The New York Times travels to Birmingham, England, to visit the charming, net-zero energy residence of John and Jo Christophers (pictured above). The couple put a good amount of blood, sweat, and tears — and money — into eco-renovating a formerly drafty and inefficient 19th-century terrace house. Remarks Mr. Christophers: "We managed through breaking a lot of new ground to achieve a very demanding new standard of sustainability — it was like climbing Everest."

The Independent sits down with Yves Behar, sustainable design superstar and the man responsible for "putting the sexy back in green living" to discuss "ways we can all live an ethical life at home without feeling like we're giving up to much." Some of his suggestions? Drink from the tap, invest in LED lighting, and support good design. 

Re-Nest recommends "10 Green Gifts for the Home Renovator." Because nothing says holiday cheer like a LEED headlamp and a rip claw hammer ...

Jetson Green grills Joe Turner, the proud owner — along with his wife, Rebecca — of the first certified Passive House in Utah (and in the western United States). It's a well-done, insightful Q & A, especially for those unfamiliar with ultra-efficient Passive House standards.   

The San Francisco Chronicle addresses an issue on a lot of folks' minds right now: how to make merry over the holidays while treading lightly the environment. The topics at hand? Decorative lights, Christmas trees, and candles.  

The Wall Street Journal exposes a secret side of comedian and former "Man Show" co-host, Adam Corrola: home renovation projects and antiquing. 

Earth911 bundles up and heads outdoors for a comprehensive guide to winter composting. 

TreeHugger decides that it's high time for a slideshow with a roundup of the site's most popular green design and architecture posts from 2010.

Inhabitat takes a breather from the nonstop gift-guiding to admire a historic and nearly-off-the-grid home — complete with watermill — in the British countryside. 

ReadyMade lists a whole bunch of nifty holiday DIY ideas that incorporate things like old sweaters, pipe cleaners, clothespins, and vintage bottle brushes. 

The Huffington Post cleans house, the old-fashioned way, in a great blog post by Michael McGown inspired by my 'Back to basics' series. Thanks, Michael! 

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

Playing catch up: Care to be distracted?
Sure, your mind might be elsewhere the weekend before Xmas but allow yourself a break to catch up on green home news. This week: Yves Behar on ethical homes and