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Mitsubishi Launches Integrated Solar Home and Car System

Mitsubishi's Dendo Drive House, to be introduced in Europe and Japan this year, bundles solar panels, a bi-directional charger, and an electric vehicle in a single, integrated system. Prospects in the U.S. aren't known. [Image credit: Mitsubishi] Mitsubishi Motors Corporation is using the Geneva International Motor Show to roll out the Dendo Drive House, an energy system that allows two-way power sharing between a home battery and an electric vehicle. Mitsubishi will begin offering the system this year in Japan and Europe, according to an announcement. There was no word on whether it would be available in the U.S. The…


Colorado County Ponders Lower Limit on House Size

In Aspen, Colorado, county commissioners are discussing updates to energy and land use regulations, including a possible reduction in the maximum allowable size for a single-family house. The cap is now set at 15,000 square feet. [Image credit: Katie Haugland Bowen / CC / Flickr] Energy consumption by jumbo houses is prompting one Colorado county to consider reducing the maximum allowable size of a new house below its current cap of 15,000 square feet. The limit could be rolled into a revised energy code for Pitkin County, which includes the wealthy ski town of Aspen where large houses are not…


Urban Rustic: Installing an ERV

Editor’s note: This post is one of a series by Eric Whetzel about the design and construction of his house in Palatine, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. A list of Eric’s previous posts appears below. For more details, see Eric’s blog, Kimchi & Kraut. Building with Passive House principles in mind, we knew that in addition to maintaining a tight building envelope and installing substantial amounts of insulation, we also would need continuous mechanical ventilation. Our system, using either a heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) or an energy-recovery ventilator (ERV), would have to be highly efficient. It would need to hold onto…


Bike-Friendly Cities Should Be Designed for Everyone

This narrow street, lined with parked cars but devoid of people, is both unwelcoming and unsafe for cyclists. Image credit: Anne Lusk CC BY-ND Anne Lusk, CC BY-ND Designing for bikes has become a hallmark of forward-looking modern cities worldwide. Bike-friendly city ratings abound, and advocates promote cycling as a way to reduce problems ranging from air pollution to traffic deaths. But urban cycling investments tend to focus on the needs of wealthy riders and neglect lower-income residents and people of color. This happens even though the single biggest group of Americans who bike to work live in households that…


Coal-Fired Power Plants Are Polluting Groundwater: Analysis

A new analysis of data collected from coal-fired power plants shows that groundwater contamination from coal ash dumps is nearly universal. The Guardian writes that of the 265 coal power plants in the U.S. that monitor groundwater, 242 of them report unsafe levels of at least one pollutant. Contaminants include arsenic, a known carcinogen, as well as cobalt, cadmium, and lithium. The study, led by Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) attorney Abel Russ, is based on data that became available to the public for the first time in 2018, three years after new federal coal ash regulations were issued. EIP and Earthjustice,…


Getting Schooled on Passive House

Phil Kaplan and I have not been active podcasters for a while. (The last couple of years, life had other plans for us.) But we’re back and committed to a new season of the Green Architects’ Lounge for 2019! We’ll be issuing about one episode a month this year. It all started back in November when we were asked if we’d host a cocktail hour and record a live episode the evening before the PassivhausMAINE Fall Forum. We had a blast and talked about a subject dear to both of our firms, Passive House Schools. Phil’s firm, Kaplan Thompson Architects,…

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