Category: Building

Open Source Beehives

We are all too familiar with the Colony Collapse Disorder afflicting our precious bees. So much needs to be done to educate the mass (and beekeepers) about what bees truly need. The Open Source Beehives project is another powerful initiative marrying traditional designs with high tech equipment to promote healthier beekeeping practices. They have designed two downloadable beehives that can easily be printed and carved on wood sheets. They are […]

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Solar Water Bottle Bulbs

Alfredo Moser with his solar water bottle bulbs Introduction Thomas Alva Edison lit up the world with his electric bulb in the nineteenth century. In this century it is the solar bottle bulbs of Alfredo Moser which are illuminating thousands of houses of under-privileged people in many countries. This simple invention of the Brazilian mechanic is going viral and is been implemented in remote villages throughout the world. This article […]

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Natural Building Workshops – Changing Lives

I’m sitting here writing this article surrounded by 35 people, here to build Australia’s first council-approved Earthship in the Adelaide Hills — a home made largely out of recycled car tyres, cans, bottles and dirt. Among these people are travellers, architects, comedians, town planners, university students, artists, musicians, business owners and a handful of builders. Most of them have never built a thing in their life and are picking up […]

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Seeds of Permaculture – Tropical Permaculture (video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2cr10nOm0xU An interactive film about permaculture in the tropics, with education and inspiration as the main threads running through this hour-and-a-half-documentary.

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High on Permaculture in the Rocky Mountains (video)

Kris Holstrom’s off-grid permaculture farm at 9000 feet high is living proof that food can be grown nearly anywhere. Managing with a very short growing season and water constraints, she and her interns have created magic. Tour the sun-warmed, insulated greenhouse where greens are grown year-round. It’s home to a waterfall and pond with fish, trellises for grapes and seedlings, artwork for the soul, and mushrooms growing from straw. The […]

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Building with Mud, and How to Build a Cob Oven

Cob is an earthen building material that is made of clay, sand, straw, and water. It has been used for thousands of years to construct homes and buildings. It has been used worldwide, but has only recently started to attract interest from Western countries. Cob has its origins in millennia of traditional building, in some of the oldest permanent human dwellings. Humans have made shelters this way for so long […]

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How to: Making Eco-Bricks (Costa Rica)

Finished bottles. Remember, one’s trash is another’s treasure! Last year I worked on making cob walls for a chicken coop, after attending a natural building course over a weekend which taught me about bahareque, the Central American equivalent of cob, if you will, which is adapted for tropical climates and for heavily seismic areas. The teacher, Eduardo Valverde, who is a Costa Rican green architect well versed in natural, indigenous […]

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Rob’s Modified Walipini

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qB8AE_H_YTc When a friend of mine told me that they wanted to build a walipini, my first reaction was, of course, “what the heck is a walipini?” The answer was simple: a walipini is an underground passive solar style greenhouse. It’s an innovative and potentially inexpensive way to grow food in our cold northern climate. When I checked out the pinterest photo though,  I noticed some major flaws in the […]

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Can Earth Building Scale Up to the Mainstream? Robert Alcock on the Power of Keeping It Small

Rob Hopkins: Our recent post about Kevin McCabe’s ‘cob citadel’ and what we might learn from it about ‘scaling up’ generated a lot of debate and discussion. Robert Alcock, a cob self-builder living in Spain commented that “the really great thing about cob is that it is an inherently anti-mainstream material”. Intrigued, and wanting to hear more of his own story, I asked him if he might share his thoughts […]

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Zed Eco-homes (India)

Every so often an individual is given exposure to another individual so wildly dynamic that it confuses, entertains, but most of all, inspires. This is how I would describe meeting Dr. Hariharan Chandreshekar, CEO of Biodiversity Conservation India Limited (BCIL), the company that designs and manufactures some of the most renowned eco-homes on the planet.

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A Look at Crystal Waters Ecovillage

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_UH51W9tYFE This is an introduction to Crystal Waters, covering permaculture design, innovative housing design, intentional community living and land restoration. Crystal Waters is situated in rural southeast Queensland, Australia. Filmed in 2001-2002.

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Brooklyn Grange: A Rooftop Farm in New York (video)

Geoff Lawton at Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm “That view behind me is not a painted backdrop!” said Geoff Lawton to the camera. But the view looked great from where I was standing. Brooklyn Grange is a rooftop farm with a magnificent view looking over the Manhattan skyline. Sited on a concrete roof, totaling 2.5 acres and producing over 50,000 lbs of organically-grown vegetables each year, you need to walk its […]

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