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Seth Pogue
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Sustainable Interdependant Living Community (SILC) is a planned model community in Western Montana or British Columbia that’s 90-100% energy independent.  Once constructed, it’s going to use next to no fossil fuel and the only greenhouse gas emissions will come from firewood.
    The idea is to build a working vision of what the future of community could be, if we do things right. Solar, wind, and/or and hydro-powered, SICL will feature a biodynamic permaculture garden and greenhouse, aquaculture pond, house 60 to 150 people, and last for centuries - all the while removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.

    SICL's residents will live in a half dozen superinsulated concrete domes (www.monolithic.com) which will surround the Community Center, a two-story, 90' diameter Dome. The Center will house:

Kitchen and Dining facilities                                            Library/Computer room

Waldorf School  and Daycare                                          Resource Management/Finance Office

Wellness Center: Osteopath/Reiki/Herbalist              Laundry

Janitorial/HVAC/Maintenance/Mechanical Shop      Recording Studio

Painting/Sculpture/Art/Dance studios                          Exercise/Martial arts studio

Root Cellar/Food Storage/Emergency Shelter            Meditation Hall

Performance Hall for Music, Dance, Theatre, Cinema, Lectures, and Conferences

Central Arboretum and Great Room

A few ideas in chrysalis: http://www.liveearth.siteproplus.com/pressrelease.html
 
James Koss
Posts: 74
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Any designs/plans/photos etcetera to share? Would love to know how and why it is designed at the moment.
 
Seth Pogue
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Hi Phuein

There are lots of plans. Here's a starting point; an interior sketch of a 70' diameter residence dome, 3 floors, 18 apartments, living room, kitchen, laundry, bathrooms.  Each person would have one 1-bedroom apartment.  So a couple would have two, adjoining.  A single parent would have one of the larger, 2 bedrooms apartments on the 3rd floor. Click the little blue link below that says 70' residence.doc -

And here's an interesting Michael Rice model for a spiral/fractal community center.
Filename: 70-residence.doc
File size: 1 megabytes
1st-level-Michael-Rice.jpg
[Thumbnail for 1st-level-Michael-Rice.jpg]
 
Seth Pogue
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Phuen

Here's a sketch of the community center surrounded by six residence domes, dotted with fruit trees interspersed with nitrogen-fixing trees.
Common-Grounds.doc
[Thumbnail for Common-Grounds.doc]
 
Matt Ferrall
Posts: 555
Location: Western WA,usda zone 6/7,80inches of rain,250feet elevation
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Im confused a bit.So after its built they will no longer replase the greenhouse plasitc or off grid batteries.My experience with life has found that things need to be replaced.Also Im confused when people use huge amounts of resources to invest in something only to distance themselves from the consumption AFTER they have consummed.Things break and fall apart to if it takes resources to make it,it will take resources to maintain.Perhaps a bit more honesty in advertising.
 
Seth Pogue
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Where did I say it will need absolutely no maintenance ever again?

Of course it does take resources to build. IMHO polyurethane foam (dome insulation) is the best use of petroleum on the planet, because the amount a person burns in their car in a week insulates the dome for centuries.  Hydrated lime (roman concrete) would be used, reducing energy consumed during its production process vs. portland cement.

Once the dome is built it uses 1/4 of the energy that a conventional structure of same internal area uses, and keeps saving for centuries. Finish it with rock or self-healing waterproof concrete (kryton additive) and it has very very low maintenance.

As to the greenhouse plastic, once permaculture perrenials are well established there will be far less need for greenhouse. If you had learned more about the design before calling me untruthful, you would know that windows called for are tempered glass/polycarbonate laminate, foam mounted, which should last for centuries, even through earthquakes. The few early-start annuals still required would be started on shelves placed in front of S. facing windows.

Battery plans call for a large pond upslope of community center that water is pumped into when system is generating more power than the system is using.  Microhydro in line with pond on bottom of property.

Energy forest should provide wood for heat virtually forever, or until next ice age etc.

Many more ideas too but I have a meeting and must continue later.

There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.  Since everybody knows this, it's not stated in my outline.

But it will need less maintenance than any town/city/house/community system  I'm aware of that's currently on the planet.  Please let me know if you find out about one that uses less.
 
Seth Pogue
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Mt.goat wrote:
Im confused a bit.So after its built they will no longer replase the greenhouse plasitc or off grid batteries? Things break and fall apart to if it takes resources to make it,it will take resources to maintain.


re: battery replacement - If there's not some kind of societal collapse by then, in 15 years when the batteries run out there could easily be some sort of replacement battery technology that lasts for a very  long time.. 
Good chance that by 50 years from now, home cold fusion reactors could be available, if there's not a corporate monopoly. Once cold fusion is here, whether home generated or grid - energy crisis could be a thing of the past.
 
James Koss
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Thanks for sharing Seth :+D Quite interesting house designs. I can't say much about the house design though, as I'm less into that, and was actually referring to designs of a model of such a community

You know, something in the manner of a bird's eye view of the entire community - not to the detail of each house inside - but rather with emphasis on the land sharing, and land uses. That's what I'm mostly investigating myself these days about, as it seems to me more crucial than the houses themselves, at least in the beginning of a community.
 
Mike Oehler
author
Posts: 60
Location: Bonners Ferry Idaho
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Ouch, permies.com has done it to me again. Here I am going to "intentional  communities" to tell folks that I am considering opening my 45 acres to other homesteaders, circling the wagons so to speak, to get ready for the inevitable collapse of technological civilization, (or the revolt of ma nature which might be what causes the inevitable collapse) and here I am tripped up by, of all things, a well meaning idealist  wearing a business suit who is planning to build a technological city in the country to turn the country into a city. To save the planet. (sigh)

Seth, I'm not even going to try to explain to you the wisdom I learned from a Canadian  Indian in a teepee at the Bear Tribe years ago when he asked "o you guys want to know why all of those hippy communes failed?" Or why the perhaps wisest man of the 20th Century, Gandhi, tried so hard to keep the people in their rural villages spinning and weaving by hand. I won't attempt at all to convince you to go underground with your structures -- I know you haven't read my books or seen my videos and think there would be no natural light, air, sunshine and views. I know you are not planning an earth-sheltered solar greenhouse or you would have planned all of your other structures earth sheltered too. I won't go into the reasons why almost everyone who experimented with domes in the '60s and '70s regretted it afterwards including, incidentally, Lloyd Kahn, the man who wrote the book. Instead I will congratulate you on your obvious energies and fundraising abilities. And i will lament that you are not putting them to constructive use.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
pollinator
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Location: Oakland, CA
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FWIW, nickel-iron batteries last decades even under heavy use, and are a 19th century technology.

They would be among my first choices if initial cost were less important than durability and extreme-long-term maintenance prospects.
 
                          
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I've researched nickel-iron batteries.  I even established a dialogue with a chinese supplier.  Those things cost as much if not more than NiMh batteries (which are in fact a descendant).  The reason being that nickel is fast on its way to becoming a precious metal.  For the money you could get a lot more energy density (and columbic efficiency) in lithium.

I don't see a role for those batteries unless you can somehow find some antiques on consignment, which people have done, both for nickel-iron and nickel-cadmium.  However, there is an aggressive recycling effort taking place so the number of nickel batteries in used circles is fast shrinking.

So as with most of these things, reality just doesn't live up to the hype.  The whole mythology of nickel-iron that keeps getting passed around with the story of the fire at Edison's factory obscures the more pedestrian reality that they aren't being used today for good reason.

 
                                      
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One thing that surfaces every time I've been approached to become involved in building this kind of technotopia, or to endorse one, are statements like, "when it's built it will look like," or "the residents will..."

For one thing, the initial cost is ginormous.  The embodied energy involved is ginormous.  The social problems unanticipated are ginormous. 

Reducing consumerism is a Permaculture Ethic.  Building small and creating surplus are important elements there.  Monolithic society builds monlithic structures which require monolithic amounts of energy in all forms just to hold them together, resulting in cold, uninhabitable stonehenges - monolithic and not livable.

My ancestors build homes out of stones by stacking them one by one.  Climate change and other factors caused them to stop that practice and to move to other places.  Their homes are still there after hundreds of years - empty and uninhabitted.  Concrete doesn't behave that way.  Never has. 

Put your hands into the earth.  Feel it.  Smell it.  Taste it.  That's what last hundreds of years, what you feel, smell and taste.  Should it fall down, it is easily built back up. 
 
C Shobe
Posts: 54
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Seth Pogue wrote:
Where did I say it will need absolutely no maintenance ever again?


It sounds to me like you're prioritizing low-maintenance over low-impact choices, which I don't understand.


Of course it does take resources to build. IMHO polyurethane foam (dome insulation) is the best use of petroleum on the planet, because the amount a person burns in their car in a week insulates the dome for centuries.  Hydrated lime (roman concrete) would be used, reducing energy consumed during its production process vs. portland cement.


Here you are saying "the best use" (an opinion) to describe "the most efficient use" (not sure if this is factual, but it may be).  But the following "because" bit is basically saying "this is good not because it is good, but because it is the lesser of two evils".  If you have such energy and resources and particularly people, why make such compromises at all?  Polyurethane has a lot of negative impacts - it takes eons to degrade and emits harmful chemicals during that time.  Why try to build something so static and unchanging and permanent at all?  I think it makes more sense to plan for something that will last a reasonable amount of time, requiring a reasonable amount of maintenance, which can naturally decay and go away if it ceases to be used, without artificial byproduct.


Once the dome is built it uses 1/4 of the energy that a conventional structure of same internal area uses, and keeps saving for centuries. Finish it with rock or self-healing waterproof concrete (kryton additive) and it has very very low maintenance.


Why does it need such very very low maintenance?  Why do you need compromises like Kryton and polyurethane and polycarbonate and plastic foams instead of just replacing/repairing something completely natural over time?  Why do you need batteries to fulfill a desire for the luxury of unnecessary 24/7 power?


There is no such thing as a perpetual motion machine.  Since everybody knows this, it's not stated in my outline.


In a sense, there is.  Just not a static, unchanging one.  Nature has existed for millions of years and will continue to for millions more no matter how much our impacts may change it or whether humans survive the transitions to come.  The sense I get from looking at your diagrams is that while they have a nice design, they are rather unnatural.  The key to nature is adaptability and constant change.  Static designs do not afford that but are counter to them.  Humankind has developed many symmetrical (and otherwise) static designs over time - very few have lasted centuries and none have remained in active use for millenniums.    But dynamic systems that cooperate with nature can and have persisted for much longer.  IMHO, we should stop thinking of machines as only static things, then perpetual machines become very realistic.  A perpetual motion machine will never be possible because that involves being able to collect and reuse all of it's energy without waste.  We cannot manage that, but we can manage to create dynamic systems that utilize the ongoing sources of energy all around us.


But it will need less maintenance than any town/city/house/community system  I'm aware of that's currently on the planet.  Please let me know if you find out about one that uses less.


Perhaps it is.  But rather than how to create the lowest-maintenance thing on the planet, *why*?
 
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