Well folks, Earth Hour approacheth this weekend. Do you plan on turning off the lights for a full 60 minutes starting at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday? And is it just me or has there been significantly less hype and hoopla around this year's event? I thought the same thing last year, but this year the disinterest seems even more palpable, leading me to think that the Australia-born environmental awareness-raiser will soon cease to exist come 2013, at least here in the States. Whatever the case, remember to burn those Earth Hour candles responsibly if you are indeed participating. 


And on Sunday is April Fool's Day — it's a shame because I won't be posting this weekend and I had a faux green news story all cooked up for you all about how birthday boy Al Gore is consulting on Mitt Romney's back-in-the-news mansion renovation project in San Diego. Also, fellow rich person Larry Ellison is providing landscaping advice and Michelle Bachmann will be overseeing the interior lighting design. Oh well ... damned you weekend.


Dwell tours the E+ Green Home, a home that's perhaps the greenest residence in all of South Korea. Built to exacting Passive House standards, the green-roofed (and walled), solar-powered abode is "at once a laboratory and a showcase for the 95 green technologies used." Elaborates Dwell's Aaron Britt: "A tool for marketing and education, the E+ Home is that rare spec house that actually functions as a working residence: Curious house-hunters can actually book a night or two in the place to get a feel for what serious green living feels like." And what about Brooklyn-based green living bloggers?


Apartment Therapy wrangles up a few eco-friendly, mostly removable wall panels (AKA "3D wallpaper") from the likes of MIO, Inhabit and B+N Industries


Green Building Advisor announces the demise of solar hot water heating. Explains Martin Holladay: "In the northern half of the U.S. — and even much of the South — installing a residential solar hot water system doesn’t make any sense. It’s time to rethink traditional advice about installing a solar hot water system, because it’s now cheaper to heat water with a photovoltaic (PV) array than solar thermal collectors. In short, unless you’re building a laundromat or college dorm, solar thermal is dead."


The Los Angeles Times readies itself for the landing of the G-Pod, a sci-fi-y spherical prefab structure "designed as a living or entertainment space for backyard gardens." Because really, who doesn't want their backyard to resemble the set of "Total Recall?" Birthed in the U.K. (also home to the Archipod), G-Pods will soon be available for purchase in California for either $14,000 or $30,000. Assembly is required (and not included in the price tag). 


Inhabitat tracks the latest drams resulting from the split between Germany's Passivhaus Institut and its North American offshoot, Passive House Institute US. As noted by Andrew Michler, all of the bickering and infighting —now it's centered around names — could potentially damage the stringent green building standard or it could go the other way, prompting "greater awareness of the intense vetting of Passive House and the passion and discipline all consultants put into making it a reality."


Core77 takes a look back at the latest and greatest designs showing at this year's International Home + Housewares Show in Chicago.


TreeHugger touches up on its German for a look at Arkadien Winnenden, an eco-development outside of Stuttgart that's being dubbed by architecture firm Atelier Dreiseitl as the "world's most sustainable neighborhood." Built on the site of an abandoned factory, this "hardcore industrial regeneration project" took first place at the Green Dot Awards in the "Build" category due in part to its focus on public transport/pedestrian friendliness, energy-efficiency, and greenspaces both shared and private.


Photo: Walt Stoneburner/Flickr


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

Playing catch up: Low-power hour
Superlative, globe-trotting green home news for you this Earth Hour weekend: South Korea's greenest home, Germany's most sustainable neighborhood and the best f