Inhabitat's Week in Green: Google's new HQ, folding bikes and fancy beehives

Each week our friends at Inhabitat recap the week's most interesting green developments and clean tech news for us -- it's the Week in Green.

Inhabitat's Week in Green

Buildings are among the biggest energy users, but new developments in the design world could help change that. ArchiBlox recently unveiled Australia's first carbon-positive prefab home -- in other words, the house produces more energy than it uses. The gorgeous 800-square-foot structure is now on display in Melbourne's City Square. In other architecture news, Google just unveiled plans to build a giant bubble in Mountain View! The new Googleplex headquarters will be a biosphere-filled utopia designed by Heatherwick Studio and BIG. Speaking of BIG, the Danish architecture firm recently unveiled plans for a luminescent, geodesic dome biomass power plant. The rainbow-colored dome wouldn't just produce green energy; it would also serve as a public park.

On the energy front, President Barack Obama made one of the more important moves of his presidency last week, when he picked up his veto pen and rejected a bill that would approve the Keystone XL pipeline. But the fight isn't over yet. Obama says he won't take a final stance on the controversial pipeline until the State Department complete its review. The Eiffel Tower just got a green facelift that includes a pair of vertical axis wind turbines set within the tower's framework. The iconic tower also features LED lighting, along with 10 square meters of roof-mounted solar panels atop its visitors' center. Apple announced plans to build two new 100 percent renewable-energy-powered data centers in Denmark and Ireland. The data centers will power the company's iTunes App Store, iMessage, Maps and Siri services. And in Finland, scientists have created a solar tree that harvests power from indoor and outdoor light and turns it into electricity for powering mobile devices.

Love biking to work, but wish you could get there a bit faster? The Raht Racer is just what you need. The hybrid vehicle takes pedal power and amplifies it, enabling you to travel up to 100 miles per hour. One car that's guaranteed to get you from Point A to Point B faster is the nanoFlowcell Quantino, a new sports car that is powered by saltwater. The car has a range of 621 miles and it can reach speeds of up to 124 MPH. Canadian company Shocke Bikes designed a new kind of electric bike that comes equipped with a 36V, 12Ah lithium-ion battery that provides up to 43.5 miles of juice. Another Canadian bike company, Helix Folding Bikes, has developed an innovative new cycle that can fold down to the width of its wheels. The Helix bike isn't just compact -- it's made of titanium, so it's also light and durable. And for vacationers traveling to Ecuador, there are plenty of reasons to visit the Mashpi Lodge in the orchid-filled Mashpi Rainforest Biodiversity Reserve. But one of the top draws has got to be the Sky Bike -- a human-powered, two-seat cable bike that allows you to fly above the forest floor.

Honeybees are having a tough time, so beekeepers around the world should be excited to learn about a new, non-invasive honey-extraction system developed in Australia. After a decade of research, a father-son team has developed the Flow Hive, a system that enables beekeepers to harvest honey without opening the hive and disturbing the bees. In other science and innovation news, a Guatemalan NGO is transforming old bikes into pedal-powered water pumps, blenders and tile makers that can be used in areas without reliable access to electricity. The East Coast of the US has been battered with storm after storm this winter, inspiring one Maryland man to create a sidewalk snowplow that can be operated while sitting on a toilet. In eco fashion news, fashion designer Suzanne Lee creates entire "leather" garments with little more than bacteria, yeast and sweetened green tea. And students at MIT have created a new wearable social network that uses smart T-shirts to make connections between people. The T-shirts alert you through haptic vibrations and visual cues when you meet people face to face with similar interests.