The San Francisco Chronicle wonders (just now, apparently): "How green are compact fluorescent lightbulbs?" As discussed all over the place on this here website, they are indeed green when it comes to energy savings. However, consumers must dispose of expired bulbs properly and clean up broken ones with care due to the teeny-tiny amount of mercury contained inside of them.


The Washington Post is curious as to how washers and dryers have mutated into tricked-out "trophy appliances" in recent years. According to writer Jura Koncius, the bling-ing of laundry room appliances started about 12 years ago "when the front-loading machine with its energy and money-saving features, sleek style and technological upgrades started hitting appliance departments."


Dwell goes behind the scenes at the factory of Cisco Home, South Central L.A.'s sustainable home furnishings powerhouse.


The New York Times recommends assembling a "stay bag" well in advance of the winter storm season when you could be snowbound at home for days at a time, possibly without power. Don't forget the waterproof matches, lanterns, and anti-anxiety meds. 


The Hairpin advises on how to tidy up and eliminate "boy smell" when sharing your living space with a bunch of dudes. Recommends always insightful "Ask a Clean Person" columnist Jolie Kerr: "Hand over a stack of rags, and fill up a couple of big bowls with a white vinegar solution (equal parts water and vinegar should do it). Tell them to dip a rag in the solution, wring it out, and go over every surface with the vinegar solution rag, followed by a wax-on, wax-off-type situation with a dry rag. Do be sure to use the Karate Kid metaphor. Speak to them in their language, if you will. Explain to them that they want to go over the walls, floors, non-upholstered furniture, etc. You should just stand there and boss them around."


The Wall Street Journal offers pointers on how to salvage a garden after long bouts of soggy weather. Writes June Fletcher: Triage is the first step. Fertilizer and a few drainage holes to bring air to soaked roots can revive a flooded plant, but first you need to determine if it can be saved. A few days after storms Irene, Lee and Katia blew through, I noticed that the leaves on our butterfly bush, once a magnet for dozens of winged things, had twisted and turned black. I scraped a bit of bark on its 10-foot branches in a few places. The tissue beneath was brown instead of pale green. The roots were mushy, too. Sadly, that means it is dead. When the soil is less soggy, I'll pull it out."


The New Yorker does IKEA. Enough said.


TreeHugger scrutinizes Zerohome 2.0, the latest green creation from mighty American sprawl specialist, KB Home. Writes Lloyd Alter: "Whenever KB Home or another subdivision builder introduces a new 'green' model I do my usual rant about how it is just lipstick on a pig or polishing a turd. But in fact, perhaps it is time that I acknowledge that perhaps the building industry is actually changing, and it is not just about putting a solar cherry on top of the same old sundae."


Natural Home invites Deborah L. Martin, author of "Backyard Bird-Feeding Success," to share a few tips and tidbits related to hosting a highly trafficked avian buffet.  


Jetson Green digs the work of Austin-based Sett Studio, manufacturer of modular backyard shacks (ideal for home offices, guest rooms, yoga spaces, art studios, etc.) that range in size from 97 to 192-square feet and cost between $20,000 and $30,000. 


Fast Company makes vacation plans on El Hierro, the tiniest of Span's Canary Islands where big renewable energy projects are in the works. Explains FC: "El Hierro’s $87 million scheme consists of an 11.5 megawatt wind farm (five turbines) that will provide the island's 11,000 inhabitants with the majority of their power. When the system produces excess energy, it pumps water 2,300 feet up to an extinct volcano. When there is insufficient renewable power, the water gushes through a hydroelectric plant. The closed-loop is topped out with series of solar thermal units that provide about a fifth of the overall needs."


Re-Nest breaks out the cream of tartar and coffee grounds for a list of "10 Ways to Clean & Prep Your Fireplace."



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

Playing catch up: Mother Nature-ly advice
This week, suggestions on how to prep a fireplace, pack a 'stay bag,' revive a waterlogged garden, attract hungry birds to your backyard and rid your dude-heavy