Building, Energy, and Land Use
A holistic approach to sustainable development begins with land use and community design. Rather than plopping buildings in areas that make construction easy, we want to work with the natural contours of land and look at how overall designs work. How do buildings relate to each other? To the forest? To the sunshine? Would neighbors like to see each other often, or have more privacy? Where will the community garden go?
These questions and others will be part of the organic development of the ecovillage. Your input as a community member will help shape the direction of the land.
This site will incorporate a number of summary articles and links to websites that relate to green building, natural building, permaculture, energy, etc. All of these models will assist in the design of the ecovillage.
The county requirements for the road, legal setback from property lines, and septic have superimposed certain parameters, but within those there is plenty of room for shaping the location of buildings, from personal homes to community shared spaces.
Road construction has begun! In order to fulfill the county’s requirements, 1,500 feet of road will provide access to the four parcels. While this is a dramatic impact on the forest, it’s helping to reduce the enormous overgrowth of trees and brush that have accumulated after close to 70 years of non-maintenance. Many forests have become fire hazards due to fire suppression and a lack of forest stewardship. As California witnessed in the summer of 2008, dry un-maintained forests are extremely dangerous.
My approach to the forest has been to first remove brush and small trees by hand. All of this material is being diverted to piles for future mulching and for construction; i.e., no waste! There will be a few small burn piles carefully managed in the forest through the rainy season, but overall the strategy is to work through the forest as sustainably as possible.Branscomb Road has a new bike and pedestrian path, thus making walks and bike rides to town easy and safe. This will greatly reduce our carbon footprint.
These summaries are the results of my research in appropriate technology solutions for basic systems such as energy and septic. Jumping points for your own research as well as guidelines.
Wood Burning Summary is a short, fact-filled celebration of wood as a renewable energy source in a forested area such as Laytonville. Contains comparisons of woodburning stoves, resources for information on air quality and efficiency, etc.