Not So Big Timber Frame Home in Oregon

This is an 800-square-foot home in the River Road area in north Eugene. It was designed by Nir Pearlson and built by Six Degrees Construction for owners Rob Handy and Julie Hulme, who were inspired by The Not So Big House and other books by Sarah Susanka, FAIA. It turns out the owners upsized their situation by deconstructing an existing 620-square foot house built several decades ago, according to The Register-Guard.


By |September 18th, 2012|Conservation, Single Family|5 Comments

The Greenest Home in the World [Video]

I was noodling some recent journalist potshots about headlines for “the greenest …” when I landed on this video piece from the Nightly News. NBC’s Kiko Itasaki wonders if this home in Unst, one of the northern Shetland Islands of Scotland, is the greenest in the world. Everyone knows the question has no answer, but I think Michael and Dorothy Rea have accomplished something worth noticing that’s for sure.


By |September 4th, 2012|Conservation, Single Family, video|3 Comments

Plug and Play Solar by Go Green Solar

I’ve been watching plug-and-play solar systems like the one offered by SpinRay Energy to see how viable and affordable these can get.  It turns out just unveiled a similar system called the SunPlug Plug n’ Play Solar Kit.  The kit includes one 235-watt polycrystalline panel, a 120 VAC/60 Hz grid-tie inverter, racking mount, WiFi module for monitoring, and a connector to plug directly into an AC outlet.


By |August 16th, 2012|Conservation, Solar|0 Comments

How to Power Gadgets While in Nature

I spent three days camping and hiking in the mountains of Utah last week and used my iPhone to snap the above photo while slightly downhill from the summit of Mount Timpanogos, which has an elevation of 11,749 feet.  In preparation for this trip, I researched for a sustainable, backpacker-worthy solution to keeping my iPhone powered in order to take photos, jot notes, listen to music, and maybe communicate with family when presented with an available signal.  I don’t have an iPad, but this solution works for both iPhones and iPads, either one.  Here’s what you need:


By |August 6th, 2012|Conservation, Solar|7 Comments

Debate: Mechanical vs Passive Strategies

The stage was set for rowdy debate of the tensions between mechanical and passive green building techniques at the recent Congress of the New UrbansimSteve Mouzon, designer and author of The Original Green, Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, Ann Daigle of the Princes Foundation, and Daniel Sloan of McGuire Woods, moderated by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a founder of CNU, principal of DPZ and Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture.


By |May 17th, 2012|Conservation, Land Use|0 Comments

Whisper Turbines Refreshed by Southwest

Southwest Windpower, maker of the small-wind turbine Skystream, just announced a refreshed Whisper line of turbines for battery-charging applications including off-grid residential homes.  The Whisper 100 (7′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 100 kWh per month at 12 mph; the Whisper 200 (9′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 200 kWh per month at 12 mph; and the Whisper 500 (15′ diameter) has the potential to generate up to 538 kWh per month at 12 mph.


By |May 3rd, 2012|Conservation, Wind|0 Comments