Archive for the ‘Sustainable Construction’ Category

A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity (2016) Documentary

This Documentary follows on the subject of Eco Village / Community based settlements, filmed in Australia with some commentary from David Holmgren and is a joyful watch, you can see a few mini homes built from recycled materials etc…

There are discussions about the world banking system and how even it needs a radical change in order to secure a better future, this is a very interesting documentary for anyone interested in the subject or similar

I am an avid fan of the Holzer Permaculture methods, I find Sepp Holzers outlook and methods to be closer to nature than his Australian counterparts but I am in no way saying that the common Permaculture is in any way wrong. I merely like his approach and understanding of nature better, it resonates with me, in one way, I feel he is more spiritual and feels the energy or information that nature gives him than the more scientific approach that the others show us.

I highly recommend reading his books and also following his works online, there are many videos you can catch on various media sources such as youtube, I do not however, claim that his work is all that you should research and follow, by all means do follow the works of Bill Mollison, David Holmgren, John D. Liu, Geoff Lawton, the late Patrick Whitefield (UK / Temperate Climate Permaculturist) and many more

Sepp - Desert or Paradise

Desert or Paradise by Sepp Holzer


In the last couple of months, in my own very home I have rediscovered how important a true, good healthy supply of Water is for us, my family and also the world as a whole, I have invested in a system that provides us with the right structured water which is also high PH (Potential Hydrogen) as well as extremely low Oxidation Potential.
After attending last Sundays London Permaculture Festival and purchasing my second book by Sepp Holzer titled ”Desert or Paradise – restoring endangered landscapes using water management, including lake and pond construction” where I am only now on page 28, one realises how good Living natural water is so important to every living being as well as the planet as a whole! He describes how our man made changes to the landscape has caused certain issues which come back to us through nature as so called ”Natural Disasters”.
People like Sepp Have The Answers but it will take people like us to force our Governments to take note and seek out their expertise and the time is NOW!

They don’t call this guy ”The Rebel Farmer” for nothing …

Ok so I thought I was just going to be writing one paragraph explaining why you should watch this 12 minute video (below) … just goes to show how Sepp has the ability to captivate those who are truly awake to the issues we have in this world!

Sepp Holzer and Bernd Muller explain about their project in Tamara Portugal where they took a soon-to-be desert landscape and constructed a lake for water retention and preventing desertification of that particular area, he has done this in other areas around the world as well, this is a must watch for anyone interested in restoring land or wanting to create an abundant landscape for the sake of wildlife and human life.

Here is a nice short 6+ minute mini tour of an Eco Home with a permaculture inspired lifestyle:

Chris Southall and Rosie Dodds practice urban permaculture at their home in Clacton-on-Sea in the UK. Their bungalow has half acre of garden providing vegetables year round.

For them Urban Permaculture is about greater self-reliance in food and a more self-reliant home, which uses less energy and water. They have a reed bed which purifies grey water from the bungalow ready for use in the garden. They keep chickens, burn wood, and reuse a lot of waste materials scavenged from the neighbouring industrial estate. Energy costs are kept close to zero. PV and solar water have been installed.

This home has undergone extensive eco renovation, much of it done at low cost in DIY fashion. It is one of the homes in the SuperHomes network of older homes that have been renovated by their owners to reduce carbon emissions by at least 60%.

In this 5 minute video we get to see an indoor compost toilet system, bio-shelter thermal battery, and low-maintenance gardens

Three people from Sweden travelled to 4 eco-communities: Munksegaard in Denmark, Brighton Earthship and Bedzed in South-England and The Lammas Settlement in Wales. In search for people who had decided to live a simpler life in balance with nature and resisted against our mainstream consumer society, they often received strong resistance from local politicians and authorities. What we discovered was a deep satisfaction and joy of life.

House in a European Eco Village

House in a European Eco Village

Though the goal of this trip wasn’t making a documentary about it, we felt it was important to document it anyway.

In this video the narrator explains how the owner (Michael Buck) built this small Cob house for only £150 which he rents out to a local farm worker whom only has to pay him with Milk from the farm, he didn’t use any power tools on the job and carried all of the straw for the roof on his back to keep it as a non polluting, eco project.

For more on eco homes such as Earthships, click Here.

There are many different ways to obtain Hot or at least, Warm water using Eco-friendly, sustainable methods which are low or zero impact in terms of pollution or carbon emissions. I have a few other methods in which Hot Water can be attained using solar for example, those will appear in other future posts so keep an eye out on this blog!

Today, we have the Compost Heap / Pile hot water system which is really basic in concept, quite low maintenance especially if you have the land and plan it all ahead! Your system can be the Jean Pain in Large (Such as the example in the video at the bottom of this post) or even just smaller setups as in the below photos:

Installing The Coil Pipe in a Permaculture / Jean Pain Compost Water Heating Pile

Compost Pile Water Heater Under Construction – Permaculture / Jean Pain

As long as you have the on site resources (Deciduous trees that loose their leaves in Autumn and also other natural organic matter producing elements), to continue to replenish the pile or create new backup / takeover piles which the system (piping) can be transferred to once the primary pile has completed it’s composting process.
Therefore you can ensure a year round supply of Hot / Warm water without having to use up valuable wood stocks which should be kept ideally for the colder winter months and days when the compost pile and other Solar resources aren’t able to operate at full potential (cloudy cold days etc.).
If you feed this water into a water heating system when the water is not at a high temperature, the water heating system indoors will require far less resources / energy to use in order to get the water temperature up to the desired level/s.

Here is a quick Wikipedia excerpt on the Jean Pain Page:

Jean Pain (12 December 1928 – 30 July 1981) was a Swiss-born French inventor and innovator who developed a compost-based bioenergy system that produced 100% of his energy needs. He heated water to 60 °C (140 °F) at a rate of 4 litres per minute (0.88 imp gal/min; 1.1 US gal/min) which he used for washing and heating. He also distilled enough methane to run an electricity generator, cooking elements, and power his truck. This method of creating usable energy from composting materials has come to be known as “Jean Pain Composting”, or the “Jean Pain Method”.

The following video is also a Permaculture Site Tour by Ben Falk from Moretown, Vermont in the US, he describes and shows the Jean Pain compost powered water heating system amongst other things such as his wood burning stove which also provides hot water:

Below, Ben Falk gives a quick 3 minute description of the Jean Pain concept and the video includes time frame still of the construction (Must See):