Aid Projects, Community Projects, Courses/Workshops, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Land, Processing & Food Preservation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water — by Alex McCausland April 1, 2011
Editor’s Note: As many of you will have noticed, Alex has been making some great practical updates on the work going on at the Strawberry Fields Eco-Lodge. The following article is another good example. I thought I’d mention that if you want to soak in some excellent experience at this site, Steve Cran will be leading a great course beginning July 1, 2011 that you might want to attend if you can.
The heat chimney for the solar fridge
The solar fridge is a new system which we have now managed to get set up after months of pondering, trying, adjusting, tweaking and trying again. We think we have finally got it kicking and pretty well integrated into the other functions of the kitchen area, so we can demonstrate permaculture principals with it pretty nicely.
The system is based on an old design for desert/dry-land cool storages which makes use of a heat chimney to create an up-draft which then sucks cool air in to the storage chamber from below. This air may pass through a long tunnel in its way to the storage chamber and hence be cooled by the ground on the way to the chamber. In order to enhance the cooling of the air on the way to the chamber, if possible, water, by evaporating will take in thermal energy, causing the temperature of the air to fall further. The main logistical issue to deal with, as usual, in building the system, was getting the theory to work in practice using available materials. Most of the construction work on this project was done by one of our long term volunteers, Duncan Colquin from Herefordshire, England, so a big thanks to him.Comments (4)
Aid Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Craig Mackintosh PRI Editor March 31, 2011
Joe Jenkins isn’t afraid of nutrients, in whatever form they may come. He’s a champion of turning waste from being a problem to being a solution instead; a resource, in point of fact. Many of you will be familiar with his Humanure Handbook. If not, you should!
Perhaps few places in the world are in need of nutrient cycling solutions as urgently as Haiti.
Below is a three-part video series covering the work of Joe and others to help restore some sanity to sanitation in the beleaguered island nation.
Humanure Compost Training in Haiti — Part I
Biological Cleaning, Building, Conservation, Land, Soil Erosion & Contamination, Storm Water, Swales, Urban Projects, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Contaminaton & Loss, Water Harvesting — by Nicola Chatham March 18, 2011
Pit-falls, projects and laughs from our permaculture journey – Part 5
“What’s that smell?” asks Chris.
“I don’t know. It’s really familiar. It smells like… cat food,” I reply.
“It smells like shit,” he says.Comments (11)
Building, Consumerism, People Systems, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Oyvind Holmstad March 17, 2011
First Earth: Uncompromising Ecological Architecture by David Sheen is meant as an inspirational film about earthen buildings, or more specifically, what they call ‘cob’. Cob is the oldest and easiest way of building from earth. You can find information and relevant literature here, and inspiring pictures here.
The architect Rolf Jacobsen at Gaia Tjøme, Norway, has, together with his son, built an experimental cob building on their property. Because of the cold climate they chose a two layer wall with perlite in between for insulation. You can read a discussion about cob in humid climates in this article, looking especially at the comments thread.
No matter whatever you live — in a hot, cold, dry or humid climate — lean back and watch the video below. If you enjoy it the DVD can be ordered here. (The DVD version of the film has high-quality video and audio and includes extras.)
Chapter 1: What’s Wrong With Architecture
Michael Reynolds has been doing some great things with his Earthship Movement. One example is that after the earthquake hit Haiti, he and his colleagues went to help the people by building environmentally sound, affordable, disaster-proof dwellings. With the experience of working in Haiti they have come up with a brilliant design for one of the ways they can really help Haitians — being that it has been over a year now and still over a million people are living in tents and malaria and cholera are now prevalent. This design is loosely based on permaculture principles as all Earthship Biotecture is.
If you are in a donating mood this is the project you should donate to. It is actually getting things done on the ground in Haiti and really helping the Haitian people help themselves, unlike many of the initiatives there.
You can keep up with Earthship’s progress at their YouTube channel which is updated often with videos of ongoing projects.Comments (1)
Building, Courses/Workshops, Energy Systems, Land, Retrofitting, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Geoff Lawton March 3, 2011
Melbourne PDC Design
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
It is standard format, in the PDC curriculum, that students are given an exercise to design a landscape with a design brief so they can make the move into design while being mentored by their Permaculture Design Certificate (PDC) teacher. This is not a test but an exercise, enabling students to make the first step into design while still taking part in the PDC program.
During the 72-hour course students receive a body of diverse knowledge which, despite covering a number of disciplines and emphasising the connectivity between those disciplines, can seem surprisingly simplistic and easy to understand until students are put into design groups and given a challenge to design an area of landscape with a design brief. If the brief is likely to be a real life scenario then the possibilities expand and the design system complicates itself into innumerable choices of interactive complexity.Comments (17)
by Theron Beaudreau, Austin, Texas
Building slipform walls out of woodchip mulch and paper pulp. We put together this video to show how fun natural building can be… especially if you enjoy getting a little dirty!
Every Sunday I’ve been getting together with some friends to work on various permaculture projects. It’s something that’s become a trend for several years now. There have been several ebbs and flows over the course of that time but the general trend has been ever climbing. These days, Sunday workday/potlucks are the norm for me and my circle of friends. Just over this past year we’ve built several gardens, re-landscaped a housing co-operative’s front entryway and built a few aquaponics systems. During the month of February, we took to a natural building project that will soon become a large new greenhouse.Comments (3)
Building, Energy Systems, Land, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Kim Hayes February 28, 2011
How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun. — TED
Animal Forage, Commercial Farm Projects, Economics, Energy Systems, Financial Management, Gabions, Land, Livestock, Plant Systems, Swales, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Nick Huggins February 16, 2011
I want to share with you a few things about a permaculture design project I finished in late October 2010. Details of the design, some details of working with clients on design projects, basic costing and what to be aware of when doing so. I also outline how I put the project together and what it included.Comments (14)
Animal Forage, Fencing, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Working Animals — by Marty Miller-Crispe January 28, 2011
Pigs in Vietnam
Photos © Craig Mackintosh unless otherwise indicated
I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals. — Sir Winston Churchill, British politician (1874 – 1965)
Like Winston Churchill, I also like pigs. They are intelligent, highly social, are fun to watch, and make awesome tractors!
The use of animals to clear and manure land in preparation for planting is a well known permaculture approach to agriculture that can reduce the need for machinery, eliminate the need for artificial fertiliser, and provide pest control. The classic example is the chicken tractor for preparing veggie beds or the use of ducks for pest control once the veggie garden has been established.
The use of pigs enclosed in a movable pen or ‘pig tractor’ is a great way to clear large areas of land, or help break up hard packed, or clay ground.Comments (9)
Building, Consumerism, Courses/Workshops, Land, People Systems, Society, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Sasha Rabin January 6, 2011
Editor’s Note: Sasha Rabin is someone with enviable skills in natural building. She has been building, and teaching others to build, with natural materials since co-founding Seven Generations Natural Builders (SGNB) in 2002. She recently co-founded Vertical Clay Construction. Sasha has a degree in Ecological Design from Evergreen State College and apprenticed at the Cob Cottage Company. She has taught natural building classes at the Yestermorrow Design/Build School, The Solar Living Institute, and the Institute of Urban Homesteading. And guess what? Sasha will be co-teaching a natural building course at the ‘Greening the Desert – the Sequel’ site (the new PRI-owned Greening the Desert replacement site) in Jordan, on a five-day course beginning 27 February, 2011. This is not to be missed. Read on, and book here to get onto the course!
by Sasha Rabin
Inside a cob cabin in CA, USA — built by Sasha Rabin with the help of many
Not very long ago, villages were built by the people who used and inhabited them. Today the buildings we live and work in are designed and built by people outside of our direct community of people who interact with those structures. How do we recreate a society that has a living relationship to the buildings we inhabit, and through that process create modern vernacular building traditions that reflect the true needs of our local communities as well as respecting the limitations of our local environments? One part of this question involves looking at the materials we build with, and the other part involves re-engaging people with the building process.Comments (3)
Consumerism, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Jonathan Chan December 23, 2010
Christmas day is only days away and I know all you good permies have bought very practical, environmentally responsible presents for your loved ones. As you go to the shop to buy your recycled wrapping paper, stop and think. What is the truly responsible wrapping for this permaculture present?
Here is a wrapping that doesn’t cost a thing, monetarily or environmentally. It hasn’t really even been processed (except by heat). Introducing the banana leaf Christmas wrap – a gift-wrap inspired by Vietnamese tradition.
Here’s how to do it:Comments (8)
Aid Projects, Commercial Farm Projects, Community Projects, Compost, Conservation, Demonstration Sites, Education Centres, Energy Systems, Rehabilitation, Waste Systems & Recycling, Waste Water, Water Harvesting — by Alex McCausland December 18, 2010
We recently submitted a short report on our hot-fast-composting system, which gave some detail on the theory and practice of producing compost in as short a time as 21 days. But Permaculture principals tell us that we should always be looking to yield as many useful products and functions from any process or element as possible and it is obvious that one bi-product of hot-composting is heat. If you get it really right, a heap should reach 80°C, which is literally too hot to touch. Feeling is believing. Once we were getting to that stage with our compost competency I began pondering how we could effectively catch and store some of that heat so that it can be used for a hot shower.
I finally realised that lots of mucking about with coils and heat exchange loops, lagging and insulation etc. could be avoided if we simply have the hot water tank inside the compost heap. Jean Pain, the old French Roi de Compost did something like this in his place, but took it a lot further, even to the point of having a biogas digester inside a cooling jacket inside a giant compost heap. He was able to heat his house and get compost and biogas all out of the one system. Ours is simpler, but the good thing about that is that you don’t have to be a practical genius to do it.Comments (0)
Building, Eco-Villages, Energy Systems, Material, People Systems, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Rhamis Kent December 14, 2010
I’ve recently been doing research on Earthships after being formally introduced to them while talking to my friend Paul "Ringo" Kean. For those who don’t check this website often, Ringo is a professional earthmover who is one of our more skilled PC field operators, having worked with the likes of Darren Doherty – definitely one of our most valued, skilled, and experienced people.
Michael Reynolds is the gentleman credited with creating this concept and housing technology. It’s worth a look and is very "permaculture" in its functioning and outlook. Credit also goes to commenter Chloe Wolsey for previously introducing the topic of Earthships on this site:
Earthships 101 parts I & II:
Building, Energy Systems, Gabions, Land, Swales, Village Development, Waste Systems & Recycling — by Geoff Lawton December 3, 2010
A Filipino garden — in Saudi Arabia!
Working in Saudi Arabia on a large project, in this case the Al-Baydha project, involving Bedouin People who have been resettled into villages for the past 20-30 years, is an interesting broad landscape affair as it covers about 700km2 and 9 villages. The culture of Bedouin rangeland management, with large herds of animals moving across the landscape, has been a stable culture that didn’t originally damage the environment, in fact it probably enhanced it, by good stock management and moving at the right time with the grazing patterns and seasons. The hoof prints of the animals would have accumulated manure, nutrient and seeds which would have germinated by the next rainfall, improving the landscape and therefore continuing the culture — but this relies on the people being able to move freely in a sporadic pattern that is responsive to the conditions; harmonious and regenerative.Comments (9)