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Canadian House and Home

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There's a feature article about the house (and us) in the May 2006 issue of Canadian House and Home. The magazine has been mailed out to subscribers, but it isn't on the newstand yet.

The pictures are the best ever taken of the house. So good that both Joanne and I could hardly believe we were looking at pictures of the place we live (it doesn't look that gorgeous day-to-day believe me - though Gil really is that cute). The article is excellent as well. Very well written, with informative sidebars, and no factual errors (a first).

National Post

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Joanne was interviewed today about life in a Straw Bale house by a lady from the National Post. A photographer came by afterwards. It's for an article about the OSBBC Straw House Tour. They said the article should appear in the Real-Estate section next week - Thursday was mentioned.

Costruire

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We're in the latest issue of the Italian Architecture magazine Costruire. I have a copy of the magazine and it is gorgeous, but unfortunately I don't read a word of Italian.

German book, Italian magazine, does this mean we're world famous?

More Press

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We're in the lastest issue of Canadian Homes and Cottages: a nice article with some good pictures.

We're also in the latest issue of the Italian architecture magazine Construire - in Italian, so I've only read various translations, it's very technical, not really interested in us, just the house.

The German Book

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Building with StrawBuilding with Straw bookI have the German straw bale book I mentioned back here, and much to my surprise it isn't in German it's in English.There was something sort of undefinably cool about having our house in a foreign book that we couldn't read. I suspect it's just more that Friedemann was kind and thoughtful enough to send me a translated copy that we could read. It's called Building with StrawBuilding with Straw: Design and Technology of a Sustainable Architecture
I haven't had a chance to do a complete reading yet, though my quick scan shows lots of good clear drawings and an abundance of technical information. The featured houses are grouped at the end of the book with several nice colour pictures of each, as well as technical drawings and a nice write-up. In terms of the houses shown this one of the best straw bale books I have ever seen, as most of the houses are very interesting, modern and different.

I'll try and post more when I've had a better chance to go through the book in a more thorough fashion.

Globe and Mail Architourist Article

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The article is here: Globe and Mail - The Architourist.

More Publications

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We're going to be profiled in this Friday's edition of the Globe and Mail. It's the Architourist column, in the Real Estate section. I'll post a link when I have it.

We're also in a recent book on Modern Straw Bale building/design, the book however is in German, so even when I get it, I'll just be looking at the pretty pictures.

A review copy of the German book was sent to an Italian architecture magazine, and now they are working with SMA (the architects) on a feature article. They are working with SMA rather than us because they are a very technical magazine and are more interested in the engineering and architecture of the house than 'our story'.

The Danes prepare to eat our lunch

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WorldChanging has an excellent article on Denmark and its move into renewable energy on a grand scale.

In 1973, during the Yom Kippur war, Denmark was 98% dependent on foreign oil for its power. Today, thirty-two years later, the country derives 21% of its energy from wind and is a net exporter of energy.

They're investing 10 billion dollars of R&D money into renewables over the next 10 years. And this, my frineds is where the rest of the world will be eating North America's lunch in the decades to come, as oil gets more and more expensive more and more of our money will be going overseas not just to pay for oil, but to pay for any kind of alternative energy infrastructure as well. Meanwhile we drop another 100 million dollars trying to get another reactor working a the Pickering nuclear plant.

But the best part of the article, for me, was this quote from Svend Auken, a member of the Danish Parliament and former Minister for Energy & Environment:

Finally, he envisions the pathway to a bright green future, saying that “it need not be dull, it need not be boring, we don’t have to give up our lifestyle, we just have to be a little bit more smart about how we live.”

Amen brother.

Mission Green Part Two

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I wanted to wait to post this until after Garry had his update done on the Mission Green site so that I didn't "scoop" him. It's a nice article with some really nice pictures, obviously the secret to good interior shots is to take them when it's raining outside.

Around 2pm, right as a huge thunderstorm hit, the convoy rolled up. I grabbed all of our umbrellas and headed out to greet everybody. Once safely inside we gathered in the front and Garry told everyone about Mission Green and some of the goals they hoped to achieve, and a bit about his own history.

With that squared away he proceeded to ask a series of well thought out and focused questions about all aspects of the house. I highlight that because I get asked a lot of stupid questions about the house and so it's a pleasure to answer smart ones. Let that be a warning to you if you're coming on the House Tour! Not a single one of them cracked a Three Little Pigs joke, they were a class act. Pete Mack and Simon Boone were there as well and both had to field questions on the off-grid system and the straw bale structure.

After touring around the house we headed outside to check out the trucks. We largely ignored the big Yukon SUV since the only difference between it and the regular one is that its engine has been tweaked to run the special 85% pure cellulose ethanol made by Iogen. Nice, and certainly a very definate improvement to what would normally be a very non-Green vehicle. But what really interested all of us rural geeks was the hybrid Silverado pickup. You can find out all you need on their site, I'm not a GM PR person, but the feature that really thrilled all of us was the two exterior 120V 15A outlets in the pickup bed. The truck can act as a generator, it has an inverter and will feed 120V off the batteries until they get low and then it will start the engine (!) to charge them back up! I wish we'd had that when we were building the house, no more listening to the generator idling all day.

All in all it was a very nice visit, I really enjoyed meeting Garry and his team, and I'm pleased and honoured that they chose to visit us.

Mission Green

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Mission Green is coming here.

Mission Green is a cross-Canada tour that salutes 85 local Canadian environmental initiatives that are creating a cleaner, healthier environment for all Canadians. Garry Sowerby, renowned adventure traveler and world record setter, hits the road in GM's advanced technology vehicles to highlight what we all have in common - a shared concern and compassion for the places we call home. Follow the journey with us as we tour Canada!

We've been asked to be one of the stops on the tour. Garry and his team will be coming by next Friday afternoon for a tour of the house, some pictures with local press and all that fun stuff. I'm pretty excited to meet Garry as I've followed his career for some time and even have a well worn copy of Road Fever, the book written by Tim Cahill about their drive from the bottom tip of South America to the northernmost edge of Alaska.

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