with details of an interesting farmworker housing pilot project in Washington state.  With the sponsorship of the Seattle Archidiocesan Housing Authority and a grant from Enterprise Community Partners, Mithun designed three prefabricated modules to provide a model for affordable housing for farmworkers and their families.  According to Mithun, the state has tens of thousands of farmworkers who are forced to compete for scant affordable living options, and these prefab 580 square foot homes may change life for a lot of them. 

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The Thoreau You Don't Know [Giveaway]

The-thoreau-you-don't-know We're giving away a copy of this book to one commenter below, so make sure to comment with a valid email before midnight on Friday, May 22, 2009.*

In terms of non-architectural books, this is probably the most interesting book I've read in a long time.  In The Thoreau You Don't Know: What the Prophet of Environmentalism Really Meant, Robert Sullivan thoroughly and cleverly tells the real story of Henry David Thorough.  It's a different story than the one we've all become accustomed to hearing.  But it's fascinating and compelling.  And if you've ever thought of invoking the name of Thoreau in support of this or that environmental cause, give it a read before doing so. 

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