Not to bring up a sore topic, but it's that time of summer. Vacations wind down, gardens lose their springtime zest, teachers begin to head back to the classroom, and that distinctive mid-August malaise spreads around quicker than one can say "net-zero energy prefabricated home." 

While not a cure-all, checking out these sundry green home news items collected from across the web might take your mind off the fact that Labor Day is less than a month away. There. I said it. 

I'll be in the trenches at the New York International Gift Fair this weekend scoping out fresh finds from new designers and old favorites like MIO, Kikkerland, SUCK UK, and AREAWARE. See you on Monday. 

TreeHuggecrushes on four good-looking green homes (left) in Seattle's Beacon Hill neighborhood that were built with "smart design, respectable energy efficiency, thoughtful material choices, and a sense for neighborhood integration."

Jetson Green asks the big questionWhat do you consider to be the single most important factor in determining if a home is 'green?'  According to a recent survey, energy efficiency, eco-friendly materials, and renewable energy sources top the list. 

The Los Angeles Times pages Don Draper and tags along with Mad Men set decorator Amy Wells as she visits her favorite Pasadena vintage shops. 

Dwell announces the 20 finalists in the Reburbia design competition. There are some cool and out-there concepts in the final batch (I dig the EChO-Mansion idea) so head on over to the Reburbia site and vote for your favorite. 

Fast Company lists "The Top Ten Worst Green Brand Names." Topping the list: TruGreen, Sheep Poo Paper and BabyGanics. 

The San Francisco Chronicle explores an increasingly common living arrangement: multigenerational housing. It may be greener than living solo, yes, but it's not for everyone (including me). Sorry, Mom and Dad. 

Re-Nest says goodbye to bountiful summer gardens in preparation for fall. Sad. 

The Globe and Mail celebrates a trend that twenty-something urbanites have been on to for years now: "Craigslist Chic." 

Design*Sponge lights up the garden party with detailed instructions on how to construct a recycled wine bottle torch. 

The Wall Street Journal heads to Florida to investigate a dangerous health risk affecting many homeowners: toxic Chinese drywall. 

The New York Times heads to Denmark to visit an otherwise ordinary suburb of Copenhagen filled with low-energy homes. By 2020, all new homes in Denmark will be required to meet "passive house" standards. This means that they must consume 85 percent less energy and produce 95 percent less CO2 emissions than normal homes. 

The Local Beet: Chicago second guesses the eco-friendliness of compostable dishware.

Instructables instructs on how to make your very own DIY Rubber Hose Chair. 

Photo: GreenDwellingSeattle

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

Playing catch up: August angst
Struggling with a nasty case of the end-of-summer blues? Find a bit of comfort with these green home links.