TreeHugger takes a critical look at net-zero home in the Salt Lake City suburb of Herriman that's been all over the place this week. A collaborative effort between production builder Garbett Homes and home automation company Vivint, Zero Home is an attractive, affordable, innovative, and all-around super-impressive abode that aims to shake things up in the low-key green building scene in Utah as the country's first certified net-zero climate 5 smart home to achieve a zero HERS rating. But is it hands-down the most energy-efficient home in all the land as some news outlets have been rather irresponsibly hailing it? As Lloyd Alter points out, probably not considering that it's located in the middle of nowhere (the Walkscore is 9) and boasts considerable square footage (4,300-square-feet).
Curbed eyes Hawk House, a "minimalist cabana retreat" that's sure to "give 'Walden' fans the vapors." Nestled away amongst the towering redwoods of the Central California coast, this off the grid wooden hut topped with a native wildflower-strewn green roof was designed by Alex Wyndham and built by John Grill.
Boston Magazines comes bearing good news for kitchen scrap-hoarding residents in Beantown: the city has officially launched its first-ever public composting program. While not a curbside affair, the three-month pilot will include organic waste drop-off locations at three of the city's farmers markets. Proclaimed Mayor Thomas Menino in a press release: "Residents have made it clear that they support a healthier, cleaner Boston that supports local agriculture, healthy food and waste reduction. This pilot will show residents how separating food scraps from trash is better for the environment and our bottom-line.”
Apartment Therapy wrangles up five mosquito-repelling outdoor candles. Ahhhh ... the sweet smell of citronella.
The Los Angeles Times shares some pointers on how to keep potted cacti plants "happy, hands unhurt."
Gawker alerts us to two lighthouses currently up for auction by the United States Government: Saybrook Breakwater in Connecticut and the historic Graves Island Lighthouse in Massachusetts. Professional lighthouse-keeping experience is not required as the Coast Guard maintains the actual navigational lamps. However, as one commenter points out, some upkeep is required: "I mean you have to keep away the smugglers pretending to be ghosts to scare away locals, you have to sacrifice a woman to the sea every year to stave off the wrath of Poseidon, plus you need a boat and those are always money pits."
Grist starts peddling tent porn with a look at a handful of "gorgeous modern tents for urban adventurers." Writes Lori Rotenberk: "Tents, and an evolving notion of what it means to “camp out,” have of late spawned a fresh design movement aimed at reconnecting us to the outdoors, even in the din of a city. The designs are often beautiful, otherworldly, and thoughtful: Pup tents are giving way to space pods and lunar landers suspended from the trees. Once a canvas tent, tents become a canvas."
EcoBuilding Pulse welcomes a net-zero energy panelized kit home concept with a rather regrettable name to the market: Smarthomze.
Chicago Magazine attempts to understand why the Ben Rose House, a boxy, glass-and-wood stunner in Highland Park otherwise known as "Cameron's house from 'Ferris Bueller's Day Off,'" has such a hard time selling (it's back on the market again after a four-year hiatus for a reduced price of $1.5 million). For starters, the main home (separate from the cantilevered pavilion/garage that played a key role in one of the cringiest moments of 1980s cinema) is in need of some serious rehabbing. Secondly, the home's status as a bona fide looky-loo magnet may scare some potential buyers off.