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We need self-sustaining "green" communities like this everywhere

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posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 03:41 PM
With natural resources dwindling and home energy costs skyrocketing with no end in sight, why aren't more developers building self-sustaining green communities? And not just in deserts.

Consider the perfect green community. What would you add to make it even more resourceful?

With the Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) auction of a 1,600-acre federal tract some 15 miles northwest of downtown Las Vegas scheduled for November 2004, the city began work on the site's master plan, which will require the winning bidder to keep up to half of the future Kyle Canyon Gateway development as open space, put housing, schools, parks and jobs within walking distance, and provide alternative energy for homes and vehicles.

Las Vegas Drafting ''Sustainable Community'' Master Plan for Northwest Development Site

Such a community would consist of well-constructed homes, using state of the art insulating panels known as SIP (styrofoam insulation panels), along with triple-paned windows and skylights, that would make these homes virtually airtight to outside elements.

Each home would be properly positioned on its lot to make the most of the available sunlight during colder seasons. Fast growing lush trees and foilage would be planted on the south and southwest facing sides to protect the home from sunlight in the warmer months, but would lose their leaves during the colder months allowing the sunlight to shine in.

For example: Passive solar custom home designs and floor plans

A Sunlight home is a wonderfully comfortable, highly energy efficient home with abundant day lighting, custom designed in direct response to your personal design needs, your aesthetic tastes, your building site and its solar orientation and your building budget.

These homes would also have gray water recovery systems that would reduce water waste to virtually nil.

The details: Basically what the IPC is now saying is that water coming from bathtubs, showers, lavatories (read sinks), and clothes washers are no longer required to discharge into the sewer main. This gray water is now considered collectable for the use of flushing toilets, (and subsurface landscape irrigation) if the proper procedure is followed.

This community would be self-sustaining, sharing a central energy source, such as solar and wind powered plants.

These homes cost roughly half again as much to build, but those costs would be returned to the owners in the form of huge savings on home energy costs.

I'd buy or build one. With all the technological advances in alternative energies and green construction, why aren't more developers building entire master-planned self-sustaining green communities?

The time is now. Isn't it?

Continued on 2nd post.......

edit title

[edit on 2/2/08 by kattraxx]

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 03:45 PM
I heard there was one in the United States somewhere. A technical mind and a business mind came together and made it possible.

Apparently if you have a car that runs on bio fuel you can stop by this community and have it filled for free if you are passing through.

I heard an interview regarding this a couple years ago so I apologize the details are few.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 03:54 PM
On the cost concerns:

Many developers fear that following a green agenda will delay project schedules and raise costs....The reality, however, is that well-executed green development projects…perform extremely well financially.

A pioneer in restorative development, Rocky Mountain Institute is working with communities and businesses, finding practical solutions through integrated design, whole-system thinking, green design, and Natural Capitalism — ways to strengthen the community and build economic value while protecting and restoring the environment.

Edit to repair a bad link.

I don't see any drawbacks, so I'm looking forward to the day that a self-sustaining "green" community comes to an area near me. One thing is certain, once these become the norm, our poorly constructed energy-deficient tract homes will probably not be worth much by comparison.

What else would you add to this green community?

Xeriscape landscaping, for example.
How about a community garden as well and a co-op market.

[edit on 2/2/08 by kattraxx]

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 06:49 PM
Thre are a lot of this type of thing actually. My favorite example is from the late 70's early 80's called Gaviotas, Alan Weissman wrote a book about it by that name.


Link 2 Wiki

There are plenty of other examples as well.

Village Homes

List of 400 Ecovillages

Edit: I just notice the page showing them does not show up, you have to hit "Ecovillage Directory" on the left hand side and them perform a search with all the fields blank.

Ian McHarg's Woodlands

That is a just the first few links off the top of my head. My point is that there is a huge precedent for this type of thing, you simply do not hear about it because it is not main stream.

[edit on 2-2-2008 by Animal]

[edit on 2-2-2008 by Animal]

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 07:13 PM
reply to post by Animal

Thanks for links, Animal. I guess what I mean is why aren't developers here in the U.S. building self-sustaining green communities that make use of all of the above-mentioned green ideas, not just some of them. Let's put it all together and create the perfect green community.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 07:20 PM
reply to post by kattraxx

I'd say there are many reasons, but mainly as it goes against the 'status quo.'

Most do not want to be different or 'cutting edge' and being ecologically responsible is certainly way out there for most folks.

There is an economic issue as well (purchasing 'green' products can be more expensive), the social component (being different), finding like minded individuals is not the easiest thing in the world, and I'm sure there's other reasons.

I for one plan on starting an 'eco-village' of sorts after I graduate and purchase a large swaft of land south of the border...I'll let you know where and when

The whole eco-business plan is in motion as we speak and I should have a corporation opened this coming year or two.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 07:23 PM
reply to post by kattraxx

It is all about cost and benefits. Developers see building green as a burden. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Link design is on the rise but one of the most commonly made complaints is that it causes projects to be overly time and cost consumptive.

Because of this the majority of developments that are green tend to be in the realm of the "Ecovillage" where industrious citizens band together to make the community themselves. Village Homes in Davis is an example of this, so are the 400 Ecovillages that you can look at (both examples in my first post).

You are absolutely right though, the time IS now. The presence of LEED and the currently under development SSI (Sustainable Site Initiative) link are examples of the growing consensus of this fact int he design and development fields.

Still for such major changes to take place it is the responsibility of WE THE PEOPLE to make it happen. Developers, policy makers, economists, and the like are not going to do this for us. Change is viewed by many as costly and a pain.

Thanks for bringing this topic up here, it is really important for us to think positive about these issues rather than merely dwelling on the negatives.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:07 PM
Number one reason humanity in general is not allowed to self-sustain with their own crops or utilize ecological technology to feed themself :

If we had control of our own food resources we could not be controlled or whiped out. All it takes for us to be completely controlled is for our food source to be cut off (local grocery stores etc.) When this happens a huge percentage of the population can die of starvation, or be herded into specific areas like cattle.

If technology and education were aimed at keeping every person fed, 'green communities' would be everywhere
too bad. That would mean a free humanity.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:17 PM
reply to post by NewWorldOver

I must say I have often thought the same thing on this topic, but the theme of this thread goes beyond food. Also, this control over food is a new thing and a thing that I personally believe will come undone sooner than most would think. Industrialized agriculture is younger than the oldest living person for sure, I would say about 80 years give or take a few.

It will come undone because it is unsustainable and highly defendant on oil. Oil for power, for fertilizers, for pesticides, etc...

Over all, I think you make a good point as well. I have herd sustainable technologies called "democratizing technology" (I believe it was Jeremy Rifkin who I read saying it link to his site) because it puts power in the hands of the citizen taking it away from the elite. Still I think these technologies will continue to become more mainstream as well. There is just no way to limit peoples access to the knowledge and our ability to survive as species will depend on them.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:19 PM
I would suggest community meditation and Martial arts training. Also to allow the children to raise the children more or less. Adults carry far too much deeply ingrained baggage. Also a wholeistic approach to education, to create a new man of sorts , one that would have the benefit of the best of technology yet have the wisdom to know how to use it. Also green homes are fine and should be available to everyone, all builders should be given tax breaks to build this way whether it is in a rural or urban area. And finally, each person should be respected for their individuality not their personality. In other words each person can be respected for being unique, individual, let each bring to the community the best that they have to offer. The Scientist is just as important as the poet or the Doctor as the artist. No body is to be inferior nor superior.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:21 PM
reply to post by kattraxx

its simple why we dont.

1. its not a perfect world outh there
2. i dont want to live that way. i love nature, as stated in several of past posts of mine but not that much

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:28 PM
reply to post by DaleGribble

I don't think anyone said it was a perfect world.

The world can be however you make it.

If you find a group of individuals who share the same principles, why not skip town and start a new community?

Its the next logical step in community building. We can decide to live in irrational cities that are not planned on the human scale, or we can start designing new places to live that do not hurt our environment.

Its really a choice, and a conscious one at that.

If you love nature, wouldn't you want to see it continue untouched by humans?

We can continue to pollute, cut down trees, and raze the soil for our croplands...

Or we can actually take responsibility for our past errors and do something about it.

It seems you've already made your decision.

Permaculture is a land ethic that allows humans to work with nature rather than against it (the conventional agricultural way).

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:30 PM
reply to post by kattraxx

Its not profitable enough to use 'green' building materials. It is much easier for a contractor to use conventional building methods. The infrastructure is already built for a certain way of life and going against the grain is always more difficult than going with it (in this case, society is the 'grain' however insane that may be).

Its about money...and lack of awareness.

posted on Feb, 2 2008 @ 08:48 PM

Originally posted by DaleGribble
reply to post by kattraxx

its simple why we dont.

1. its not a perfect world outh there
2. i dont want to live that way. i love nature, as stated in several of past posts of mine but not that much

I am curious Dale what it is you mean. I don't ask to demean you at all, as a landscape architect who is interested in sustainable development I genuinely would like to know where you are coming from?

It is interesting to me and this is why: Nothing, as far as I have read, has made any inference to "returning to nature". The topics covered, again as far as I have read, discuss the integration of alternative technologies into everyday life.

What would be so bad about a house made out of a new material, be it what the OP referenced or some other material? What would be awkward about alternative energy?

Your comment is really striking to me because everything I have read in this post so far has seemed rather mundane (to me) and I am intrigued to know what it is that has turned you off. Again, I am in no way trying to flame you, I welcome your opinion and if you would be willing to share it, it would be a service to me.

posted on Feb, 3 2008 @ 11:44 AM

Originally posted by biggie smalls
reply to post by kattraxx

Its not profitable enough to use 'green' building materials. It is much easier for a contractor to use conventional building methods. The infrastructure is already built for a certain way of life and going against the grain is always more difficult than going with it (in this case, society is the 'grain' however insane that may be).

Its about money...and lack of awareness.

Yes, exactly... mostly about a lack of awareness, because what I found was that the belief that it will cost too much and take too long is actually a misconception. (See continued OP on 2nd post for this link.) Builders do make a good profit after all. It's a myth.

I'm sitting in a "new-construction" home in the Sierra mountains and honestly, trying to heat this place is like trying to heat a tent! It's just ridiculous in this day and age to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for these poorly constructed homes. The alleged insulation is a joke and we have done all we can to improve it, short of tearing down the walls.

My guess is, one winter very soon, people are going to look at their $300 heating bill and think, there just has to be a better way. And there is. Hopefully people will get informed and realize the better way has been available all along and demand these green homes.

As Animal pointed out, these ideas are "mundane", to him, in the sense that they are nothing all that new. This tech has been out there-- it's just not being utilized.

I will have one of these homes myself, if I have to build it myself. If I developed property-- it's the only kind of development I would pursue. Green.

edit to replace Las Vegas Draft... link on OP.

(loam, thanx for your applause; I appreciate your support)

[edit on 2/3/08 by kattraxx]

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