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Monday, February 27, 2012


straw bale off-grid home – edge architects


This striking high desert home, designed by Taos, NM’s Edge Architects, is uniquely suited for the widely fluctuating climate conditions of its wild desert  location. The home is designed to be completely off-grid and self-sufficient. For cooling and heating purposes, the home’s north, east and west walls consist of 24 inch thick adobe wrapped in straw bales.


Photovoltaic panels provide all electricity for lights, computers, television, water pumps, washing machine, etc. The home’s solar panel array is situated for maximum solar exposure while maintaining its proximity to the utility room, where a bank of batteries stores the electricity, and an inverter converts the 24 volt DC electricity to conventional 110-volt AC power.


All the residence’s roofs slope to a single location so that rain water can be captured and stored in two 1,700 gallon cisterns buried on the north side of the house. The only reliance on an outside source of power is a propane tank, which provides fuel for the range and hot water heater. (more…)

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Monday, February 27, 2012

February is for the birds – upcycled bird feeders


Did you know that February is National Bird-Feeding Month? The event was created to encourage wild bird feeding and bird watching, and is sponsored by the National Bird-Feeding Society. For those who enjoy hanging out with our fine feathered friends year-round, Hipcycle features a variety of cool birdhouses and bird feeders made from upcycled materials.

Above are a couple of personal faves:

  • bird feeder made from recycled wine bottle & wiring $30
  • birdhouse made from reclaimed cedar $24

Feel free to Tweet!

related: more bird feeder reviews on The Alternative Consumer

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ecomonday – green news roundup


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Saturday, February 25, 2012

handmade glacial stone candle holders


Sculptor and stonemason Brooks Barrow creates his Glacial Stone Candle Holders from black basalt glacial stones he hand-gathers from an Ice Age deposit near Sheboygan, Wisconsin.


Brooks then cuts the stones to accept standard 1-1/2″ tin-lined tea light candles. The stones are diamond-polished to a satin eggshell finish while preserving the natural form. Each candle holder is signed on the underside with Brooks’ stone-cutter’s mark.

$26 a set @ the brooksbarrow Cargoh shop

related: more eco friendly home decor items on The Alternative Consumer

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Friday, February 24, 2012

eco-fashion friday finds: red carpet, green dress + more from LA to Scotland


Dara Gerson and Ashley Lowengrub of Alkemie Jewelry make all their wonderful pieces by hand from 100% reclaimed metals in their Los Angeles studio. Pictured above (l to r) are the Cicada ring and Egyptian Cobra and Lion necklace.

RedCarpet_GreenDressAcademy_Awards_March_07_2010_011_1_1.jpgThis year’s winner of the Red Carpet Green Dress competition has just been announced. Suzy Amis Cameron (photo on right in an earlier winning design), founder of the Red Carpet Green Dress design contest has announced the winning dress and surprise actress who will wear the sustainable gown to Sunday’s 84th Academy Awards.

Actress Missi Pyle, the vivacious actress recently seen in the Academy Award nominated film “The Artist,” will wear a design by Valentina Delfino, who was born in Venezuela and is now based in Miami. Delfino’s design was chosen from among hundreds submitted by designers who entered a sustainable dress design in the Green Dress competition, which began last November.


Swan & Stone created this mens style fedora hat (above) from Dijon yellow and azure blue, hand-felted wool. The designers make their hats entirely by hand, from fibers harvested on their Vermont farm.

Farmer/felter Samantha Stone raises the animals and makes gorgeous felts using home-grown wool and other locally-sourced natural fibers like alpaca and mohair. Designer/milliner Nora Swan uses her years of experience as a theatrical and fashion milliner to transform Sam’s felt into striking couture-grade hats and accessories.

$175  @ the Swan & Stone Etsy shop


Gray Harris Tweed Effie Bag (above) is made from luxurious Harris Tweed. Harris Tweed has been hand woven by islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland, and made from pure virgin wool, also dyed and spun locally in the Outer Hebrides.

$105 @ the Mairead Etsy shop

related: more eco fashion featured on The Alternative Consumer

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