self-sustaining homes

The Only Sustainable Practice for Wastewater

100_4937Eventually our standards for what is considered “sustainable” will have to actually be sustainable.  As long as we, as a society, are not recycling all our wastes, as nature does, our practices are not sustainable over the long term.

Nathan Roy at Ecologic Construction is currently designing one of the first residential onsite waste water systems that is truly sustainable.  It is not a composting toilet!  It is a much cleaner, more efficient better solution. (more…)

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Outhouse

100_6877This is a passive solar outhouse design that we’re working on to use on our job sites.  (In the background there is an unfinished shed project.) The outhouse uses the heat of the sun to kill pathogens and evaporate water.  Inside there is a normal ceramic toilet and a holding tank of fresh water. Dual containers in the drying unit can be alternated, making disposal of the dry compost end product easy.

Eco-Cottage: walls and roof

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Business has been great, so we’ve hardly had time to work on our own projects, but finally we got the walls up.

After the foundation was laid, we started on the frame and walls and roof. 2″ x 10″ studs were used in the walls and roof to allow extra space for insulation. Thicker walls are also more aesthetically appealing. (more…)

EcoCottage: foundation

floorAfter many years of planning and designing, in the spring of 2010 we finally starting laying the foundation of an “eco-cottage,” a little structure that will be designed to heat and cool itself without much help at all from machines. We decided to build on a hill for aesthetic reasons and also to reduce the threat of moisture  as much as possible. Moisture is a problem for every home and prevention is the best cure. There should be no place for water to stand around a home. Gravity should be taking it away from the basement/foundation walls. (more…)

Greenhouse

100_1811Passive Solar Design  can capture the sun’s energy and store the heat in a earthen or stone floor.

A greenhouse can be added to your house as a passive solar heater. During the coldest days of the winter, a greenhouse will stay 15 to 25 degrees warmer than the outside at night.  On a clear cold day it will heat up to 80 degrees if it’s 30 outside. During the spring and fall, a greenhouse makes a very pleasant sitting room.  During the summer, the roof vents should be opened and the roof  covered with deciduous vines or bamboo screen to make a nice well-ventilated, shady area.