​Curbed Atlanta wonders if the 2012 HGTV Green Home in Serenbe, a New Urbanist eco-enclave in semi-rural Georgia, is a work of greenwashing (see my post on the home here). Writes Jonathan Carnright: "Wouldn’t the most green home be in an urban area where the majority of everyday needs could be met by walking, biking, or transit? Serenbe is great, but it’s sort of in the middle of nowhere. And don’t they say the greenest structure is one that’s already built and reused? Not to mention the grand prize includes a GMC Terrain SUV, which gets decent gas mileage for such a vehicle, but Prius-level efficient it’s not."


Yanko Design is amazed by a solar-powered unfolding mobile home concept designed by Mehdi Hidari Badie. That's it pictured up top.


TreeHugger explores the concept behind Essess, an MIT-developed startup that's one part Google Street View, one part real estate database a la Zillow, but with an energy-saving twist: The project entails taking drive-by thermal energy scans of every single building, homes included, in the country. The scans, which will cost about a buck a piece, will be "combined with relevant information, including geospatial tags, historical energy usage, building records, and comparative data to create meaningful simple English reports whether you are a building owner, a real estate agent helping buy or sell a building, or one of many types of professionals helping a building owner prioritize and remediate energy leaks that lead to saving money," according to Essess.


The Atlantic Cities learns about a most ambitious scheme underway in Southern California: Applying the most super-stringent of all green building certification programs, the Living Building Challenge, to an entire neighborhood. Says Walker Wells, director of Green Urbanism program at Global Green USA: "The idea is, how do we take a place that’s already there, that has some development opportunities and plug in new stuff and modify what's there so that it can achieve some standard of sustainability? How aggressive or radical do we need to be thinking in this effort to redesign and retrofit cities?" 


The Los Angeles Times admires the greenthumbed handiwork of Connecticut-born singer/songwriter Lauri Kranz, aka the "edible garden 'fairy godmother' of the Hollywood Hills." 


Ecosalon breaks out the baking soda and white vinegar to share a few (20 to be exact) methods of cleaning your casa without spending any cash.


Grist is mortified by the fact that more than $40 million in taxpayer dollars is spent on maintaining the front lawns of America's foreclosed homes. Writes Sarah Laskow: "Now, in the vast scheme of government spending, $40 million doesn’t mean that much. But $40 million just to cater to this weird national lawn obsession feels over the top. Besides, there are so many other options for maintaining lawns! The government might want to look into no-mow lawn mixes, which tend to need little upkeep or chemical assistance and to do better in droughts. Alternatively, we hear that sheep do a great job mowing lawns while saving money. Think about it, Uncle Sam."



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

Playing catch up: Lucky links
Unlucky numbers, who needs 'em? Review these 7 (natch) green home news items that you may have missed while you were busy smudging your home and hanging horsesh