Thanks to accidental, cereal-eating tween pop star Rebecca Black, most of us are pretty well aware that today is indeed Friday (and that tomorrow is Saturday and Sunday comes afterwards). This week, the week leading up to Ms. Black's favorite day, has been a rough, heart-wrenching one as Japan continues to teeter on the brink of a nuclear meltdown following last week's devastating earthquake and tsunami. I'd like to thank Rebecca Black for inadvertently supplying the world with a truly hilarious distraction during a truly trying time. You're the best ... now good luck finding a seat. 

Below you'll find a few noteworthy green home stories that you may have missed this week while staying abreast of the latest developments in Japan. Have a wonderful, safe weekend and remember to keep those affected by the earthquake and tsunami in your thoughts. And when you have the chance, take a moment to learn more about how you can help in the wake of this unprecedented disaster. 

Designboom reports on the Shigeru Ban Architects-designed cardboard partition systems (pictured above) being distributed to victims of the Japanese earthquake/tsunami living in emergency shelters set up in gymnasiums. Writes DB: "The lack of privacy at disaster evacuation sites frequently contributes to further emotional distress among the individuals and families there. shigeru ban's cardboard-based modular partition system provides an fast, low cost, and flexible solution to this problem."

Jetson Green admires three modern chicken coops designed and built by high school students as part of Emily Pilloton's wonderful Project H Design project in rural Bertie County, N.C. 

Dwell delights with an Introduction to Home Gardening. This fantastic guide from the April '11 issue — Dwell has certainly been on a roll lately — covers topics like container gardening, modern sharecroping, and pest practices with fabulous illustrations by Malin Rosenqvist. 

Natural Home has the scoop on how to build a DIY backyard garden pond. 

The New York Times plays the role of DIY home improvement therapist in a great Bob Tedeschi-penned Pragmatist column on "Overcoming a Fear of Plumbing Job." Tedeschi's advice for plumbing-weary homeowners? Start in on the easy stuff like replacing faucets and shower heads. 

TreeHugger flips through old Sears catalogs, specifically old Sears catalogs selling prefabricated homes. Writes Lloyd Alter: "Between 1908 and 1940, Sears Roebuck sold over 70,000 houses in 447 different designs. They were not strictly prefabricated, but were precut packages that included the lumber, siding, windows and even the nails. While the look was traditional, in fact they were very modern, bringing the latest residential technologies to everyone."

The Wall Street Journal literally clears the air with an article on pollutant-erasing qualities of houseplants. Wendy Bounds reports. 

Co.Design spreads the word: the recipients of the American Institute of Architects (AIA)'s 2011 Housing Awards have been announced. There are some excellent winners this year including the 100K House in Philadelphia and the OS House in Racine, Wis., both LEED Platinum projects. 

The Los Angeles Times talks fencing in the latest installment of "The Dry Garden" series.

Green Building Chronicle searches for the substance beneath the hype machine that is eco-architect/author/motivational speaker Sarah Susanka. Writes former MNN "Planet Pundit" columnist Ken Edelstein in a provocative article titled "Not So Big on Sarah Susanka's hype": "Her talent for turning each talking point into a marketing opportunity is relentless. Often, however, Susanka’s message devolves into the sort of cliches that mark someone stretching beyond their true area of expertise."

Re-Nest shares "10 Tips to Manage Rubbish Without Plastic Bags." It's all about separation, being selective, and keeping things clean. 

Inhabitat takes a sneak peak at the interior of 174 Grand Street, the much-hyped Loadingdock5-designed Passive House in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. 



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