The New York Times pays a visit to Sunnybank, a clutter-concealing modern home in Coldingham, Scotland, built to stringent passive house standards. Remarks homeowner Jim Lucas who lives in the ultra-efficient, furnace-less abode with his wife and two young daughters: "I’ll tell you how efficient the house is. Last Christmas, when the temperature was 3 degrees Fahrenheit, we had to open the doors to cool down — it was too hot. The house is even more efficient than we anticipated, which really is a nice problem to have.”


​Curbed recommends test driving a few select AirBnb vacation rental homes of the eco-friendly variety before actually committing to buy a green home. Choice properties include the itHouse near Palm Springs ($350 per night), Mahi Oli'Oli on Hawaii's Big Island ($115 per night), and Kolarbyn, a collection of huts made from stone, mud, and wood in the wilds of Sweden ($50 per night).


Unplggd says goodbye to cracked winter skin with an assortment of design-y home humidifiers from the likes of Vornado, Plus Minus Zero, Swizz Style, and Stadler Form.  


The Los Angeles Times has the deets (via Scout Regalia) on how you can combine your loves of holiday baking and of futurist Buckminster Fuller with a geodesic dome gingerbread house (pictured above). 


TreeHugger files another dispatch from the "Just What We Needed Department" with a look at "6 Weird and Useless Items to Leave Off Your 2011 Gift List." So what exactly had the misfortune of making the cut? Egg pillows, battery-powered cheese graters, pet bed warmers, and a football-shaped booze dispenser called the Beer Tube.


Jetson Green gives props to Anchorage Builders, a North Carolina (not Alaska)-based green building firm that recently completed passive house numero dos in the Chapel Hill area (a third is on the way). 


PSFK riles a bunch of people up (most notably, Inhabitat's Jill Fehrenbacher) with an editorial titled "Tis the Season to Avoid Green Gift Guides." Penned by PSFK editor Piers Fawkes, the article reads: "Could the writing of some green bloggers and journalists be damaging to the environment because their focus on the individual lets corporations off the hook? The green media needs to stop telling people to buy cool stuff that’s labeled organic or BPA-free, and they need to start helping people identify who is at fault here so that people can actively lobby the companies folks buy from, or the employers people work for." I'm both on the fence and guilty as charged with this one. What do you think?


The Wall Street Journal talks with homeowners, who, after a year of wild weather and natural events — freak blizzards, earthquakes, and hurricanes in the Northeast, droughts in Texas, and the recent historic windstorm in Southern California — are considering parting ways with the shading, property value-boosting trees on their properties that have been turned into "ticking time bombs." 


Forbes thinks that LED bulbs are the ultimate stocking stuffer this year.


Grist hops on the ferry to Bainbridge Island, the affluent Seattle suburb where homeowners and "a mosh pit of community organizations" have banded together in an effort to reduce the island's electricity use by 15 percent in three years so that a proposed new substation eliminate won't be needed. 


Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Playing catch up: A (mostly) inedible holiday assortment
This week: Buckminster Fuller-inspired gingerbread houses, fancy humidifiers and eco-friendly vacation rentals. Plus, are green holiday gift guides doing more h