British comedian Ricky Gervais has joined the BUAV’s Cargo Cruelty campaign and spoken out against airlines that transport monkeys destined for the research industry.

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Dr. Jane Goodall, the worldwide respected primatologist and bioethicist, has called upon the British Government to continue not to use great apes in research, just as the blockbuster movie Rise of the Planet of the Apes premiered in the UK and the USA. The Rise of the Planet of the Apes' storyline is based on humanity's use of primates for laboratory experiments.

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New Systens for you

The main driver for the performance and affordability of the recently-mentioned Rainbow Duplex is a panelized prefab system of construction that was designed to help projects meet the Passive House standard. BC Passive House in Canada has a manufacturing plant that’s making these panels, and I thought it would be interesting to share what’s inside the company’s next-gen, high-performance panels.

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In the USA, most windows are probably single - or double-glazed and some builders will use triple-glazed windows for Passive House and other high-performance homes. But in Hanover, Germany, a 12-glazed window prototype by Mariusz Paszkowski and Antoni Kostka was the star of the recent International Passive House Conference, according to Der Standard. Check out these windows with aerogel!

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Teragren, one of the largest manufacturers of bamboo materials based in North America, recently expanded the popular Portfolio line of floating, strand bamboo flooring with the addition of “Portfolio Naturals.“ The four new looks — Java, Chestnut, Wheat, and Brindle — have been favorites in other Teragren product lines and expand a Portfolio line that’s quick to install.

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This is the first and only UL-listed, 120-volt, plug-and-play solar kit in the world, according to SpinRay Energy. The DeckPower120 comes with one, 240-watt solar panel and can be hung on a deck or elsewhere outdoors using a simple mount bracket. The system allows for up to 1,300 watts of AC power with five solar panels and should qualify for available federal (and sometimes state) tax credits.

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This is The Shoebox House in Santa Fe, New Mexico. It’s an award-winning design — Citation Award from the Santa Fe chapter of the AIA — that also captured LEED Platinum certification with 88 points, a phenomenal feat given some of the challenges. Architect and builder Gabe Brown, Praxis Design/Build, was able to put a 1,700 square foot home on a 2,300 square-foot L-shaped lot, while still giving the owner a separate art studio, a gallery-like living room, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a study.

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The concept of using off-site fabricated modules for core elements of a home is not necessarily new. In fact, most recently Proto Homes introduced a hybrid-prefab system with the Proto Core, which is a chase for mechanical, plumbing, and electrical. It’s also being used in the form of “wet-cores” for The House of the Immediate Future with Habitat for Humanity (Seattle/South King County) at the Seattle Center.

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Adam Leu has the height of an NBA small forward, 6′ 7″, and wasn’t satisfied with just a standard tiny house. So he modified a couple plans by tiny-house enthusiast Michael Janzen and created the Tall Man’s Tiny House. It’s 21-feet long, 13′ 3″ tall (total, not the interior), and includes three roomy segments of seven feet. This place includes one bedroom, one bathroom, a loft, and an open living and kitchen room, as pictured.

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Below is a general outline of our coverage from May. In terms of our new articles, we had four with triple-digit likes on Facebook — DIY Shed Plan, Nido Micro Cabin, Mandala Round Prefab, and Connect:Homes Prefab — a good indicator of what readers want. 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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This is the first Energy Star qualified home in British Columbia, according to builder Mandala Homes. The company’s been around since 2000, and this is their new, round showcase with passive solar design, tuned windows, non-toxic finishes, a custom greenhouse, and all sorts of materials that emphasize energy efficiency. It’s owned by Mandala Homes president Lars Chose and partner Rachel Ross.

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This is Beachaus I in the White Rock area of British Columbia. The home (like the neighbor, Beachaus II) is on the market, should you have an interest in a luxe, modern, prefabricated home with incredible views. Beachaus — located at 15611 Columbia Avenue — is waiting for LEED certification from the CAGBC and has three bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, a two-car garage, and about 2,085 square feet.

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I caught up with Brian Phillips, principal of Interface Studio Architects, in Miami recently while he was down as a visiting critic at the University of Miami School of Architecture. Based in Philadelphia, ISA is a prominent architecture and research firm on the leading edge of green building and pre-fab construction with notable projects such as the 100k House and The Modules, featured on Jetson Green a few years ago. Here is our discussion on the work of ISA and direction of the green building industry.

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In findings presented at the NAHB’s National Green Building Conference and Expo in Nashville, McGraw-Hill Construction said more than 80% of builders and remodelers responded that energy efficiency is making homes greener now than in the last couple years, according to a SmartMarket Report called New and Remodeled Green Homes: Transforming the Residential Marketplace.

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FreeGreen, an online source for green house plans, recently announced a strategic pivot to make homes better and cheaper. The company wants to give homeowners the opportunity to save money by helping them get involved in some of the finish work. FreeGreen has a DIY series of house plans, and the first design — the DIY Shed — isn’t value engineered to meet a budget. It’s designed so that certain portions can be finished by the homeowners themselves.

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The stage was set for rowdy debate of the tensions between mechanical and passive green building techniques at the recent Congress of the New Urbansim. Steve Mouzon, designer and author of The Original Green, Bill Browning of Terrapin Bright Green, Ann Daigle of the Princes Foundation, and Daniel Sloan of McGuire Woods, moderated by Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, a founder of CNU, principal of DPZ and Dean of the University of Miami School of Architecture.

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Today, two prefab veterans launch their website for a new company called Connect:Homes with a mission to “deliver modern homes that are affordable, green, and available wherever your are.” The co-founders Jared Levy and Gordon Stott, both formerly with Marmol Radziner Prefab, started the Los Angeles-based enterprise to reinvent modular prefab and deliver homes that are predictably priced, inherently green, and shipped most anywhere at a lower cost.

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Clayton Homes, maker of the popular i-House, is the largest producer of homes in the country and accounted for 7% of homes constructed in 2011, according to the annual report of parent Berkshire Hathaway. They have a large residential footprint, and their efforts to educate home purchasers can go a long way. So it’s great to learn of their recent announcement of a new home energy label along the lines of what we’ve discussed previously with other builders.

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This the new Blueair Sense designed by Claesson Koivisto Rune. It was designed to shatter barriers in the bland world of air purification with a contemporary design, touch-less control, compact size, low energy consumption, quiet operation, and optimal clean air delivery rate. All Blueair units are Energy Star certified and use “HEPA Silent” technology, and I understand Blueair Sense will be no different. I’ve asked Blueair for pricing and availability information and will update this article when I hear back.

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California-based Sunrun and Harris Interactive recently announced the results of a survey of 2,211 adults (1,475 homeowners) about the cost and desirability of installing a home solar system. The main sound bite is the one-liner that “97% of Americans overestimate the cost of going solar,” as well as the stat that “nearly 8 out of 10 of those who do not already have solar panels say they would install solar if cost were not a factor.”

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TOTO just introduced a new toilet called 1G and announced that it’s the first manufacturer to break the one-gallon per flush barrier for a gravity-fed toilet, according to a recent statement. 1G is like a tornado in the toilet — less the noise of pressure-assist version — with a Double Cyclone flushing system.

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In September 2010, I mentioned the winning design in a competition involving steel SIPs from OceanSafe. The REOSE Sunshower SSIP model, designed by Tulane University professors of architecture, Judith Kinnard and Tiffany Lin, is now complete and demonstrates a home that can withstand hurricane-force winds and extreme weather while still incorporating the latest in energy - and water-saving technologies.

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The Exo looks like some sort of space station, but it’s actually a clever housing unit for emergency shelter situations. A cargo truck can carry about 15 of these — packed in two pieces, the base and upper shell — and a team of four can move and set one up in under two minutes. When assembled and connected, Exo has lighting, climate control, wall outlets, and four fold-down beds.

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EV owners benefit from an efficient engine and a domestic energy source; however, the energy source will likely be electricity derived from coal and natural gas and maybe a little bit from nuclear and renewable sources like hydro, solar, and wind. To improve this, Ford and SunPower Corp. today announced a new initiative called “Drive Green for Life” to offer solar power to purchasers of Focus Electric and the C-MAX Energi plug-in hybrid vehicles.

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New Avenue Homes, builder of a popular NZE tiny house in Berkeley, has a new Clean Tech Exhibit home on display in San Jose. The home has a living room, kitchenette, bedroom, bathroom, storage, and all sorts of green technology and sustainable materials. New Avenue prefabricated the structure and estimates that a home of this size costs about $70,000 to build and permit, not including upgrades or special circumstances.

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This is the Celo Residence, an award-winning guest house adjacent to an organic farm overlooking the South Toe River in Celo, North Carolina. The home received an Honor Award from AIA Ashville and was featured in Fine Homebuilding and most recently in EcoHome Magazine with a Grand Award. Celo Residence was Energy Star certified and received a 75 HERS with projected total energy costs of less than $30 a month.

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The tiny house movement is just blowing up, and we’ve seen growing interest in our tiny house archives in recent months. This week, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, seller of tiny houses such as the Popomo, as well as books and plans, recently announced the launch of a new book — Backyard Sheds & Tiny Houses — and several new Box Bungalow plans under 110 square feet. The plans sell for roughly $50 and the kits can be had for about $12,000 – $15,000. If you’re interested in ADUs, backyard cottages, and tiny homes, we have a list of the new stuff from Tumbleweed below.

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Blu Homes just announced a new home style — the Lofthouse — designed by the company’s architects to “appeal to traditionalists and modernists alike.“ The modern version eliminates shutters, expands the windows, and provides an indoor/outdoor living experience. The traditional version has Colonial-style windows and shutters to fit in an existing or historic neighborhood.

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This month brought the unfortunate passing of environmental hero Ray Anderson, though I’m glad to have been inspired by his books and endeavors. In terms of our new articles, the most shared one on Facebook was about the Solar Decathlon models, while the most shared one on Twitter was about how solar improves property values. If you have news for JetsonGreen. com, send us a tip. Below is an outline of August coverage.

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This is the Week’nder by Lazor Office, the architecture studio that brought us the FlatPak house. It was installed on Madeline Island last summer after a short ferry trip across Lake Superior. The Week’nder includes extensive glass area and operable windows, sustainably harvested wood framing, steel and pine siding, galvanized steel roofing, and a compact footprint. View more detail and photos below:

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Once again, there is discussion in the U. S. Green Building Council (“USGBC”) to allow other wood certifying organizations to have a place within the LEED guidelines for green construction. The new Pilot Credit 43 [PDF] for certified products would allow several wood certifications — e. g., Forest Stewardship Council, Sustainable Forestry Initiative, American Tree Farm — to contribute to a point under the trial credit.

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*This is a sponsored post for Toyota’s 100 Cars for Good program.

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Recently Southwest Windpower announced the availability of the popular Skystream 3.7 wind turbine at select Home Depot stores. The move puts small wind within reach of more customers as the industry expands every year. Southwest will start the installation program in Texas, Nevada, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, and California with additional states in the near future.

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