Dee Williams Tiny House

Dee Williams tiny house photo

Dee Williams tiny house

Here’s a New York Times article about Dee Williams’ tiny house. With just 84 square feet, this one is really tiny. It’s well designed and beautifully crafted, and a couple photovoltaic panels provide her electricity. She has it parked on a friend’s lot, which seems to be the major issue with tiny houses—where do you put it?

More about tiny homes:

Tiny Homes Can Serve Diverse Housing Needs

Is This the Best Tiny House Design?

Tiny Homes with Great Design

A Tiny House in the Back Yard

A Tiny House Village

Tiny Homes and Green Neighborhoods

Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

image of established neighborhood; Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

LEED-ND was developed jointly by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Congress for The New Urbanism, and the United States Green Building Council.

Does LEED-ND Work for Established Neighborhoods?

Similar in ambition and execution to GBCA’s Green Star – Communities program, LEED-ND provides a framework for “greener” development on a neighbourhood scale. Thanks to the different missions of the principles involved in its genesis, LEED-ND combines elements of green building, New Urbanism, and smart growth.

More about LEED:

Ohio Senate Votes to Ban LEED

Do Green Ratings Impact Affordable Housing?

 

‘Sustainable’ Doesn’t Have to Cost More

 

 

 

 

Which Is Greener, White Roofs or Green Roofs?

house roofs in white reflect heat

Are white roofs or green roofs more better for the environment?

Which Is Greener, White Roofs or Green Roofs?

In this article for Sourceable.net, I looked into the environmental benefits of white roofs compared to green, or living roofs, as stated in a new report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It turns out that white roofs are most cost effective overall, and most effective at mitigating climate change by reflecting heat back into the atmosphere.

Green roofs, however, offer other benefits, and last roughly twice as long as white roofs or traditional black roofs. Green roofs of living plants can absorb pollutants such as particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides. Green roofs also produce oxygen, consume carbon dioxide, and help to manage stormwater and runoff. Over their lifespan, green roofs are not necessarily substantially more expensive than white roofs.

Is Sprawl Development Simply Unaffordable?

photo of sprawling city; is sprawl development simply unaffordable?

Sprawling development costs more than it pays back.

Is sprawl development simply unaffordable? Also called “suburban sprawl,” this has been the dominant development pattern in the U.S. since World War II.

This article for Sourceable.net cites Sustainable Prosperity, a think tank at the University of Ottawa. The group published a report about sprawl in 2013. “Suburban Sprawl: Exposing Hidden Costs, Identifying Innovations,” offers a number of observations and conclusions regarding sprawl.

Chuck Marohn of Strong Towns calls the traditional suburban development pattern a “Ponzi scheme.”

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

Are Prefab Homes Ready for the Mass Market?

are prefab homes ready for the mass market? prefab home

Prefab homes come in a variety of styles, such as this modern style.

Are Prefab Homes Ready for the Mass Market?

Prefab, or prefabricated, homes are not a new idea. The idea dates back England in the 19th century, though they really looked poised for success in the U.S. in the 20th century. Bucky Fuller’s Dymaxion Home, steel Lustron Homes, modular homes, manufactured homes, and panelized homes all offered people a new way to get a new house.

Are prefab homes ready for the mass market? The homes themselves are better than ever, and offer solutions from very low cost to completely custom homes.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

Sustainable Doesn’t Have to Cost More

sustainable homes, Sourceable, sustainable doesn't have to cost more

Builders and architects are learning how to build energy efficient homes at cost parity.

 Sustainable doesn’t have to cost more

Here’s another article for Sourceable.net. Builders and architects are making loads of progress and are learning how to build extremely energy-efficient homes at a competitive cost. It’s now true: sustainable doesn’t have to cost more.

Adam Cohen of Structures Design/Build has now built an eye-catching, traditionally styled home in Virginia for about $150/square foot. And it’s a certified Passive House, no less!

Here’s another approach, from Blue Ridge Energy Systems in North Carolina.

And here’s the Newenhouse, a Passive House in Viroqua, Wisconsin, with yet another approach.

Newenhouse, Passive House, sustainable doesn't have to cost more

The NewenHouse front facade, as seen from Hickory Street.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

Landscape Architecture and the Developing World

New York City's Central Park

Landscape architecture has has a lot to offer the developing world, such as adapting to climate change.

 

In this article about landscape architecture and the developing world for Sourceable.net, I took a look at what landscape architecture can do for the developing world. In particular,  landscape architects can address climate change, urbanization, and population growth. These factors combine for a certain synergy, making each one more destructive to the landscapes that people need.

More information about this topic here, here, and here.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

What Does Urban Planning Offer the Developing World?

urban planning, developing world

What Does Urban Planning Offer the Developing World?

This is an article I wrote for Sourceable.net. I was curious if, in the world’s fastest-growing cities, urban planning plays a constructive role, or do planners struggle to keep up. What does urban planning offer the developing world?

 

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

Learning to Build A Rocket Mass Stove

Last Sunday, February 9, a couple dozen people gathered in a cold barn outside Erie, Colorado, to continue work on a rocket mass stove. Learning to build a rocket mass stove is easy, but there are techniques that are helpful.

Here’s a good explanation of the concept:

YouTube Preview Image

If you still don’t get it, here’s the gist: you build a small, hot-burning fire with small pieces of wood. The design of the rocket-mass stove encourages a strong draft, which gets the wood burning vigorously. The hot gases from combustion are drawn through the slightly pitched “chimney,” which transfers its heat to the surrounding cob bench. Cob is a simple earth mixture of clay and sand that is ideal for thermal mass for a cob bench. Building with cob is cheap, simple, and highly labor intensive.

Mike and Avery, who led the workshop, are permaculturalists and natural builders. A few weeks ago, they led a workshop to build the “firebox” and “flue” parts of the heater. Those tasks are more complex, but definitely manageable. They based the design on the book “Rocket Mass Heaters: Superefficient Woodstoves You Can Build” by Ianto Evans and Leslie Jackson.

people stomping cob, then learning to build a rocket mass stove

Stomping cob is energy intensive, so gather as many people as you can.

 

 

 

firebox of rocket mass heater

Here’s where you build a fire in a rocket mass heater.

 

placing cob on the heat tubes

This is about 35′ of heat tubes, so the heat from the gases can migrate into the cooler cob.

Building with cob is hard work, but very low cost, nontoxic, and flexible with design.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture

What Does Permaculture Offer To Cities and Suburbs?

Maybe it seems obvious, but most of us now live in an urban world. We can’t just walk out the back door and be in the wilderness, or even have a substantial private space. But we can improve the spaces we have with plants, and we’ll be more successful at that by using permaculture. What does permaculture offer to cities and suburbs?

Well, besides the health benefits we get from plants, we can grow plenty of food and repair our cities. The suburbs, with their larger lots, offer a huge opportunity to turn lawns into gardens.

The Permaculture Neighborhood Center

YouTube Preview Image

Mark Lakeman on Urban Permaculture: City Repair, Re-patterning the Grid, Solar Cat Palace

YouTube Preview Image

Cultivating A Suburban Foodshed

YouTube Preview Image

Suburban Permaculture w/ Janet Barocco and Richard Heinberg

YouTube Preview Image

These are hot topics right now, though the concepts are not. City Farmer got rolling in 1978. And Mollison and Holmgren were developing permaculture concepts in the early 1970s.

screen shot of City Farmer News; What Does Permaculture Offer To Cities and Suburbs?

City Farmer News has been a boots-on-the-ground resource for urban farmers since 1978.

The Farmhouse Media is all about living sustainably through

  • green building

  • green cities

  • permaculture