Building with adobe and brick in Guanajuato – with Seth Phillips

This radio show comes to you from the city of Guanajuato where I stayed for over a week while travelling south from the US. Guanajuato is a small, beautiful, historic city set in the Mexican highlands of Guanajuato municipality.  It was declared a World heritage Site in 1988 by UNESCO due to its unique history and arctitecture.

My guests for this show are Seth Phillips and Anna Cristina Marin Fonseca. Seth and Cris have created a unique lifestyle here, renovating their home which is on an 820sqm property, very large for here in the city. In this space they’ve established  approximately 40 fruit trees, have hens and have implemented a range of permaculture/sustainable living actions – such as greywater for the fruit trees, rabbits that cut and fertilise their grass, worm farms that feed their fruit trees, and a humanure composting toilet.

Join me as I talk to Seth and Cris about their adoble house which has been part renovated and part built from materials from the property. In particular Seth has developed a new technique of combining brick and reinforced cement with adobe blocks to create strong and breathable adobe walls.

On the property they have built another dwelling for rental so if you like the sound of this place you are welcome to come stay!

This show was recorded on the 30th July 2017

To listen to this programme about BUILDING WITH ADOBE AND BRICK please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=79e52900-dd9e-4227-9d79-1a337e4a1d54

(If you want to listen to this show and the link is not working – please let me know! We endeavour to re-air our older popular shows on request.)

For more information –

  • To find out more go to

This show was originally broadcast on the 17th August 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

 

Seth has combined brick with the adobe walls using a unique method (as far as he knows). The bricks provide strength and adhere well to both adobe and to concrete.

Cris is a keen cook who uses little electiricy instead using the power of the sun. She makes everthing from scratch including grinding and processing the corn for their tamales. You’re very unliley to find any packaging in this house.

Advertisements

Co-housing Community Celebrates 35 years – with Karel Slot

Before I set sail with a freighter ship for the Americas, I couchsurfed at a co-housing community in Rotterdam in the Netherlands, with Host, Karel Slot.  The co-housing initiative, called Centraal Wonen Zevenkamp, is now 35 years old! Karel is one of its founding members.

In a co-housing community, people can own or rent their own property but share common resources such as meeting rooms, tool sheds and vegetable gardens. It is a wonderful way to live more sustainably and have community.

According to the intentional communities inventory book Eurotopia Edition 2014, Centraal Wonen Zevenkamp is situated on 13 ha in the region of CW7 on the edge of the city of Rotterdam. There are over 100 people living here, a mix of men women and children occupying up to 60 houses. Sustainability and neighbourly help are two of the main fields of action for the community.

According to Eurotopia, the community is situated in the most beautiful part of Rotterdam. And I can believe it! Dragon flies, parakeets and butterflies greeted me as I approached this co-housing initiative just a short walk from the Metro station that leads to the city centre.

I’m keen to find out what life is like in a co-housing initiative and what are some of the reasons for the success of this particular co-housing initiative.

Join me as I talk to Karel and also to Anton van Aart who Chairs the Co-housing group. (This show was recorded on the 4th of July).

To listen to this programme about CO-HOUSING please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=46c10657-2d13-4e72-be31-65df96434e73

(If you want to listen to this show and the link is not working – please let me know! We endeavour to re-air our older popular shows on request.)

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 3rd August 2017 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Some of the communal rooms of Centraal Wonen Zevenkamp (CW7) where community activities such as art take place.

Karel Slot and his very useful human powered vehicle. Decorated by a friend in the community.

A co-housing community benefits from its members’ skills and interests. The community has a few beehives. For example, on the day I visited, one hive decided to swarm. Members with skills in bee keeping collected the swarm.

The community’s communal garden. There are also larger wider community gardens very close by.

Close by community garden where Karel contributes a his time.

 

Eco-building and Off-Grid Accommodation – with Steve Golemboski-Byrne

Lackan Cottage Farm is a permaculture farmlet and off-grid holiday accommodation that is situated close to the Mourne Mountains in Northern Ireland. It is Northern Ireland’s only off-grid holiday accommodation. On the 29th November 2016, I travelled to Lackan Cottage Farm to meet one of Northern Ireland’s most inspiring people in the area of sustainable living – Steve Golemboski-Byrne.

In just four years, Steve and his wife Claire, assisted by volunteers, have renovated a rather delapidated cottage, added an educational living space, renovated an existing second cottage for rental accommodation, planted and established large vegetable beds and an orchard, put in large polytunnels, created a reed bed system for their greywater, and more – with everything set up to run from off-grid renewable energy. Almost all of what they have created has been completely done using locally sourced materials and using natural building methods such as strawbale, cob and local timber. In addition to this, they have a four year old daughter, hens, dog and cats – and two horses, one of which is a draughthorse that Steve is training to do the jobs that a tractor would do.

In this show, recorded on the 29th November 2016, I talked with Steve about some their off-grid ecobuilding achievements here at Lackan Cottage Farm.

To listen to this programme about Eco-building and Off Grid Energy Generation please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=7bc0d608-e815-4dc3-b74c-f846782a7448

To listen to other Eco Living in Action radio shows on the Otago Access Radio Website go to http://www.accessradio.org/ProgrammePage.aspx?PID=d6c5fa93-1644-4811-acef-71386373b70a

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 1st December 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

Steve Golemboski-Byrne, eco-builder and co-owner or Lackan Cottage Farm

Steve Golemboski-Byrne, eco-builder and co-owner or Lackan Cottage Farm

The Classroom - a learning and community space where permaculture workshops have been held.

The Classroom – a beautiful learning and community space where permaculture workshops have been held. Heated with a rocket mass heater that burns dry slender branches with great efficiency.

The Mass Rocket Heater - wood is very efficiently burned within a double chambered drum, to heat a long earthen seat re-radiating heat into the room.

The Rocket Mass Heater – wood is very efficiently burned within a double chambered drum, to heat a long earthen seat re-radiating heat into the room (and bottoms!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

Green roof on the Classroom. The roof is insulated with strawbales to make a square round house!

Green roof on the Classroom. The roof is insulated with strawbales to make a square round house!

This is a wattle fence - quick to make and a great use of local resources.

This is a wattle fence – quick to make and a great use of local resources.

 

 

Interior of the Off-Grid Holiday accommodation. The internal ambience of the accommodation is created using the principles of Human Centred Design

Interior of the Off-Grid Holiday accommodation. The internal ambience of the accommodation is created using the principles of Human Centred Design

Photovoltaics provide power for electricity. These panels were found discarded by a church who had upgraded theirs. All they needed was a good clean!

Photovoltaic panels provide power for electricity use. These panels were found discarded by a church who had upgraded theirs. All they needed was a good clean to work well!

This draughthorse was very neglected and in poor condition. With Steve's care and equine expertise, he has brought it back to excellent health and is training it to be his 'farm tractor'.

When Steve found him, this draughthorse (Rain) was neglected and in poor condition. With Steve’s care and equine expertise, he has brought him back to excellent health and is training him to be his ‘farm tractor’.

 

Arcosanti – an architecturally unique eco-community in Arizona

Arcosanti (in Arizona, US) is an eco community, an educational facility, a visitor desitination and most importantly a model for sustainable city development. It is based on the unique and inspirational architectural work of Paolo Soleri’s theory of compact city design. In part his work was inspired by a desire to avoid the urban sprawl he saw happening in cities like nearby Phoenix.

I am interested in eco communities, as well as places where people can come to be inspired by examples of sustainable building design. On the 1st of May 2016, I carpooled with friends to Arcosanti in Arizona to see its architecture as well as meet some of its residents. I spoke with Laura Banks who is both resident and staff there. Laura and I chatted about some of the unique qualities of Arcosanti such as its multiple uses of space and passive solar heating/cooling design.

To listen to this programme about Arcosanti please click on http://www.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=272f0a34-a8de-451d-86bf-169126829ff0

For more information –

This show was originally broadcast on the 19th May 2016 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM and is sponsored by Sustainable Dunedin City.

20160501_140947

Laura Burns checks out one of the clay bells the community makes in the outdoor bell making workshop

Laura Burns checks out one of the clay bells the community makes in the outdoor bell making workshop

A staircase and roof combined

A staircase and roof combined

 

 

 

 

 

 

Personal accommodations are close to work areas, and inset into the earth to provide perfect living temperatures without external need for heating or cooling

Personal accommodations are close to work areas, and inset into the earth to provide livable temperatures without external need for heating or cooling

SHOW HOST Maureen Howard is a Sustainability Educator and was a Sustainable Living Facilitator with the Dunedin City Council from 2007-2015. During the period this show was recorded, she was travelling from Dunedin to Northern Ireland – using low-carbon alternatives, that have included freighter, bus and hitching (and no flying so far). Each week, she hosts a radio show with a resident of Dunedin (via Skype), or with a resident she meets on her travels.

Natural Earthbuilding – with Ben Nicholls

I really like the idea of building with earth – it’s natural, low-enbodied energy, local and fully recyclable. For most of us, building a new home is not a practical option. However we can still do projects and retrofits to our homes that involve earth.

In this programme, I chat with Ben Nicholls who has a strong interest in earth building and has completed several projects from earthen floor to pizza ovens. Ben has a background in engineering and has completed a number of household earthbuilding projects such as making a earthen floor and constructing pizza ovens.

To listen to this programme about Natural Earthbuilding please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=4dd7c8b4-7c21-4cbc-b5c0-446f66a8fcba

For more information on earthbuilding in New Zealand go to EBANZ at http://www.earthbuilding.org.nz

This programme was originally broadcast on  the  6th November 2014 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is supported by the Dunedin City Council.

Ben Nicholls, advocate for natural earthbuilding

Ben Nicholls, advocate for natural earthbuilding

Passivhaus (Passive House) building – with Tim Ross

Here in Dunedin, many families struggle during the winter with cold damp houses. In the last few years thanks to central and local government initiatives we are improving our housing stock with subsidies and rates offsetting for insulation and clean heating installations. This is all to the good!

However overseas especially in Germany and Austria, there is a movement in housing design that takes warm energy efficient housing to a whole new level where houses are capable of maintaining warm stable indoor temperatures down into the minus figures with little extra heating required.

Its called Passivhaus. High energy performance standards are achieved using a combination of super insulation, passive solar design, draught proofing and heat recovery ventilation systems.

Here in NZ the Passivhaus concept is still fairly new and lately seems to be catching on. We have some Passivhaus buildings in New Zealand, and here in Dunedin there are now houses built that incorporate some of the features of Passivhaus.

For this programme, Tim Ross joined me in the studio to chat about Passivhaus design.

Tim has a passion for low energy housing. He is a Registered Architect and a Certified Passivhaus Designer. He leads an architectural practice called Architype Ltd. The practice has expertise in domestic renovations, new houses and community architecture as well as significant experience with institutional and commercial clients both in New Zealand and overseas. With Tim’s expertise in passivhaus design, his business is able to specialize in in low energy housing design.

To find out more about

To listen to the programme Passivhaus Design please click on http://new.accessradio.org/Player.aspx?eid=6b8a9ed0-8600-4257-9079-9c22e1888ac2

This programme was originally broadcast on  the 19th February 2015 with the help of Otago Access Radio 105.4FM. Eco Living in Action is hosted by Maureen Howard and is supported by the Dunedin City Council. To view other programmes go to http://www.ecolivinginactiondunedin.wordpress.com

Tim joined me in the Otago Access Radio studio.

Tim joined me in the Otago Access Radio studio.