Passive House is an increasingly popular low-energy standard. Passive Houses must be airtight (0.60 ACH at 50 Pascals) and low energy (4.75 kBTU/ft2/year max heating and cooling demand and 38 kBTU/ft2/year maximum primary demand) — requirements that slash energy demand by about 90%. Due to increasing popularity of Passive House, media mentions like this mini-series in The Tyee — are becoming more common.
Interest in urban chickens is growing and — it would seem — the same holds true for urban beekeeping. An outfit out of West Bend, Wisconsin, Beepods.com, is selling personal use beehives for $450, including everything but bees and the know how. The kit comes IKEA-style ready for assembly with a screwdriver and Allen wrench. A single, top-bar Beepod will create about 40 pounds of high-quality honey, as well as propolis, pollen, and wax, if you harvest it.
Following on the success of a prototype prefab in Yucca Valley, Blue Sky Homes plans to break ground this month on another prefab in the same area. Like the prototype, the home will be built with a light-gauge steel framing system and STEPs (steel thermally efficient panels), which are pre-cut and attach to the exterior during assembly.