Sustainable Building

ecovillage4Sustainable building is an environmentally-friendly way to build or construct any building (e.g., homes, offices, communal areas). In our opinion, human habitats or dwellings should not be considered separate from the larger ecosystem of the planet. Similar to how the indigenous people see the forest as a complete organism onto itself and its animals not separate from the forest but a vital part of the organism of the forest, we should see ourselves and our dwellings as a part of the larger organism of Mother Earth. With that level of consciousness, sustainable building should then address the aspects of building that affect the quality of all Life on this planet and they are:

  1. Type and source of building materials
  2. Design of the building itself
  3. How the building obtains and uses electricity, water, and gas
  4. How the building recycles human wastes and waste water
  5. How much the building integrates with the natural landscape

Building Materials

  • cob-home-living-roofUse non-toxic, natural, and renewable materials whenever possible (e.g., bamboo, hemp, fast-growing trees, cob/earth-clay-sand-straw, rocks, glass).
  • The production or processing of building materials should not have a negative ecological impact and if they do (e.g., conventional concrete) and another alternative is not viable, then it should be used sparingly.
  • Use locally sourced materials whenever possible to reduce consumption of fossil fuels.
  • Re-use, re-cycle, or re-purpose “trash” or “junk yard” items to prevent them from being dumped into landfills or oceans (e.g., glass or plastic bottles, used tires, aluminum/metal cans, plastic bags, etc.). Though they may be considered toxic, they can be embedded into walls so that their toxicity is contained.
  • Use natural pigments for paint or plasters whenever possible.
  • Use breathable materials for the walls, paint or plaster to avoid mold, mildew, and stagnant interior air. If breathable materials are not used (e.g., rocks, conventional cement/concrete), make sure there is ample ventilation via windows and doors, and allow as much sunlight to enter (e.g., sunroofs) for UV light to disinfect the space. This is even more important in bathroom and kitchen areas.
  • To conduct the Earth’s energy for optimal grounding, use materials such as cob, stone, marble, or unglazed ceramic. Wood, unfortunately, does not conduct Earth energy and neither do synthetic materials. Concrete will conduct energy if it is not painted or glazed.

Building Design

  • Tiny cob home in Finland

    Maximize the use of space, create multi-functional areas, and build as small as possible with just enough space to comfortably accommodate people and/or functions. Smaller spaces also means less cleaning and maintenance and spending more time outside in Nature and with others. It is very easy to lose one’s soul in a large house so think small and cozy.

  • Avoid sharp, 90 degree corners as these do not exist in Nature and tend to trap and stagnate energy flow leading to stress and emotional imbalances in the space. The corners in square or rectangular structures are also weak points in the structure which make them vulnerable to collapse during an earthquake, hurricane, or other natural disaster. Instead choose round and curvy so energy can flow freely and fluidly. Dome shapes are the most structurally stable and can withstand up to an 8.0 earthquake. If square or rectangular structures are needed, then at least round out their corners to minimize the stagnation of energy.

Electricity, Water, Gas

An off-the-grid Earthship home

To minimize impact on the environment, the building needs to be as self-sufficient as possible by generating its own electricity (be off-the-grid), collecting its own water, and producing its own gas (if gas is needed for cooking and heating). Not only will it free you from the lifetime, monthly utility bill system of slavery, but you will stop supporting and using dangerous, polluting, and toxic systems of electricity generation (e.g., nuclear power plants, coal-burning plants), water treatment (e.g., chlorine, fluoride, disinfectant by-products), and natural gas production (e.g., hydraulic fracking, air pollution). See Sustainable Energy to learn more.

Recycling Human Wastes and Waste Water

Click to enlarge

There is actually no such thing as waste or “trash” in Nature. Mother Nature uses and recycles everything. Trash is a product of the monetary system, the most destructive system ever invented (see Our ‘Fall’ From Grace and Our Return to Eden to learn more about this). For this reason, the building must be able to recycle and reuse human waste and waste water (i.e., grey/black water).

Integrate with Nature

Cob house hidden in the temperate rainforest of Oregon, USA

Humans are by far the only creatures on Earth that need to deforest and destroy large areas of wildlife habitats in order to build themselves elaborate shelters or dwellings (i.e., cities, towns, suburbs) that not only look nothing like the natural landscape around them, but almost completely cuts them off from many natural elements (e.g., sunlight, fresh air, natural rivers, lakes, ponds, oceans, forests, wild animals and insects). Designing the building to incorporate more of these natural elements will help us reintegrate into Nature where we really belong. Reforesting and rehabilitating ecosystems through Permaculture Design will take care of the rest of this reintegration.

FREE Books/Publications

For those who learn best by reading books, any good books or publications we find on the Internet will be put in the subfolder titled “Sustainable Building” in the “Anastasia” Google Drive folder for all to view and download for FREE.

FREE Videos

youtube-logoFor those who learn best by watching videos, any good YouTube videos we find on the Internet will be added to the “Sustainable Building” Ardent Light YouTube channel playlist or “Sustainable Building” Vimeo album. All other FREE videos about sustainable building we find on the Internet, will be posted here in this section of the page.

Classes, Workshops, Internships, Certifications

Currently, Self-Sufficiency Internships are available. The rest are under development. Information will be posted here when available.