Gord Baird

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since Feb 08, 2012
Owner Builder of Eco-Sense, first petal certified LBC house internationally, and centre of our teaching, research and consulting on grey water, rain water harvesting, humanure, living roofs, earthen architecture and policy development.
Victoria BC
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Recent posts by Gord Baird

I am doing some testing right now with willow. I have various plants, some as straight hardwood cuttings, some with heel and each is treated a different way (Gel. IBA 0.4%, IBA 0.8%, Willow water). I cam across the following article in Deep Green Permaculture on the topic. Very good. I soak my cuttings for about two hours before planting. I should be able to compare in early spring 2014. I am doing this experiment with Fig, Siberian Ginseng, Camelia Sinensis, Mulberry, Buddalei Davidii, Elaeagnus umballata and angustifolia, and a couple other things.
7 years ago
I would like to second Adrien's question. Has anyone experience with the seeds edibility for poultry?
8 years ago
Hi Logan,
Here is a resource that might be of use. I have the PDF... but it is no longer available and looks to be all online. It talks about the nutrients.

I'm planning an aqua ponics too and this has been one of the most useful.
8 years ago
Hi Matt,
I agree with Geoff... rainwater collection with some appropriate design. For potable water I teach that you want to avoid certain materials from the collection and conveyance areas. The roof, clay, metal, living roof (with design and storage considerations), are fine... Be wary of roofing materials with Fire retardants and moss treatments (Asphalt and cedar), as you won't be able to easily filter this out. Choose your choice of debris and first flush filter... we make our own for our 10000 gallon system (off our living roofs). Once you enter the tank, like Geoff says - keep the critters out. When the water comes into the tank, you can "calm" it so it does not disturb the important biolfilm that develops on the bottom of the tank. For your overflow... again keep the critters out using a P-trap before it exits the tank. When you pull water out, suspend the intake pipe inches below the top of the water so you pull the cleanest water. If your tank is really large and water won't turn over often, then a little solar aerator will be a huge benefit.

This site will have a very good Rainwater Harvestin Manual posted by late Oct. 2012 http://www.rdn.bc.ca
The Virginia Rainwater Harvesting Manual has some great info... just simplify the fancy crap with simple stuff http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/documents/stmrainharv.pdf
8 years ago
Hi Gregory,
I built and live in a loadbearing two story cob house in Victoria BC (west coast) - high seismic area. It is code approved and permitted (first legal 2 storey seismacally engineered load bearing cob home in North America). I've also helped four other families do the same. There is no one way to build a cob house... but I would recommend the following.

Wall thickness is determined based on the compressive load it has to carry as well as the thermal performance you need to gain. (For thermal performance we have done some intense research found here under the "technical science report" http://ecosenseliving.wordpress.com/research/ ). Cob is stronger as a monolithic unit then with things embedded in it. If you are building in a seismic area, then every 2 feet an engineer will want to see a horizontal layer of some form of grid-like material (geotextile or welded wire fencing)... if this is the case then you can build vertically... if you don't have to use this horizontal layer then the sloped walls are best.

As for detailing air gaps - if you detail the building properly, then it can be an airtight building. In BC, the Home Protection Office provides classes and training for builders and building officials... they classify cob as the most air tight building system - but if your connections at poles and roofsare not detailed well then its not. A word of warning about doing a load bearing structure with poles and infilling with cob... Gernot Minke has a section in his book Building with Earth where he warns about using two materials with different flexing properties adjacent to each other. Wood flexes under loads and wind shear whil cob does not. Eventually at these connections you will see failure. The route around this is to never have your cob come into contact with the supporting posts, something we are seeing adhered to more and more. Also some great earthen standards out there including the ASTM2392 which discusses some do's and don'ts.

Good luck and enjoy... it will be the healthiest building you will ever live in (in MHO).
8 years ago
We have been on the bucket for seven years, and there is six of us. We have literally never had an issue with smell with either of the two bathrooms in the house. We have compartments that hold two buckets, and when the two buckets become full of both pee and poo (and shavings), then they go outside and are replaced with two more buckets. When I have ten full buckets (once a week) I open the pile and dump them. Here is a link to a video of the dumping

We also do a lot of research and policy work around such things, and have been able to legalize the bucket system, and have even built one at a local regional park, where we also service them. Neighbours bring their friends by just to look at the bathroom... and again no smell. The research and analysis on the compost allows us to safely ensure we can use the composted materilas on the food gardens, as well as hen I do a presentation to schoolkids or engineers, I can let them handle and smell the compost.

One key point, if you remove the urine from the bucket, you are removing the nitrogen from the system, and the composting process is less vigorous and the end product is nitrogen deficient (as studied at UBC Choi toilets that do separate). The course we teach on grey water and composting toilets has one common point... if it smells then your doing wrong - neither should ever smell.

In our home we run a 24VDC 50cfm fan which keeps the slightest of air flows through the toilet compartment - this also seconds as the bathroom exhaust fan, as well as services the whole house's demands under the building code to meet the required air changes per hour. Don't be nervous... trust what Joe Jenkins has written... everything goes into the bucket and give it plenty of cover material, more if it seems sloppy. My fovorite time of the year is when I dig into my 2 year old pile and place it in the gardens. All exciting!
8 years ago