The other day, Andrew Stone took me through this newly constructed abode located on an infill lot in Salt Lake City.  The contemporary home, currently listed for $685,000, was designed by A. K. Smith Architects and comes with some slick green technology.  The entire home is wired up with a Control4 Home Automation System — accessible on an iPhone — and connected to the fireplace, thermostat, and lighting.

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A few years ago, we mentioned this project and want to take an opportunity to follow up.  The new Lofts @ Cherokee Studios, designed by Pugh + Scarpa and developed by REthink Development, is now complete.  Built on the same site as Cherokee Recording Studios, which was MGM Studios before that, the location saw the likes of numerous past and present musical giants, including Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Elton John, David Bowie, and Dave Matthews.  It's now a mixed-use location seeking LEED Platinum certification. 

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NanaWall Systems provides a sleek, folding, glass wall system that's seen in a lot of green homes that we mention (for example, see this Sunset Breezehouse).  A homeowner may purchase a NanaWall for any number of reasons, whether to blur indoor and outdoor spaces, provide views, or draw natural light into interior spaces.  Now, though, all this can be done with greater efficiency using NanaWall's new SL70 with triple glazing system. 

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As first reported by the New York Times recently, a new life cycle assessment of illuminants conducted by Osram, a German lighting company, provides support for the belief that LEDs are more efficient than incandescent bulbs. In fact, over the entire life of the bulb, from manufacturing to recycling, incandescent bulbs use approximately five times more energy than compact fluorescents and LED lamps.

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If you're in the area, the next project by Postgreen, the development company behind the award-winning 100k House, will be open for tours on Thursday, December 17.  Dubbed The Passive Project, the tour will include two newly constructed row houses built to a rigorous and trendy German Passiv Haus standard.  When certified, these homes — located at 2318-2320 Amber Street — should be the first to do so in the Philadelphia. 

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Recently we featured a container clinic under construction by Stack Design Build, and now, the same firm is building a unique container office space on an infill lot in Providence, Rhode Island.  Jay Cox-Chapman of Stack DB was kind enough to send us this time-lapse video taken over five days showing the assembly of 32 recycled containers into an office space. 

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If there's something we're seeing more of it's container projects.  And nothing brings out emotion like a shipping container project.  Some argue that the benefits of using containers for a structure's framework are negligible, if any, while others argue that container projects are too austere.  Or industrial.  Nonetheless, as long as you're building with old containers, we'll likely keep talking about the greener ones.  In the mean time, feel free to review the best of this year (click the text links for more images and information).

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In the past year, we've discussed over 35 LEED Platinum projects, and they're all pretty incredible.  Some are renovations.  Others are new construction.  Some are big.  Others are small.  Some are officially certified.  Others are expecting certification.  The point is, we're at the point now where a LEED project is not worth mentioning — typically speaking — unless it's coming in at the highest level of USGBC certification.  Check out the best of the best (click the text links for more images and information).

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We’re starting to see a number of interesting products in the building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) area of solar innovation. A company out of Grass Valley, California – Sun Energy Engineering Co. – has developed a low-profile solar shingle, or Sun Energy Shingle, to be used instead of roofing shingles or over existing shingles. It’s available in custom colors, too, depending on what kind of look you’re trying to get on the rooftop.

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Modcell, a company in the UK that makes prefabricated panels from staw and hemp, this year completed a two-story straw bale home on the campus of the University of Bath. The home, referred to as Balehaus@Bath, was designed by White Design. Over a year, the Balehaus will be monitored in thirty-second increments with 12 sensors inside and 66 sensor in the walls, measuring such things as thermal performance, acoustics, air tightness, and relative humidity.

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We are giving away one (1) copy of this book to a random commenter at the end of Friday, December 18, 2009.*

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It's always hard to imagine what will become popular and what won't.  This year, the juggernaut by far was the Clayton Homes i-House.  In prior years, Digg and StumbleUpon determined the most popular articles.  In 2009, these sites didn't have much of an impact on what we're doing.  (Maybe we need more controversy, argumentation, or lists or something?)  Readers seem to be flocking to Facebook and Twitter … in any event, take a look on the most popular of last year. 

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At the end of each year, Environmental Design + Construction magazine reviews products mentioned in its New+Notable and Products Focus sections.  The magazine next examines these products for the fifteen that received the most reader requests.  ED+C's 2009 Top Products contains a number of entries designed to save water or manage water.  You've probably seen some of these products already, whether on BuildingGreen's Top-10 Green Building Products list or in our green materials archives.  If not, check these out:

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A new company, Wattvision, is rolling out a beta version of an energy monitoring system, and it seems promising. The company is selling the Wattvision Sensor for $199 (currently only $149 with the code “wvbetablog“), which can be applied to compatible digital meters. With an online account at Wattvision and the sensor installed, you can start monitoring electricity usage online, on your phone, or through email reports.

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In the heart of Capitol Hill — just a few blocks from the nation's capitol — is this newly renovated gem.  GreenSpur, a design and build firm, found the dilapidated eyesore and decided to overhaul it into a carbon neutral showcase. The aim was to show that an energy-efficient home powered with cutting edge green systems and green power can be a net neutral producer of carbon. 

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With the success of Dockside Green on the other side of the country, according to Canwest News Service, Quebec now plans to increase its investment in sustainable development with a $300 million project of 800 environmentally-friendly housing units.  Dubbed Cite Verte, the neighborhood is planned for Quebec City in the Saint-Sacrement neighborhood at the corner of Chemin Sainte-Foy and Avenue Saint-Sacrement. 

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Humans can travel under their own pedal power in Steam Boat Willy, a super lightweight hovercraft. Riding on a cushion of air, Steam Boat Willy glides across smooth land surfaces and water by pedaling and driving a fan that sucks air into a balloon-like skirt beneath the hovercraft. Another propeller at the rear provides forward thrust.

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Modern City

More than 104 countries gathered 6.8 million pounds (3.1 million kgs) of trash, which included an estimated 11.4 million items from 6,485 sites around the world during the 23rd International Coastal Cleanup. The information compiled during the clean up has been analyzed in a new report - A Rising Tide of Ocean Debris and What We Can Do About It - from the Ocean Conservancy. The report represents the world’s only country-by-country, state-by-state analysis of trash in our oceans and waterways.

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The steam powered car FIA World speed record, which has stood for more than 100 years, has finally been broken by a British team with an average speed of 139.843mph (225kph) on August 25th at Edward's Air Force Base in California.

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Polar bears falling from the sky and ending up in bloody, bone-crunching heaps is the shocking visuals for a new online and cinema advertisement campaign by Plane Stupid, a European airline pollution advocacy group.

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From the people that designed the world’s first hydrogen fuel cell jet-wing unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), the Hyfish, comes their futuristic SmartFish small personal jet.

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The future of travel looks both luxurious and sustainable according to the vision of London-based design company Seymourpowell. Their elegant solar powered and hydrogen fuel cell vertical Aircruise airship offers both sustainable and lavish travel.

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E-Green Technologies' Bullet 580 is the world’s largest airship at 230ft (70m) long and 65ft (19.8m) diameter. Each Bullet 580 costs US$8M (€6.3M), the company plans to build eight airships to rent at US$290,000-800,000 (€230,000-630,000) a month.

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How is it possible that with so much discussion around climate change we continue to have carbon dioxide spewing celebrations endorsed by our local, provincial and federal governments? The time has come to reconsider having the Snowbirds fly at Canadian airshows and other community celebrations. Although there has been growing backlash against the Snowbirds for a number of years due to dangerous public accidents, pilot deaths and community groups opposing the use of a symbol of war at family-focused events, now is the time for the 'greening' of the Snowbirds due to their high environmental price.

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Using the FlyRad motorized wheel and seat, the inline skate wearer can whiz along as they sit, stand or crouch, and get pushed or pulled along at up to 40kph (25mph).

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The Vulture 1 paper space plane was launched on Oct. 28, 2010 as part of the Paper Aircraft Released In Space (PARIS) project, capturing amazing images of the Earth and space from almost 17 miles (27.3km, 89,591ft, 27,307m) up.

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Imagine a greenhouse filled with exotic and unusual plants, the likes of which you have probably never been seen on earth before. These plant forms are not aliens from another plant, but creations from well-known American artist Hilary Pfeifer and her latest bonsai inspired exhibit - Natural Selection. We caught up with Hilary to find out more about her mesmerizing botanical exhibit of imaginary plants made almost entirely from found or reclaimed materials.

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Recycling doesn’t have to be limited to just bottles and cans. In fact, American artist Susan Bell has found an innovative way to recycle her horse’s feces into garden art. Using recycled manure and hay – she creates dung sculptures for the garden that are also great compost for your roses. We caught up with Susan to ask her where she got her fecal inspiration and how can we get one of her super cool dung bunnies.

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The province of Ontario, Canada has established a ban on cosmetic pesticides that will take effect on April 22, 2009 – Earth Day. Ontario residents will no longer be able to apply pesticides to lawns, gardens, parks or schoolyards.

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Abandoned and lost fishing gear is having a serious impact on the marine environment according to a new report jointly produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and UN Environment Programme (UNEP). The report found that ocean debris is mounting and the consequences of dumping fishing gear and other garbage into the ocean is starting to have lethal consequences for marine life and seabirds.

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Today, June 8th, is the first United Nations recognized celebration of World Oceans Day. Although World Oceans Day has long been organized and celebrated by activists and ocean lovers around the globe, this is the first year the UN has officially sanctioned the event.

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Everyone on the coast of British Columbia sees them – the broken hulks of boats. They’re almost as prevalent as discarded plastic containers, and far more perilous. Derelict vessels are a maritime nightmare – an eyesore and navigational hazard, and the source of toxic substances such as gasoline, diesel, heavier fuels and lubricating oils, battery acids and metals, paints containing lead and copper, even sewage. These neglected boats leach, leak, and spill into our harbours and bays.

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In June this year, the Living Oceans Society’s “Finding Coral” expedition set out from Vancouver, Canada on a two week cruise to the North Coast to document British Columbia’s (BC) deepwater corals. The chartered research vessel Cape Flattery carried Living Oceans Society’s (LOS) staff from their base in Sointula, along with invited marine scientists and technical support people.

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ESA's Earth Explorer CryoSat-2 satellite is to scheduled to be launched on Thursday 8th April at 15:57 CEST, 2010 from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

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Smart Sponge, developed by Glenn Rink at AbTech Industries, absorbs oil and petroleum hydrocarbons, permanently transforming them into a solid that can then be burned in power stations to make electricity or safely buried in landfills.

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Dutch Docklands, in conjunction with Troon Golf and Waterstudio. NL, have devised an innovative reconfiguration of the traditional golf course – a floating, solar powered, carbon neutral eighteen hole golf course in the Maldives.

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Inspired by tiny creatures that lived in the ocean some 500 million years ago, the environmentally-friendly Triobis 65 semi-submerged dwelling, from the Italian Giancarlo Zema Design Group, offers up to six visitors the opportunity to explore bays, sea parks and other calm waters in the comfort of a modern, low impact eco-vessel.

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Renowned sculptor Jason deCaires Taylor has a series of limited edition prints, sculptures and films on display in an exhibition at the Jonathan Levine Gallery in New York June 30 to July 28, 2012.

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