Co.Exist takes a glimpse into our post-oil future with a look at Wind Turbine Loft, a housing concept from Bulgarian firm Morphocode that, you guessed it, imagines apartments built into offshore wind turbines. Elaborate the designers: "Wind Turbine Loft proposes a new type of dwelling that might respond to the need of constant monitoring over the wind turbines. Although, at that point the concept is more a utopian proposal rather than a feasible solution, we are looking forward to see how the offshore wind industry will develop in the years to come and what challenges it will present to designers and engineers." That's a rendering of the Wind Turbine Loft's view-heavy interior up top.
The New York Times stops in for a visit at the Kinderhook, N.Y. home of pioneering passive solar architect Dennis Wedlick. Built over 25 years ago for $75,000, Wedlick's own compact home possesses "all the elements of good passive-solar design" but is decidedly a bit leaky and inefficient. Over the past eight years, Wedlick, who now specializes in airtightness-centric Passivhaus design, and partner Curt DeVito have invested $450,000 in renovations and additions. "But had I known what I know now, I would have spent all that money on a passive-house renovation. I am still proud of it, but it’s like owning an old house. You forgive it for being inefficient," says Wedlick.
The Atlantic Cities shares a giant whoopsie out of Oklahoma: It was recently revealed that yard trimmings collected as part of Tulsa's new-ish "green waste" curbside recycling scheme is being trucked off to a incinerator and burned along with the regular trash instead of a mulching plant where it was supposed to be hauled. And this has been going on since January with residents paying for their yard waste to be mulched. Writes Emily Badger: "The story — the subject today of local wrangling at a trash board meeting — sounds more like a case of incompetence than conspiracy. The city also innocently argues that the green waste has been going to a trash-to-energy plant. And that's just as good as mulching it, right?"
Gizmodo digs Open House, a blighted and abandoned property in York, Ala. that was disassembled and transformed by artist Matthew Mazzotta into an unassuming tiny house that magically unfolds — yes, unfolds — into a 100-seat theater for local community gatherings, concerts, and film screenings.
EarthTechling reports on solar-hungry Swedish retailer IKEA's latest acquisition: a 7.65-megawatt Irish wind farm. The horseball-peddling furniture behemoth already owns and operates a number of wind farms across Europe; the purchase of Carrickeeny Wind Farm will bring the total number of turbines up to 137. Says Joanna Yarrow, sustainability head for IKEA U.K. and Ireland: “Companies, individuals or governments — we all have responsibility to address the resource dilemma and commit to a more sustainable future. Producing our own affordable, renewable electricity gets us one step closer to becoming completely energy independent by 2020, while ensuring our commercial success."
Gawker makes a case for banning the "suburban monstrosity that afflicts this great nation like a plague" otherwise known as the "Problem Lawn." Hamilton Nolan differentiates between these problematic patches of turf and "natural lawns": "The Problem Lawns are the lawns that exist where there should not be any lawns. In the desert, for example. If you live in Arizona, or New Mexico, or Las Vegas, you have effectively, by your choice of locale, forsaken your claim to a lawn. You do not get to have a lawn in the desert, any more than you get to have a backyard nuclear reactor for your own amusement. Both are vast wastes of resources."
The Wall Street Journal explores the not-always-easy art of modern lighthouse ownership as a growing number of iconic sea beacons (the "ultimate fantasy home — romantic, historic and right on the water") are being sold off at auction by the feds as private retreats.