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A Greener Use for Beetle-Killed Trees

Colorado has millions of acres of pines throughout its forests that have been killed by an infestation of beetles. New Town Builders, a residential homebuilder in Denver, Colorado, has begun using salvaged wood from these trees for the structural framing of homes it is constructing. The company was approached about building a single demonstration home using wood from lodgepole pine trees which had been killed by the mountain pine beetle. New Town found that the wood was discolored but structurally sound and has now begun using the “blue wood” for all of their framing.

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Interview: LiFe Powered by the Sun

Carolyn and Kyle Cave, both university professors in Hadley, Massachusetts, built this super-insulated home to minimize energy consumption.  Then they dropped a 20kW solar PV array on the roof and now use energy from the sun to generate a surplus that also powers this tiny little Wheego LiFe electric vehicle.  I was able to ask Carolyn Cave a few questions about their solar-powered situation, and this is a portion of that response:

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The Boneyard House with Salvaged Parts

This is The Boneyard House, a beautiful home in Washington, by architect and builder Dirk Nelson and Free Range Building Company.  It’s luxurious and a patchwork of salvaged materials – railroad bridge trestles, crane rails, old mill wooden beams, reclaimed steel light posts, and reused barn and homestead timbers.

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dRain Joint for Easy Storm Water Drainage

I walked the exhibitor floor at the National Green Building Conference & Expo in Salt Lake City and found a few interesting products like this dRain Joint by Arvis Eco.  This is a rainwater management product — specifically, an inserted drainage channel — for pour-in-place surfaces in driveways and parking lots.

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Living in a Zero-Waste Home [Video]

The Johnsons, a four-person family in Mill Valley, California, have been called “extreme,” “austere,” and “OCD,” by some onlookers. But I appreciate what they’re trying to do. The family has been on a trash diet to completely eliminate garbage and waste. In fact, they only produced two handfuls of trash in a year, according to Sunset Magazine!

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Simple Urban Beekeeping for Under $500

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.

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