Factor 4 and other stuff...
What is Factor 4 about? In a nut shell it's about doing more with less - reducing resource depletion without reducing the quality of life. If you do twice as much with half the resources you've achieved a factor 4 improvement. This book starts with fifty examples of factor 4 or better improvements which are achievable now and often at negative cost!. The book shows how laws and attitudes have to change to reward efficiency not penalize it as often the case at present. What can I say - get a copy and read it if you haven't already - also check out the Rocky Mountain Institute where much of this research is taking place.
'The greatest ecological challenge we face is the human mind-the values and beliefs that shape our perceptions and actions. There is a widespread recognition that climate change represents a major challenge, but many feel unable to do anything on a scale that will make a difference. . . Each of us in our work and lifestyle affects the globe in a tiny way. . . This book is a priceless guide to the ways we can maintain a high quality of life while saving energy, money and the biosphere.' DAVID SUZUKI
`Factor Four's case is compelling. It gives us not one, not two, but dozens of real-world projects that are saving money and reducing pollution simultaneously. For those who might suggest that addressing the Greenhouse Effect is too daunting a task, Factor Four is an essential read. It will transform the naysayer into the enthusiast and catapult each of us into action that will improve our work, our home, and our quality of life.' CATHY ZOI, SUSTAINABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY
`This book should make you spit with rage-at the mainstream engineers, scientists, economists and politicians who still stand between us and achievement of a genuinely sustainable future for all the Earth's people. As Factor Four so cogently demonstrates, most of the technological solutions to our problems are there for the taking right now. If only. . .' JONATHON PORRITT, FORUM FOR THE FUTURE
`Factor Four is choc-a-bloc with practical examples of technologies that can use the world's resources more efficiently. Its wealth of detail from around the world makes it essential reading for anybody who wants to understand the ways technology can be put to the service of the environment.' FRANCES CAIRNCROSS, THE ECONOMIST
Ok, the other stuff...
Co-housing - Kathryn
McCamant and Charles Durrett - HABIT/TEN SPEED PRESS
F 0 R E W0 R D
Housing, private and public, across the developed and developing world is everywhere pretty much the same, and pretty terrible. It seems set up to crowd together unrelated and hermetic nuclear families whose only link with each other is that they have been brought together by some mindless central casting to play bit parts in an incomprehensible urban drama. As much attention is devoted to ensuring privacy as money will allow, with no attention to providing for community, ever. The format is particularly inappropriate since the family unit apparently served-father who works, mother who takes care of the children (1.6 or 2.2 or however many the country supposedly averages) -seldom exists either among the extended families found in some parts of the world or in the variety of living arrangements found in the United States. Into all these unsuitable arrangements this book comes like a breath of fresh air. The authors look insightfully at places (it turns out there are some) where people have chosen to provide for community as well as privacy, where adults and children value each other, and remain interested in concerns beyond themselves. The authors have looked carefully at the physical arrangements of community housing and those settings that support new ways of living. Cohousing rings true-it is interesting, well balanced, and without hype. In short, this is a reasonable and even frequently fascinating account of a topic presently of small dimensions, but of enormous importance for the future of housing, and of us all.
Charles W. Moore, Architect
A Pattern language -
can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family;
you can use it to work with your neighbours to improve your town
and neighbourhood; you can use it to design an office, or a
workshop, or a public building. And you can use it to guide you in
the actual process of construction.
Introduction to Permaculture - Bill Mollison with
Reny Mia Slay - Tagari publications.
Again this book was not quite what I expected. It was largely about energy savings but the energy is human energy. By working with the land and climate, and by using some "common sense" a huge amount the work can be save - a resources as well. I was impressed to find a chapter on how cold air flows down hill slopes - something you don't normally read about but vitally important in minimizing heating costs.
is about designing human settlements. It is a philosophy and an
approach to land use which weaves together microclimate, annual
and perennial plants, animals, soils, water management, and human
needs into intricately connected, productive communities.
Also see my fictional work which also addresses some of these topics.
In house stuff.
and Out house stuff.
decades I've wondered how gas/kero fridges worked. How do you make
something cold by lighting a fire under it? And why not do this
with solar heat. A search of the web didn't give me the answers.
Together with my friend Dave
Keenan, (who did all of the library searching) I got some of
the answers. We're now doing some basic research to make a simple
demonstrator and maybe something larger. I'm sure the
multi-national fridge companies would quake in their boots if they
knew we where doing experiments in soft drink bottles in my
kitchen once a week!!! Today the kitchen tomorrow..... Well
actually we haven't had much in the way of cooling. This is
because my kitchen didn't come with an adequate vacuum pump. Last
week we cooked up a mercury manometer to check it's inadequacy
(see photo - which is of me fusing the glass tube shut).
Straw Bale Construction
Natural Insulation/straw clay
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