There’s something about the traditional yet contemporary “house-shaped” form of this design that just resonates with me. The home was designed by an Alberta-based studio called Bioi pursuant to the owner’s request for something simple, contemporary, and energy efficient with a build cost of less than $100,000. It turns out, Warburg House received the highest EnerGuide rating available without generating its own energy, according to featured project information at Architizer.

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When I mentioned a project by students aiming to build the greenest house in Canada (by means of the Living Building Challenge and LEED Platinum certification), I noted that students planned to use “prefabricated straw bale walls.” It turns out they finished this portion of the project using BioSIPs from NatureBuilt Wall Systems in Ontario, Canada.

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Today Stramit USA announced the launch of a material manufacturing company operating out of an 88,000 square-foot facility in Fort Worth, Texas. The company has been working with Stramit UK for 16 months to import the process that creates a proprietary and rigid Compressed Agricultural Fiber (CAF) product — made with agricultural waste wheat straw — that can be used for walls, panels, flooring, doors, and furniture.

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I mentioned the launch of Connect:Homes recently and how the founders of this company hope to reinvent modular prefab with a unique approach. They took a big first step towards doing that with a prototype home on display at Dwell on Design in Los Angeles last weekend. The crowds, from everything I’ve heard, deeply enjoyed this warm, contemporary abode and the interior touch of style by Kishani Perera.

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This home in McMinnville is a 2011 Northwest Energy Star Home of the Year. Showcasing an environmentally-considerate approach to the construction of a custom home, Cellar Ridge built the Cozine Creek Cottage for owner Pat Britton with the design by Matthew O. Daby of m. o.daby design. The cozy cottage has 1,287 square feet and was completed for $139 per square foot with a focus on energy efficiency.

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Since I last shared photos of the Dow POWERHOUSE Solar Shingle, this line of business has picked up. In October 2011, the Solar Shingle launched in Colorado, and Dow expanded the launch to Texas and California in April 2012. As part of the launch, this commercial — lazy roof — aired recently to show these markets how Dow is helping to reinvent the roof so that it not only provides shelter but power, too.

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As of today, the first house designed and built to the Passivhaus standard in Arlington is now on the market. The million-dollar home — referred to as the Arlington Passivhaus — was built by Southern Exposure Homes, a builder run by brothers Eric and Roger Lin, with an emphasis on airtightness and energy efficiency. But there’s also a 700-square-foot green roof, contemporary interior finishes, and landscape that reduces stormwater runoff.

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James Green is an aircraft structural engineer who found a creative solution when designing a home for a remote site in Turkey (that wouldn’t allow a concrete foundation). Green decided to structure the house around a shipping container with an extended skeleton of removable frames. Seeing more potential, he then patented the idea and teamed up with architect Matthew Coates of Coates Design Architects in order to deploy “Eco-Pak” as modular and sustainable housing.

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Push Design made news with a beautiful Hemp House in Asheville, North Carolina. It received significant media attention — notwithstanding a multitude of jokes conflating industrial hemp and marijuana. Now, hemp is being used for more projects, as shown in the above video from CBS Minnesota. Due to strict regulations, hemp is imported and mixed with water and lime to create a light, insulating, concrete-like mass for walls.

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One thing you don’t want to do, if you’re interested in buying a prefab home, is pay some company to design something only to find out you can’t afford it in the first place. Or, as mentioned in a recent NY Times article about prefab kit homes, you definitely don’t want to get into the build without a clear vision of the total costs to complete the home. It’s mission critical that the prefab buying process be entirely transparent.

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Below is a general outline of our coverage from June. In terms of our new articles, the most popular were these — hemp homes video, Sweet Pea houseboat, Connect:2 Prefab, and the Vail Residence — a good indicator of what resonates with readers. Also, as you know, we’re interested in learning about inventive green homes and new green products around the USA. If you have news for JetsonGreen. com, send us a tip.

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The process to adopt the next version of LEED has been pushed back according to an announcement by USGBC President and CEO S. Richard Fedrizzi earlier this week. The change means LEED 2012 (now being called LEED v4) will likely not be brought up for a vote on adoption until the middle of next year.

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This is a green home in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle and another energy-efficient renovation by Green Canopy Homes. The company — which also renovated The Sentinel — is targeting Built Green 3 Star certification with help of comprehensive air sealing, extra foam and rigid insulation, Energy Star windows, a home electricity monitor, heat-pump water heater, Energy Star ductless heat pump, and CFL lighting.

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California-based Insteon just announced the new Insteon LED Bulb 8 Watt, which is the first networked, remotely controlled, dimmable LED light bulb in the world, according to the company. The bulb sells online for $29.99 and is designed to conserve a significant amount of energy over the standard 60-watt incandescent. Nonetheless, intelligence, not efficiency, is the name of the game with this controllable screw-type light bulb.

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Jason Peacock has plans for a solar-powered cluster of compact homes on a plot of land in Wiscasset, northeast of Portland, Maine. The first house is complete — the Souler House — and it’s a 950-square-foot contemporary abode covered with a grid-tied 3.6 kW array. Peacock designed and built the home, and he’s also renting it out on VRBO for anywhere from $700 – $1000 per week, depending on the season.

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The original Mod. Fab installed on the grounds of Taliesin West will live again thanks to a new endeavor between Lindal Cedar Homes and both the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture and Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation. Thus, Mod. Fab will be available anywhere there’s a Lindal dealer, except the plan is also available in an additional exterior finish and in two larger sizes, 680 and 790 square feet.

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It’s been a couple years since we last checked in on the work of Seattle-based FabCab, a company that makes prefab and kit-built, eco-friendly homes and accessory dwelling units. Short for “fabulous cabin,” FabCab has several timber-frame houses under construction in Washington and recently shared photos of this two-level cabin on Camano Island. It has a timber frame, SIP panels, and a soaring water-front wall of windows.

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I’m crazy about hemp. I wear it. Wash myself with it. Moisturize with it. Eat it. Treat insect bites and scrapes with it. I’m astounded by its applications in building. I’m amazed by its multi-tasking abilities – a backyard plot of hemp and a little ingenuity and one could arguably produce everything necessary to live: clothing, shelter, food, medicine.

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My 11-year-old recently referred to me derisively as an “eco-freak”. With increasing practice, I’m getting good at developing a thick skin, chalking her remark up to increased pre-teen hormones rather than a true reflection of her feelings. And indeed, when I laughed at the name, she giggled along with me.

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So today we I began a little review of basic geology we tried to teach you all in 7th grade. We are up against the test, so I’ll handle scribe duties. Remember, I put the Power Point slides in “the box.” We started by reviewing the “anatomy” of the Earth’s interior. Here is a simplified diagram:

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Aldo Leopold is a name you may recall from our environmental history readings. He is often called the “father of wildlife management,” and you’ll encounter his work again later this year. He wrote a famous book called A Sand County Almanac and in it, this short story called “The Odyssey.” It is about “atom X” and its travels…wonder what element and biogeochemical cycle it represents?

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(is it too early to do a reflection post? I’m afraid I’ll forget to ask tomorrow.)

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This last chapter, we really started to get an idea of how biogeochemical cycles work and can “malfunction.” Here are a few interesting current events on the topic if you want to learn more:

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In class on Monday we talked about Speciation, or the creation of new species. What helps drive the process of speciation is natural selection. We learned 4 different aspects of natural selection:

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When thinking about population ecology, it is important to remember that populations evolve, not individuals. We’ve learned that populations do not operate independently of each other, but are connected and intertwined within communities. Therefore, we say that populations evolve together; they coevolve. In population ecology, there are 5 major relationships:

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So, we have not discussed the Brain Rules in a while…

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Population biologists/ecologists rarely have the luxury of counting every organism in an ecosystem or biome, but they still have to try in order to monitor relative biodiversity or determine if a population is threatened or endangered. Today we simulated a popular sampling technique known as mark and recapture. While we used pretzel goldfish as tagged fish, in reality a typical fish tag looks more like this:

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The Isle Royale simulation in class points out the significance of free population growth, the presence of predators, and the availability of food in an ecosystem. The three simulations that we did focus on each of these and their effects on the populations of moose and wolves.

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In class on Friday we began discussing human population. We started by watching this video that illustrated the human population growth since the beginning of recorded history:

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These are the notes on the different factors which can be responsible for raising or lowering the birth and death rate of a nation. If you have any questions regarding what is here, let me know!

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If you enjoyed the TEDTalk by Hans Rosling, I wanted give a chance to learn more about his work.

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http://geographyfieldwork. com/g427.gif

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*Note: We only got to spend a few minutes discussing this topic the last day before exams, so I am including this nice post by IanN from last year.

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Hello! We discussed more in depth today the concept of foundation and keystone species, and I understand examples wherein, for example, kelp is the foundation species. Without it the biotic aspects of the ecosystem crumble…the kelp is like an anchor for the foodchain. However, I’m a little fuzzy on keystone species. I get that once you take out a top predator, everything crumbles in like a keystone in an arch…is it because the predator is gone and thus the prey population explodes, exhausting resources, so everything stops functioning, or is it more specific than that? if thats the case then why isnt every situation in which a predator leaves in whatever capacity a keystone situation/any predator is a keystone? is isle royal a keystone situation when the wolves leave and the elk overshoot carrying capacity?

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