This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011

Its Solar Decathlon time again ! 

I love this annual competition.  Crazy ideas – experimental – cutting edge – out of the box (as they say!) – weird – fun – they say if you want to learn and be creative – you should take things apart – turn them upside down – backwards – shatter ideas and then put it all together.  Well that’s what they do here.  Watch all 20 of the competitors entries and I guarantee you will get an education.  Watch with an open mind and remember – we are looking for new stuff here!

Press play to watch the SCI-Arc video.  Right in my  back yard – SCI-Arc is cutting edge and a little bit Hollywood too!

Solar Decathlon Teams

The 20 university-led teams that design, build, and operate the competition’s solar-powered houses are the heart of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. Learn more about each of these teams competing in Solar Decathlon 2011: Continue reading “This’ll blow your hair back! Solar Decathlon 2011”

Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building

This amazing project caught my eye !  Just check out the spec’s … containers – green houses – graywater – gardens – solar – Bert calls this the “Bio Diverse Farm” – check it out

Click on photos to enlarge

Send us your projects!


Hi Otis

This Design project might interest you. The main points are:


Southern Gulf Islands, British Columbia

2 acre plot, gentle slope to SE

Winters Wet, Summer very dry limited ground water

Climatic zone 6-8

Continue reading “Show Us Your Projects ! – Bio Diverse Farm – Super Green Building”

In Search of the Ultimate Green Home – Paqtagonia- Ventura Today


THE California Central Coast Chapter of the U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL

Presents:  Otis Bradley
In Search of the Ultimate Green Home

Custom home builder Otis Bradley of the Otis Bradley Company and will be leading an interactive dialogue about the path to “net-zero” homes at the monthly meeting of the U.S. Green Building Council C4 Chapter on Monday, January 24th at 5:30pm.  This meeting is open to the public and is held in the Patagonia Fire House at 280 W. Main Street, Ventura.  Infusing his inquisitiveness, vast industry knowledge, and a healthy sense of humor, and using the design and construction of his own recently completed home as a jumping off point, Otis will guide the group through an interactive dialogue about the future of homebuilding in our new “Green” reality.  Be prepared for an offbeat and spirited exchange of ideas.

Otis currently owns and operates Otis Bradley Company, Inc.,, a California Custom Home building business.  Otis also runs webinars about Green construction at, where he blogs regularly about a variety of green topics.

The presentation takes place at the Patagonia Firehouse Building, 280 W. Main Street in downtown Ventura on Monday, January 24th, 2010 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm.   The monthly meetings are free and open to the public.

Our next presentation will be on Monday, February 28th.

For more information, please call (805) 218-2254, or visit the C4 website at 


PS For those of you that can’t make it watch for the replay to be posted here on     

Net Zero Home in Vermont

Here’s a cool house that I have seen written up a few times … located in Charlotte, Vermont – right near my alma mater – The Universtiy of Vermont.  David Pill and Hillary Maharam designed their own energy producing green home.  The 2700 sf home uses an all electric system of a ground souce heat pump coupled with super insulated walls and a wind turbine.

Article by David Pill  Journal of Light Construction

Netting Zero in a Cold Climate

How a house in northern Vermont produces as much energy as it consumes.

Netting Zero in a Cold Climate How a house in northern Vermont produces as much energy as it consumes by David Pill As an architect, I’ve been educating myself in green building practices for nearly 20 years, through reading and attending workshops and conferences. So when it came to designing a new home for my family in northern New England, I had definite goals in mind. First, I wanted to create a house with as little environmental impact as possible. Second, I wanted to use the most conventional methods possible, so that the house would be relatively affordable and include …

To see the rest of this article – either buy the current issue of JLC or go to the Journal of Light Construction

You can see more about David and Hillary ‘s home on their web site

News Flash ! Ah ha Green Moment !

This is great !  TP without a tube – saves 17 Billion tubes of cardboard !  You wonder where the guy was sitting when he came up with this one.
Suggestion from me … bag the tubes in paper towells too !
By Bruce Horovitz, USA TODAY

The toilet paper roll is about to undergo its biggest change in 100 years: going tubeless.On Monday, Kimberly-Clark, one of the world’s biggest makers of household paper products, will begin testing Scott Naturals Tube-Free toilet paper at Walmart and Sam’s Club stores throughout the Northeast. If sales take off, it may introduce the line nationally and globally — and even consider adapting the technology into its paper towel brands. Continue reading “News Flash ! Ah ha Green Moment !”

Portland – the Greenest City Ever???

The Portland (and Hood River) Green Building Tours will be the subject of our next Green Building Sessions….

I love Portland!   Here for the Green Building Tour, I checked out the city the night before.   An amazing energy exists here.  The bumper sticker says “Keep Portland Weird.”   My cousin, who lives here, says too many people from California and the mid west have been moving here and trying to “normalize” things.

My friend Joe poses with Portland Superheros ! Continue reading “Portland – the Greenest City Ever???”

Straw bales: low tech, high potential benefit

A straw bale wall is thick, gobbling up valuable space; and heavy, requiring a sturdy foundation. But some experts estimate a bale wall to be up to three times as energy efficient as conventional framing. Over time, the savings add up.

Fire risk
Loose straw is really bad – a form of tinder. Tightly compacted straw, however, behaves like a phone book – not enough air to easily burn. Stacked bales are further compressed before plastering. Continue reading “Straw bales: low tech, high potential benefit”

Green builder’s house of straw blazes a trail in a rainy climate

The straw is trimmed flat with a chainsaw-like cutter and then finished with cob plaster, which sticks to rough surfaces. Atop that will be a fine layer of lime plaster.

The City of Portland energy code requires walls to have a minimum insulation rating of R21. Doleman estimates her walls will be R30 or better – a significant measure beyond.

That sounds about right to David Cohan, market research & evaluation project manager for the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. He said straw bales have a long and wonderful history but that design and execution – as with anything – is key. Continue reading “Green builder’s house of straw blazes a trail in a rainy climate”