This weekend, the equally delish worlds of sugar-coated marshmallow bunnies and macaroons collide with both Easter Sunday and the start of Passover. So. much. food. Whether you're feasting upon Cadbury Creme Eggs or gefilte [skipwords]fish[/skipwords], take a breather from all the sacred face-stuffing to catch up on these fresh green home and garden news items collected from around the interwebs. Plus, since it is the season of cute baby animals, at the bottom of the page I've embedded a video of a baby pygmy hippo named Harry taking a bath. Happy Eastover!
Grist partakes in some good, old fashioned potty talk with a look at a few water- and tree-saving bathroom tactics in the latest dispatch from "Greenie Pig," Elisabeth Kwaw-Hefferan. Writing that it's "better to identify your comfortable cruising speed first, then gradually amp it up, step by step," Kwaw-Hefferean contemplates leaves, pee rags, bidets, peeing in the shower, and other somewhat radical options including the Yellow Pages.
The Hairpin tackles Easter-related messes (food coloring stains on hardwood floors, dark chocolate stains on couches, bug-infested vintage rabbit fur muffs procured at thrift stores) in the latest installment of always amusing/horrifying/helpful "Ask a Clean Person."
ArchDaily takes a gander at the simply lovely Shipping Container House in Nederland, Colo. Some deets on the Studio H:T-designed home: "Two shipping containers saddlebag a taller common space that connects local rock outcroppings to the expansive mountain ridge views. The containers house sleeping and work functions while the center space provides entry, dining, living and a loft above. The project is planned to be off-the-grid using solar orientation, passive cooling, green roofs, pellet stove heating and photovoltaics to create electricity."
The New York Times rolls up its sleeves for a lesson in botanical-based, "grow-it-yourself" textile dyeing. Says Sasha Duerr, a textile design teacher and plant dye sorceress who attracts honeybees while wearing a "pre-owned lime-yellow maternity top" dyed with an invasive California weed known as Bermuda buttercup: "When you’re working with natural dyes, that happens all the time. I’ve had hummingbirds come and sit on my shoulder. I’m sure there are plant pheromones. They see the color and it’s alive.” Yikes.
The Atlantic Cities is a touch intimidated by the concept of the smart home — not the wired/connected variety of smart homes that help you save energy, but really smart homes that, thanks to sensors connected to a central computer, "have the ability to reason what's going on inside of them." Say what? "Let’s say you get out of bed every morning at 7:45. A smart home will eventually learn this about you and start prepping the coffee pot at 7:30. Leave the oven on longer than seems plausible for a pot roast? A smart home can point this out to you. In learning about the remarkably consistent routines most of us move through on a daily basis, a smart home might even detect the first signs of dementia." Anyone remember "Demon Seed?"
Portfolio helps to spread the word that the largest rooftop farm in the U.S. — and perhaps the entire world — has gotten the green light to be built atop a warehouse in Brooklyn's Sunset Park nabe. Measuring 100,000-square feet, Bright Farms' hydroponic greenhouse will produce an estimated 1 million pounds of fresh, Marty Markowitz-approved produce each year.
Endgadet reports that the Nest Learning Thermostat, the sexiest, smartest thermostat known to mankind, is getting its first software upgrade since launching late last year. New features include a 10-day history option and Airwave, a "feature that uses your fan to distribute chilled air through the home after your air conditioner has turned off (you know, instead of letting one room get intensely, unnecessarily cold)."
The Los Angeles Times admires a swimming pool-turned-tropical garden conversion project in the Manhattan Beach, Calif. backyard of Dina and Irl Cramer. The Times explains the basics: "Now, in place of a concrete basin filled with chlorinated water, the Cramers have a stream, a small waterfall and about 100 lush plants — all fed with rain harvested from the roof and stored in recycled-plastic tanks underground."
Jetson Green introduces the 50/10 House concept from Oregon-based Cellar Ridge and m.o.daby design. The eco-friendly, solar-ready custom homes, which measure between 1,200 and 1,600-square-feet, are both high-performance (50 percent more efficient than local code) and refreshingly affordable (they require a 10 percent upfront investment).