new videos
hot off the press!  
    more about rocket
mass heaters here.

more videos from
the PDC here.
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

'hippie' EcoVillage w. Luxury + appropriate technology?  RSS feed

 
Fred Winsol
Posts: 155
Location: Sierras
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Is is possible to create and live long-term in a 'hippie-village' (low-footprint, permaculture, easy-going, simple...) with some appropriate modern luxuries + technologies? 

What are the factors in balancing one person's luxury vs. another's disdain of the same? 

Where do you draw the line? 
What's appropriate?
How do you decide?
Is there a criteria?
--------------------------------

  • [li]Cell-phones
    hi-speed internet
    led lights
    Heat pumps
    Air-conditioners
    Fiberglass composting toilets
    Septic tanks
    Hot tubs + spas
    Overhead electric wires
    Diesel tractors
    etc.[/li]
    [li][/li]



  •  
                                  
    Posts: 23
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    winsol3 wrote:
    Is is possible to create and live long-term in a 'hippie-village' (low-footprint, permaculture, easy-going, simple...) with some appropriate modern luxuries + technologies? 
    Cell-phones
    hi-speed internet
    LED lights
    Heat pumps
    Air-conditioners
    Fiberglass composting toilets
    Septic tanks
    Hot tubs + spas
    Overhead electric wires
    Diesel tractors
    etc.


    Of course! Luxuries are what separate us from the Amish. I'll go down the list of what I would not include, mostly due to high waste and low utility.

    -Cell-phone usage may not be available based on your reception in the area. As far as electricity consumption goes, most cell phone chargers are ~5 watts... which is next to nothing.

    -I personally would scrap the AC and heat pump. Depending on your climate, you should only need a small-moderate amount of wood for heat in the winter. Fans can adequately cool a house during the summer... at least where I live. If you plan on generating your own electricity, keep in mind that AC units(and probably heat pumps as well) consume a huge amount of power. Also keep in mind for off-grid electricity or minimizing your footprint: Clothes dryers, TVs, and computers use most of the remaining electricity.

    -When you say overhead electric wires, do you mean between houses on site? I would simply run outdoor extension cords through PVC pipe and then bury it. It looks nicer.

    -The composting toilet negates the need for a septic tank. 


    As far as the other luxuries go... I personally plan to have a hot tub and hi-speed internet(satellite) in my strawbale house!  You could always share tractors with a farmer down the street, yes? Give him some $, a tank of gas, and a box of cookies. 
    EDIT: On second thought, the hot tub is ~4,500 watts.  Maybe I could run my solar heated water into the hot tub, insulate the hell out of it, and use it as my hot water tank? 
     
    Fred Winsol
    Posts: 155
    Location: Sierras
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    PeakEverything wrote:
    I would simply run outdoor extension cords through PVC pipe and then bury it. It looks nicer.

    the hot tub is ~4,500 watts.  Maybe I could run my solar heated water into the hot tub, insulate the hell out of it, and use it as my hot water tank? 


    I'd be careful on the extension cords in PVC pipes.  Moisture, critters, etc.  I'd invest in marine or underground quality cable and put it in old PVC pipe... peace of mind for 30+ years.  And then I'd also run a couple spare pipes in the open trench... for who knows what in the future.

    Hot tubs... I've been struggling with that for a while... my final solution was a large fiberglass tub from a salvage yard sitting directly under my drainback solar HW collectors and letting it drip in... yes heavy insulation all around.  I'm looking to drain and collect the water when it gets cold for irrigation.  Probably won't use it too much in long dry summers tho.... more a winter thing.
     
                                          
    Posts: 3
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    It's called cohousing.  At Nevada City cohousing we have a pool, and a hot tub (one for 80+ people), PV on the roofs means that electricity bills range from $50 to negative $50 per month in the summer.  There's no AC, we have a pretty mild climate in the summer and the design of the houses (deep overhangs, very well insulated walls/windows/doors, whole house fans, purposeful south-facing layout of houses) means that they don't overheat and stay very comfortable. 

    There really is nothing 'hippy-like' about having a comfortable and efficient home.  It's just good common sense.  Read this book:  Creating Cohousing:  Building Sustainable Communities by Katie McCamant and Charles Durrett. 

    Then contact McCamant and Durrett architects and build your own.
    Spread the word,
    build it up.
     
    Fred Winsol
    Posts: 155
    Location: Sierras
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    I had to smile at that... I know Chuck D personally ... and am very familiar with NC Co-housing, the books, the whole IC thing in the Bay Area with Raines C. etc...

    My opinion is that co-housing is more like glorified condos with a common area, where people all treat each other with care+++.  I am talking about an eco-village that is totally self-reliant.  I once dared (at your GV Green Fest a couple months ago)  Chuck D to cut the cord to the utility grid... how would the development fare?  Can u ever truly live without the main grid and all it supports/represents?

    If you get a chance to see the movie 'a new we' that's what i am talking about.  I personally would like to see more appropriate hi-tech (without EMFs like cell phones,microwaves, etc) devices used and am curious what other people think is appropriate and in-appropriate for living in an eco-village.
    I'm talking about how all these things are produced (cell phone rare metals - from Congo... worse than blood diamonds!),  solar PV panel production, etc.
    Case in point would be those cool fiberglass composting toilets as opposed to dual-chamber Asian types.  The production of fiberglass is not exactly a benign process.
     
    Rita Vail
    Posts: 63
    Location: Northwest
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    winsol13 - you make some good points. It would take very committed folks to live the low-emf life style. I am doing that in town to practice and see if I can do it, and the computer is a sticking point for me, especially knowing how they are made - also transportation if I move out of town. Wouldn't it be great to create your own village using horses for transportation, with a central building for computing, phone calling, food processing (hot-tubbing?) That way everyone could have their own little cob house with low-polluting rocket mass heater, completely unwired and peaceful, or it could be a yurt or teepee, lean-to, whatever.

    Each eco-village needs to attract people who have similar goals. For me, it would be 1800s lifestyle plus computer. And blender.

    The other thing I dream about is a village of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses on wheels. If I went that route, I would not wire or plumb it. I will soon have a solar charger for the laptop. I already use a solar-charged lantern, solar oven and wood cookstove (Four Dog), which is embarrassingly high-polluting. I'm avoiding all gas. I guess I will need a hand-cranked blender. Refrigeration is another thing I play around with. The tiny house on the trailer looks like it would get hot and produce might spoil quickly, especially if you have a stove in it. Food cellars aren't very portable.

    Yes. I am an old hippie. Time is my only luxury. And my computer. And car. And blender.
     
    William James
    gardener
    Posts: 1014
    Location: Northern Italy
    23
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    Hi winsol3,
    You might be interested in this:
    http://www.npr.org/2011/07/17/137680605/making-cutting-edge-animation-on-a-diy-homestead?sc=fb&cc=fp

    "We're building a 21st-century Hobbit village in which things are integrated into nature," Saxon says, "but we're harnessing cutting-edge technology and embracing the best of technology."

    I think that when you can do without gadgets, it's better to do without. And when you can make something out of either bamboo or pvc, choose bamboo.

    I think there's a larger question of what it means to "embrace the best of technology" when much of it has environmental atrocities hardwired into them, but that's a whole other can of worms.

    Something else you might be interested in reading is Better Off, by Eric Brende. He lives with very strict Amish for a year without much technology.
     
    Fred Winsol
    Posts: 155
    Location: Sierras
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    William wrote:
    Hi winsol3,
    You might be interested in this:http://www.npr.org/2011/07/17/137680605/making-cutting-edge-animation-on-a-diy-homestead?sc=fb&cc=fp
    "We're building a 21st-century Hobbit village in which things are integrated into nature," Saxon says, "but we're harnessing cutting-edge technology and embracing the best of technology."

    I think that when you can do without gadgets, it's better to do without. And when you can make something out of either bamboo or pvc, choose bamboo.I think there's a larger question of what it means to "embrace the best of technology" when much of it has environmental atrocities hardwired into them, but that's a whole other can of worms.

    Something else you might be interested in reading is Better Off, by Eric Brende. He lives with very strict Amish for a year without much technology.


    Thanks for the tips... Loved 'Trout Gulch' in Santa Cruz!  I'm trying to figure out a halfway point - how to keep some of the 'useful' technology like internet/web access and communication... without impinging too much on the environment and avoiding an'Amish' or hippie lifestyle.  For me, LED lights are WAY better than anything else... have yet to get much beyond that tho... it's a HUGE step function up after that to laptops and cell phones...
     
    Fred Winsol
    Posts: 155
    Location: Sierras
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    RitaSparrow wrote:
    winsol13 - you make some good points. It would take very committed folks to live the low-emf life style. I am doing that in town to practice and see if I can do it, and the computer is a sticking point for me, especially knowing how they are made - also transportation if I move out of town. Wouldn't it be great to create your own village using horses for transportation, with a central building for computing, phone calling, food processing (hot-tubbing?) That way everyone could have their own little cob house with low-polluting rocket mass heater, completely unwired and peaceful, or it could be a yurt or teepee, lean-to, whatever.

    Each eco-village needs to attract people who have similar goals. For me, it would be 1800s lifestyle plus computer. And blender.

    The other thing I dream about is a village of Tumbleweed Tiny Houses on wheels. If I went that route, I would not wire or plumb it. I will soon have a solar charger for the laptop. I already use a solar-charged lantern, solar oven and wood cookstove (Four Dog), which is embarrassingly high-polluting. I'm avoiding all gas. I guess I will need a hand-cranked blender. Refrigeration is another thing I play around with. The tiny house on the trailer looks like it would get hot and produce might spoil quickly, especially if you have a stove in it. Food cellars aren't very portable.

    Yes. I am an old hippie. Time is my only luxury. And my computer. And car. And blender.


    Great points... I'd go a little farther than the 1800's... seems a pretty harsh survival existence back then... I like music, LEDs, and skimming ice in 40F mornings and having an ice maker in the summer.... and like u my computer.  The EcoVillage of Sieben Linden in Germany was the BEST example I've found of a community that closest to that... i'd like to get a similar one going in Northern California.
     
    Rita Vail
    Posts: 63
    Location: Northwest
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    winsol - I lived in Mendocino Co in the 70s and dream of it, still. We did the Renaissance Faires (all three). Moved to Arkansas to raise kids, where the land was affordable and now I am almost ready to sell everything and do something rash. Mom is getting up there in age and I will hang on as long as she is alive, but then I am going to look for someplace without chiggers, where you can walk thru tall grass and roll around on the ground. It would be tough to plant a permie forest here, because of the chiggers. You'd have to keep it hacked down pretty short. This is the secret of how Arkansas keeps from getting overpopulated. It's the chiggers.
     
    Fred Winsol
    Posts: 155
    Location: Sierras
    • Mark post as helpful
    • send pies
    • Quote
    • Report post to moderator
    now if there were only some chiggers in n. California.  Mendocino coast is paradise...
     
    The overall mission is to change the world. When you've done that, then you can read this tiny ad:
    Composting Chickens Comic (e)Book - The Ulitmate Guide to Compsting with Chickens - Digital Download
    https://permies.com/t/66064/digital-market/digital-market/Composting-Chickens-Comic-Book-Ulitmate
    • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
    • New Topic
    Boost this thread!