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Anyone have Solviva by Anna Edey?  RSS feed

 
Jami McBride
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I've read mixed reviews on it, and cannot seem to find anyone who's tried her methods.
Just a lot of people saying how great what she's written sounds (no practical applications).

So anyone have her book, try her methods.... or have links to third party discussions on what she is promoting?

Thanks!

~Jami
 
Jennifer Smith
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Your post is the first I have heard...I will do an internet search and see what you are talking about, I hope.
 
Jami McBride
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Thank you....

You can read 'parts' of her book here http://www.solviva.com/ and it all sounds wonderful and much to good to be true....

Then read the book reviews at Amazon like this one:
Solviva-How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre & Peace On Earth. This
is a strange book! A How-To book it is not. It is a hodge podge of
thoughts, green speak, observations, the authors past 20 years of
life, some interesting applications of solar structures, much green
speak, her experience with a greenhouse and the business it generated,
more green speak, ...full-color pictures of plants, animals, insects,
artwork, green speak, and lastly green speak. Whether written this way
on purpose or not it is confusing. It is a very disjointed book; more
about a persons philosophy of life than about a greenhouse that was
heated and cooled by strictly solar methods.

She makes a claim that $500,000 is possible
with the 10,000 sq. ft. greenhouse and about an acre of land. She
never made that much on her operation and extrapolates from her own
experiences that it is possible.


And somewhere else it tells how she rented Solviva to the current workers and they couldn't keep it working as she did.  She blames this on the workers wanting time off to ski and such.  Something smells fishy about all of this....

Basically she doesn't 'give anything away' in her book so the reader cannot apply her methods and learn.  She makes claims not backed up by science or anyone else from what I can find so far.

Sooooo this made me wonder if anyone around the forum had the book or an opinion on Anna's claims?

If there is some truth/wisdom in Anna's methods I'd like to see some details on it - if you know what I mean.

Also, I haven't been able to find DIY How-To for building a completely natural heated and cooled house, but I have found builders showcasing their houses on the Net.  And like Anna's book they tell you about it without details so no one could re-produce it - Arrrrgggg!

Anyone know of this type of construction info?

Soap-Box:
Personal I just hate this mentality of greed!  I know they (the designers) could give everything they know away for free and still there would be enough people with money who do not do for themselves who would hire them to build/consult thereby making them RICH!

Look at Joe Jenkins (Humanure Handbook) the entire book is free on his website and has been for YEARS.  I read most of it there, and THEN ordered my own copy!

Boy I could go on and on (steam leaking from ears), but I will just scowl and storm off in a huff!
 
Jennifer Smith
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Maybe if we came up with the just over 2 grand and rented the place for a week we could learn about it. 

I agree with you that many people who claim to want to help save the future of the world seem to want more to line their own pockets first. 

I just want to learn how to improve life and do less damage to the world. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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CurrentWave wrote:Anyone know of this type of construction info?


I know a little bit.  I'm very, very strong on the fundamentals, but have very little practical experience.  To paraphrase an old saying, with my academic achievements and two dollars, you could buy a cup of coffee!

I've recently discovered Appropedia, which has a section on non-industrial construction.  It seems to have an attitude that would produce less steam from your ears, and mine...

http://www.appropedia.org/Category:Construction_and_materials
 
Jami McBride
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I've recently discovered Appropedia, which has a section on non-industrial construction.  It seems to have an attitude that would produce less steem from your ears, and mine...


Great info, and just what I was looking for.  I'm reading it over now -
------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Hey Paul, I really think you should have a feature like Appropedia to go along with this forum.  Some place where wisdom, info and knowledgeable articles, written by everyone, can sit like a library. 

When someone posts something really good in the forum it eventually grows old and moves into the distant background.  Unless you have the right key word you don't know how to search for it.

Something a lot like your articles, but with contributions from others.

~Jami
 
paul wheaton
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(Jami, take it up in the "tinkering" forum and I'll see what I can do)



 
Robert Ray
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It's an interesting book but not a "how to book".  More a philosophical book on how one should live rather than how to accomplish it. I was dissapointed in the book.  Get it from the library before you buy it.
 
Nicholas Covey
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I have the book and while it's got lots of great "ideas" and even case studies, it's very short on details and how-to. I think I can gather a lot of what the author gets at subjectively, but even the title is misleading.

Here are a few points of the book that bothered me.

1. She never scaled the model she had to even 1/10th of an acre, so an acre is an unfathomable goal for 1 person or even 1 family to accomodate and find a market for gourmet greens.

2. She was a test case for (I believe) Dow Corning for an experimental polymer greenhouse panel, meaning that she didn't pay for much but the installation. In the construction of a greenhouse of that scale that could be the difference between finacial feasibility and non feasibility.

3. While her book is filled with cute anecdotes and stories, they contain very few hard "facts." This writing style reminds me of the New Alchemist articles from before I was born which were written in such a manner that they appear to make something very feasible if not profitable, yet leave out specifics. An example is the aquaponic experiments netted "many pounds of fish," yet failed to say how many there were, how much growth was recorded in each fish, etc, etc.

4. She wants to charge for the details (IE plans for her various designs)

5. Her book makes her look somewhere between a capitalist (not necessarily bad) and an idealist. I say that because you can't be sure if she doesn't actually fully understand the concepts and has gotten lucky, or is just trying to squeeze a few dollars out of unsuspecting idealists. I hope that she's genuine in her understanding and desire to propagate her ideas, and simply isn't that good at marketing. I don't blame her for not sharing her ideas for free, but if you're going to write a book about something, at least include the details in that book, instead of stringing everyone along like a cult leader.

6. Martha's vinyard is where she built her innovative greenhouse. I did a bit of reading, and can't find specifics of how many sunny days to cloudy days are typical for that location, but as a whole the mainland near Martha's Vinyard typically has more sunny days than, say, the Pacific Northwest (especially around seattle). My point is, this model likely wouldn't work everywhere.


Now, with all that, I generally did like the book. I think it tells a good story. I think it's inspiring, and made me do some brainstorming directly afterwards. I think she has good ideas. But DO NOT look at this book as a how-to. If you do you will be sorely dissappointed.
 
Jami McBride
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What a wonderfully detailed reply - My left brain loves it!

I'm glad you pointed out that her results were based on her climate, this is easy to forget sometimes.

All the replies here have been so helpful - causing me to search around in a different way than I was.  This has led me to find a site/eBook that I think will help me with the details of the How-To.

You can view Zero Energy Designs here  http://zeroenergydesign.com/ 
Now, like it's been pointed out to me already, there is no Zero-Energy concept really.  However - the premise is as close as one might come and so worth our efforts to achieve.

My thanks to everyone,

~Jami
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Here's a how-to (actually, mostly a scientific paper, but they do give dimensions and suppliers...) on a compost-heated greenhouse from Cape Cod.

http://nature.my.cape.com/greencenter/pdf/compost.pdf
 
Jami McBride
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Cool ~ Thanks Joel
 
rose macaskie
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i have read two thirds of ithe article Joel Hollingsworth gives, I don't really like reading slightly complicated papers, but i love knowing the information they give. THis paper you have posted on greenhouses that are heated by compost that also increases the carbondioxide availiable to the plants so increasing their growth has lots of really interesting things in it. 
    I had heard that plants take up more carbon dioxide if there is more around so that the jungle in brazil really takes up an awfull lot of carbon dioxide but this article underlines how much plants take up and how they just grow more if given more carbon dioxide and so the importance of having more plants as we have a really big carbon dioxide problem.
        I used to like all the other reasons for permaculture type things but at this moment in history, the stopping global warming ideas grab me so hard as to erase the importance of other ideas. agri rose macaskie
 
                        
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The Cape Cod  link won't work for me.

Does anyone know anything about the Citrus in the Snow guy? Someone else is selling his book now, but their listed phone number is disconnected. Clearly he is for real, there is a video on You Tube showing a small clip of a bunch of people IN the greenhouse being shown the citrus trees. There are a couple of comments that I WISH they had dealt with better; the clip is short and not informative. It would seem as though what he did was distantly related to what the ZED people do, but I have heard that he has tried three different systems which is troubling..if the first was so successful why try others?

I am trying to work out the best way to put a small commercial greenhouse (with living quarters on the east end)  together which would be economically feasible in our very long cold winters here. It's really hard to find much info about geo air rather than the geothermal systems and those are WAY too expensive. The available space does not allow for the living quarters on the north side if the greenhouse is to be of any size beyond a hobby one, which is not the point.
 
Jami McBride
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Thanks Joel, that link worked.   

Their set up would be problematical for me as I don't have a reliable constant source of compostable material.  Also,  I really am not up to dealing with toms and tons of compost every week in any case, transporting raw material and loading it into bins and so forth. To say nothing of taking the finished stuff OUT.  I'm looking for something less physically strenuous.  I'm on my own here so need to consider what is reasonable for me to take on and shovelling  s**t for 5 hours a week isn't it. 

The ZED guys talk about having pools and such in their sunspace and what occured to me today was to wonder what would the result be if a person did a sort of mini swimming pool which could be heated with a rocket heater in the back of the greenhouse.  Someone posted a video on another thread that showed a system which was giving hot water in 6 minutes after starting up, so it shouldn't be too difficult to run that hot water in pipes along the base of the pool to heat it if needed?

I know that the ZED guys were intending the pool to be absorbing the heat from teh sun  but the question of light comes up so I'd rather use the area with the most light for the plants and tuck the pool area further back..don't see any reason why it should make that much difference in that it would still be a big heat sink however the heat got into it. Anyway..

What would the problems be in running the water through an aquaponics system, with the pool sitting (in the system, not literally) between the veggie trays and the fish? The plants would clean the fish goop so the water would be clean when it hit the pool, and since there wouldn't be any kids using the pool there wouldn't be anything weird  going into the water before it gets back to the fish. If it was being circulated constantly and I was the only one using it, surely there would be no need for chlorine and such stuff?

I have arthritis and having access to even a teeny tiny swimming pool would be absolute bliss. Any merit to the idea?

Edit:just  noticed that Dale has started a thread about this very thing! He has a warmer climate than I do..should I move this to his thread? ( Don't  know how to do that actually)
 
rose macaskie
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Pam you have arthritis so cant dig but i have problems digging without arthritis and want to say, for others who dont have experience digging that i think people who do go at it slowly because though you can go at it fast you cant keep up fast for long in such a heavy job. It is better to work for a two hour stretch slowly than to go at it hammer and tongs and then give up you are so exhausted. We dont normally run around instead of walking  or swim as fast as we can, digging is  the same sort of activity, one we cant usually handle unless we take it slowly and for me it is hard to do this in an activity that is new to me. 
    If you have money enough to build a small pool build it. If you line it with black tiles it will be harder to see if its clean or not but it will get warmer in the sun than it would with pale ones. Black absorbs all the lights rays while light colours reflect a lot of them. 
     The sun does not heat water it heats objects in the water that then heat the water, the side of the po9ol maynot sem an object in the water but the sun will heat the sides of the pool and they will heat the water. Maybe if you had metal tiles that wereinsulted on the side furthest from the sun and so not passing heat into the ground, or back into the air the sun would heat the pool faster than if you had tiled edges to but metal would rust. A big enameld bath tub type pool maybe.
    A rocket heater could heat a pool too. Maybe Paul Wheaton and his crew of bicycling constructors could get it made for you and then they could patent a design for rocket heated pools for the arthritic.
      If even a tiny pool woud do then get one of those big plastic pools and a rocket stove to heat the water you fill it with.
      Do not fill it with water from you hydroponics system the plants may clean the fish doo in the water enough for you to recycle it to the fish or use it on the garden but i dont imagine anyone said that the plants turn it intodrinking water, and it seems to me that it would be better to have drinking water in a pool.
        If you have a coil of black water hose lying in the sun the sun will heat the water in the hose for you and you could run this into the pool. How much space do you have for coiled hoses lying on the ground? Black hoses are cheaper than stoves. Dan Rojas has done a video of this method for heating your water that you can see on youtube, he puts his hose on top of the roof he put up to shade his car, maybe you could cover the roof of your house or hydroponics place with hose and have absolutely masses of hot water for a pool, this would confine you to midday bathing in winter but still better than nothing i suppose.
the idea of a black coil is none you find in various you tuvbe videao a usefull one o¡is dan rojas's video which helps you think how to get the piping onto the roof of your car port as well as giving an airing to the idea of using hose to heat water with. Dan Rojas's videos are a hot house of ideas about clean energy.
     Maybe some one could design a plastic bag that you could run water through that would be easier to lay on rooves to heat  in the sun, sort of water filled lilos and by making them get some jobs for europeans and americans These lilos would be easier to lay on roofs than a lot of plastic tubing is. How many million people are there in America, each one buying the special plastic bags to heat water with would be millions in cash for the firm that made it. agri rose macaskie.
 
Eliza Keeley
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I have both Solviva and her follow up book "Green Light at the End of the Tunnel". I have read nearly all of Solviva, and all of Green Light. The first book has about 40 pages of glossy color photos and drawings with notes, whereas Green Light has all glossy color pages throughout. Many of the photos and captions are exactly the same, but Green Light has more, especially depicting construction phases and designs.

I have been focused on the wastewater management sections, specifically the designs and effectiveness of brown and green biofilter systems. If you want to build your own, Green Light is much more helpful than Solviva. It is not quite written in a how-to format, but you can derive the information you need by reading (and rereading the sections) and taking notes of the critical pieces of information. She has diagrams of the different systems, with most details, many of the numbers are missing. You can find most of the numbers throughout the pages of text, and some will need to be adjusted for your site. Also, the flush composting system diagram shows sump pumps, and a gravity feed alternative is not pictured. One would have to do outside research to determine appropriate elevation head and slope for such systems.

On the one hand, I appreciate the commentary about her struggles with permitting. It could be useful moving forward in the pursuit of permits. However it is so intertwined throughout the chapters with the designs, I find that it distracts from the meat-and-potatoes that would help someone actually build these systems. I would find the content of each more helpful if it were fully separated in different chapters. I was also a little disappointed to find that a decent amount of text was copied from Solviva, so reading both books feels redundant. There are indeed more diagrams, charts of lab results and some new information scattered throughout Green light. Solviva was an easier read cover-to-cover and has more details about other topics. When trying to create my own site specific designs I keep both books open on the table for cross referencing. I highlighted and wrote notes in the margins of Solviva and paired that with the diagrams in Green light to get a more comprehensive picture.

Overall, I find that both books provide an overview of the many aspects of sustainability, with numbers and details interjected. Green Light provides more specific designs, but they fall a bit short of being directly applicable without scouring the text for details. The editing of Green Light could have been more thorough, to eliminate redundancies with Solviva, and some typos. Maybe the redundancy was intentional for emphasis? She does state that some text has been adapted from Solviva. One funny quark, the title on the spine of my copy is upside down, but that could have been a publisher error. Not a big deal but it does look odd on my bookshelf. Greenlight has some helpful use of text formatting and colors to emphasize key information, but I find myself flipping back and forth through pages to find what I want.

I am very pleased to own both books, and I reference them frequently. If you are looking to build one of her greenhouse or wastewater management designs, you could probably get by with Green Light and rely on other sources for any missing details. If you want an inspiration overview of how to live sustainably, Solviva is the way to go.


All that being said, I have enormous respect for all the work Anna Edey put into her designs, experiments, permitting attempts and documentation in the form of these books and her website. These are two of my favorite guides in my own permaculture homesteading.

I would love to hear about the successes and struggles of any applications of her designs, especially the flush-toilet biofiltration systems (brown and green filters).
 
Jeremy Hammer
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I just bought the "Citrus in the Snow" pdf and thought I'd share my experiences since I originally searched to find others' thoughts before I bought it and found nothing helpful.

While it does have some good information, this quote from the report best summarizes the product:

"The report was never meant to be greenhouse 'construction plans', but a documentation of his efforts overall for the past 35 years."

There is a lot of rambling and repetition of content. It is 150 pages long, but 64 pages of it are full page pictures of flowers and plants and some interior shots of his home which, while pretty, are not very helpful.

I have no doubt the author has a wealth of experience available to share, and I'm still inclined to believe his principles would work, but this particular document is 140 pages of fluff and 10 solid pages of helpful info. I do not feel I got $24 of value from it, but others may. Perhaps some of their other "for sale" publications are better.

Pam Hatfield wrote:The Cape Cod  link won't work for me.

Does anyone know anything about the Citrus in the Snow guy? Someone else is selling his book now, but their listed phone number is disconnected. Clearly he is for real, there is a video on You Tube showing a small clip of a bunch of people IN the greenhouse being shown the citrus trees. There are a couple of comments that I WISH they had dealt with better; the clip is short and not informative. It would seem as though what he did was distantly related to what the ZED people do, but I have heard that he has tried three different systems which is troubling..if the first was so successful why try others?

I am trying to work out the best way to put a small commercial greenhouse (with living quarters on the east end)  together which would be economically feasible in our very long cold winters here. It's really hard to find much info about geo air rather than the geothermal systems and those are WAY too expensive. The available space does not allow for the living quarters on the north side if the greenhouse is to be of any size beyond a hobby one, which is not the point.
 
jacob Collens
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Thanks for the Citrus in the Snow review Jeremy!
Just found the citrus site myself, looks like there is an updated 2016 version with more relevant information? http://www.citrusinthesnow.com/order.html
Was your review based on the original or updated 2016 version?

He has another site http://greenhouseinthesnow.com/
Where he 'will be' selling a physical copy of plans that go into more detail on how to construct and operate a greenhouse..... Looks like it's dated 2013.... anyone able to provide a review on this information?

relevant excerpt from greenhouseinthesnow.com
In the near future we will have plans,instructions, photos and CDs of the construction, fabrication and use of the units including our experiences with many types of plants and recommendations for growing and marketing.  This information will be much more detailed and current than the "citrus in the snow' report that is online now. citrusinthesnow site is an information report more or less for people interested in what we do.The new information will be very detailed and oriented towards serious greenhouse construction and the growing system It will include text instructions but also will include many photos of the actual construction of the newest unit at Alliance Nebraska high school, from start to finish. The package sells for $49 while the citrusinthesnow is $24.99. I will also design units using the ideas we have used and some that will help make our design even more efficient.  We are very proud of this greenhouse and it's performance as it incorporates the fixes from 35 years of trial and error. The new information will only be sold in hard copy, not downloads due to pirating experiences we have had in the past.

Anyone able to cleave this off and start a Citrus in the Snow specific thread?
 
Todd Parr
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I have Citrus in the Snow.  Some discussion about it here:

Greenhouse

 
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https://permies.com/wiki/65386/paul-wheaton/digital-market/Video-PDC-ATC-hours-HD
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