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This guy’s apartment is the size of a closet

Freelance designer Luke Clark Tyler keeps all his worldly possessions in the same amount of space that McMansion-dwellers allot for clothes and shoes. His Manhattan apartment is the size of a walk-in closet -- 78 square feet, just enough space to park a Mini Cooper. 

Read more: Cities, Green Home, Living

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Flame retardants could affect our bodies for generations

Photo by Steve Ryan.

It’s always nice when someone writes an article so you don’t have to. In this case it was New York Times columnist Nick Kristof, who has been doing the thankless job of writing about the health risks of toxic chemicals in our environment, as well as the politicization of the regulatory process that’s supposed to be in place.

From arsenic in chicken feed to cancer-causing chemicals to endocrine disruptors, Kristof has given new visibility to a critical issue: how toxic chemicals affect us, and how reluctant our government has been to protect us.

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Wooden light bulb is the most magical-looking LED bulb we’ve seen

There are all kinds of futuristic-looking energy-efficient light bulbs on the market -- not just the traditional piggy-tail model, but liquid-cooled bulbs that look like glass jellyfish, and bulbs with gills like a mushroom or fins like a Cadillac. But for our money, this wooden bulb by artist Ryosuke Fukusada is the most beautiful energy-efficient light fixture going. (And yes, it really is a light fixture.)

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Origami furniture made from recycled cardboard

Recession got you living in a cardboard box? Take heart: That doesn't  have to mean missing out on stylish furniture. Karton's modular, foldable furniture is sturdy (the bed can support almost 2,000 pounds), assembles in minutes, and is made entirely out of cardboard.

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Chairs and tables that double as indoor gardens

Growing herbs in your backyard or on your roof is all very well and good, if you have a backyard or a roof. But what if you live in a shitty little apartment that doesn't even have a balcony? Well, assuming you have things like tables and chairs, you can take inspiration from these prototypes to turn them into thriving indoor gardens. (If you don't have things like tables and chairs, you are probably some kind of forest creature, and you should just plant seeds in piles of your own excrement until whoever owns the apartment comes home and shoos you.)

Read more: Green Home, Living

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Awesome patio furniture made of recycled food packaging

In today's "shit you can't afford even though it's made of garbage" news: genuinely gorgeous, if-you-have-to-ask-you-can't-afford-it patio furniture made from recycled food and drink packaging.

Read more: Green Home, Living

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The most beautiful illegal treehouse you’ve ever seen

OK, I had always understood that Canadians build tree forts with little tiny fridges in them if, and only if, they have a million dollars. But Vancouver-area software developer Joel Allen built his insanely beautiful HemLoft when he went financially bust. And because he was broke, he built it by hand, illegally, on government-owned land.

Read more: Green Home, Living

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These toxic household cleaners can cause asthma or burn your lungs

Ah, America. The country where you're allowed to buy products containing hazardous chemicals that other countries have banned. The Environmental Working Group, the people who brought you the Dirty Dozen list of foods to buy organic, are taking an extensive look at the chemicals in more than 2,000 cleaning products. The group's researchers are months away from being done, but they have already found a slew of products that contain chemicals that are banned abroad, emit toxic fumes that can burns your lungs or eyes, or can cause asthma.

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The rain-barrel connection: Building a better flusher

Photo by Chris LaRoche.

This piece, cross-posted from Sightline, is part of the research project Making Sustainability Legal.

Call me a dreamer. I want to flush with rainwater. Rain barrels already anchor my downspouts. I want to hitch them to my toilet tank. It would save me money and leave my city’s drinking water for better uses.

Yet so far local plumbing rules aren’t helping me, or thousands of others, make the rain-barrel connection. It’s not so much that rules prohibit it, but that even local authorities do not really understand what the rules mean. A little clarification -- and publicity -- would go a long way.

Already, outside my house in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood, I’ve managed to irrigate my Victory Garden all summer from nothing but the 500 gallons of rain I collect in 10 barrels. During the other three seasons, though, the garden doesn’t need extra moisture, so my barrels sit unused and, often, full to the brim.

So I’m flushing my toilet with pure, treated drinking water that’s piped scores of miles from the Cascades while I’ve got hundreds of gallons of free, naturally delivered, and naturally replenished rain stockpiled just outside my bathroom wall. Perhaps you now understand the intensity of my dream? A Rain Water Toilet Flush system (RWTF)!

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Watch plants swallow up tiny houses in this weird living artwork


Artist Rob Carter is interested in the relationship between the built environment and nature, and his newest exhibition, which opens tomorrow in New York City, features mini replicas of three homesteads -- Charles Darwin's, Henry David Thoreau's, and Sir John Bennet Lawes'. The miniatures live in a garden of dandelions, bush beans, and corn, which over the course of the exhibit will take over the houses:

Viewers are invited to witness as the garden overcomes the estates in Carter’s controlled but fragile ecosystem in three distinct ways: time-based video projections, peepholes cut into the sides of the garden, and from an elevated viewing platform.

Read more: Green Home