Shawn Klassen-Koop

garden master
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since Dec 16, 2014
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Shawn Klassen-Koop currently moderates these forums:
Shawn spent the most formative years of his life working at a summer camp where he quickly gained a passion for nature and for building a better world. Struggling to see how his future career in computer engineering was going to solve these big problems, he decided to leave it behind and dedicate himself to finding practical solutions that people can implement in their backyards. Shawn looks forward to starting his own homestead in southern Manitoba in the next few years, where he plans to implement many of the techniques laid out in his upcoming book and come up with a few more solutions along the way.
Manitoba, Canada
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Recent posts by Shawn Klassen-Koop

Fungi? As its own category? Or maybe fits under woodland management?
3 days ago
I'm curious as to what else might be included in "nest." Right now it feels very weak to me. But I guess I just like to think that everyone knows that stuff. Especially snow shovelling for us northerners.
3 days ago

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Shawn;
My opinion ... is that even with the brick walls, Matts heater would be lighter.  Some math wizard might be able run the numbers and come up with an estimated weight on the pebbles, bricks are a known weight, cob by volume should have a number...  I can't do those things so i'll stick with my best guess. 

That's what I was thinking too. Thanks for chiming in!
4 days ago
Thanks for your thoughts Len. I suppose I was trying to think about what is the best option for a suspended wood floor. In my head I was comparing Matt's hollow brick bell bench with Paul's pebble style flue bench.
4 days ago
Interesting. I'm wondering, would a stratification chamber bench for inside a house be heavier or lighter than a pebble-style bench?
4 days ago
John, thanks for your idea. I think it is an interesting idea, but it's not quite the direction we want to go with this project. Perhaps someday there will be a different project that this is a good fit for.

Thanks again for sharing.
6 days ago
Last week Paul sent me this link:

My mind was blown. Not because it was brand new information that was totally different than any I had seen before... but because of some very interesting side observations that I made from the pretty charts.

First up, household energy consumption distribution:

A good reminder that solving space heating is far more important than "better" lights or reducing phantom loads. Actually, I'm surprised that lighting is so high. I suppose it's because of all the people who keep lights on even when they are not in the room.

Something that I just noticed is that wood is not listed as a fuel source on this chart. And since there are a number of people who (at least partially) heat with wood, the space heating slice of the pie should probably be even bigger than it is here.


Next up, energy consumption by number of household members:

I think that this chart shows quite powerfully the energy impact that community living can have.

Looking at the chart, it looks like it's 38 million BTUs to heat a household of 6 and 30 million BTUs to heat a household of 1. So for heating a household of 1 uses 30 million BTUs per person and a household of 6 only uses just over 6 million BTUs per person. That's a 5X savings!

Ditto with AC.

For water heating at first I thought it was less efficient. But when you do the per person calculation it is also more efficient.


I found this last one a bit confusing:

It's showing the distribution of the amount people are paying on their bills for these different categories and fuel sources.

When I looked at this chart one thing burned clear in my mind. And I kept wondering if I was reading the chart wrong. But I've looked at it a few more times and it's still there. Here's what I see:

Americans who don't heat with wood collectively spend 60 billion dollars on heating their homes every year! Is there a market for rocket mass heaters in the US? Yes. Yes there is. A 60 billion dollar market!
6 days ago
Thanks for showering us with love! It's exciting to think about how many people are excited for this book!

Jasper Tomas wrote:Is this an ebook or a real book? Will there be an ebook version? Thanks

The book will be available as a physical book and as an ebook. We are even talking about a possible audiobook if the kickstarter goes well enough.

So what's with the font size change?

Ugh. I'm trying to delineate between parts, chapters, sections, and subsections as best as possible within the constraints of the forum software. We'll make it look much nicer in the actual book. And, for example, instead of "Chapter 5.6" it might be something like "Chapter 17" ... but we don't want to put numbers in and then forget to change them in the hustle and bustle of getting everything finished.
6 days ago
As a few of you may have heard, for the last 10 months Paul and I have been working on a book about building a better world in your backyard instead of being angry at bad guys. We've kept the project somewhat under wraps for a while, but today we decided that it is time for us to tell the world! Hello world!

The book process is moving along well and we are planning to launch a Kickstarter come January 2nd in order to help pay for all of the costs that come with making a book.

We have posted several chapters of our book in secret places on permies and there has been a lot of great discussion! If you are on the daily-ish email list you can see some of our content in the daily-ish forum and if you have PIE you can see even more content in the PIE forum. (Keep in mind you need to be logged in to view super secret forums like those ones.)

After far more iterations than I care to remember and discussions that took far longer than I had ever thought possible, we decided that this is our cover:

We also decided that we would like to share with you the current version of our table of contents! It's probably going to be tweaked a bit yet before we hit 'print' but I think it's looking pretty good!

Table of Contents


Part 0: Introduction - A Different Approach to Solving the World's Problems

Part 1: The Problems
Chapter 1.1: Environmentalist vs. Environmentalist
     Section 1.1.1: The Wheaton Eco Poser Test
Chapter 1.2: The Wicked Lies About Lightbulbs
Chapter 1.3: Carbon Footprint
Chapter 1.4: Petroleum Footprint
Chapter 1.5: Toxic Footprint

Part 2: General Strategies
Chapter 2.1: The Wheaton Eco Scale
Chapter 2.2: Moving Way Beyond Recycling
Chapter 2.3: Vote with Your Wallet
Chapter 2.4: Radically Deviant Financial Strategies
     Section 2.4.1: The Story of Gert
     Section 2.4.2: Owning a Home Without Grovelling to a Bank
     Section 2.4.3: Early Retirement Extreme
     Section 2.4.4: Give a Gift to Your Future Self with Passive Income Streams
     Section 2.4.5: The BEER Plan
     Section 2.4.6: A Clever Recipe for More Luxuriant Living at Half the Cost
Chapter 2.5: Organic vs Local
Chapter 2.6: Vegan vs Omni vs Junk Food

Part 3: Within the Walls of Your Home
Chapter 3.1: REALLY Reducing Home Energy Usage
     Section 3.1.1: Heat
     Section 3.1.2: Hot Water
     Section 3.1.3: Lighting
     Section 3.1.4: Laundry
     Section 3.1.5: The Little Things
     Section 3.1.6: Physical Footprint per Adult
Chapter 3.2: More People Living Under One Roof Without Stabbing Each Other
     Section 3.3.1: "Obey or Else"
     Section 3.3.2: The Knives Are in the Kitchen
     Section 3.3.3: Dirty Cup CSI
Chapter 3.3: Toxic Gick vs. 20 Years of Your Life
     Section 3.3.1: A Better Cleaning Strategy Than Replacing Dirt with Poison
     Section 3.3.2: Going Pooless
     Section 3.3.3: Cast Iron Can Be Non Stick; Teflon Is Always Poison
     Section 3.3.4: Bug Killer You Can Eat!

Part 4: More Than Half of Each Footprint Can Be Resolved in a Backyard
Chapter 4.1: The Huge Link Between Food and Global Footprints (Vegans Too!)
Chapter 4.2: Double the Food with One Tenth of the Effort
Chapter 4.3: The Dark Side of Native Plant Enthusiasm
Chapter 4.4: 20 Things to Do with the Twigs That Fall in Your Yard
Chapter 4.5: Not Composting
Chapter 4.6: Solar Dehydrator
Chapter 4.7: Breaking the Toxic Water Cycle with Greywater Recycling
     Section 4.7.1: A Lifehack Greywater System
     Section 4.7.2: Building a Simple Greywater System
     Section 4.7.3: Cold Climate Greywater Systems
     Section 4.7.4: Become a Certified Environmentalist
Chapter 4.8: Harvesting Electricity in Your Backyard
Chapter 4.9: The Conventional Lawn vs a Mowable Meadow

Part 5: Counter the Footprint of 20 People on the Homestead
Chapter 5.1:How Vegans Benefit from Caring for Cattle, Chickens, Hogs, Etc.
Chapter 5.2: Replacing Petroleum with People
Chapter 5.3: Wrestling with Poop Beasts and Peeing in the Garden
     Section 5.3.1: Creating a Magnificent Jungle with Your Urine
     Section 5.3.2: An Exploration of Pooping Contraptions
            Subsection Poop Jerky and Saving It for Later
            Subsection Poop Beasts, Killing Them, and Building Stuff out of their Bones
Chapter 5.4: The Solutions to Colony Collapse Disorder are Embarrassingly Simple
Chapter 5.5: Destroy Your Orchard to Make a Food Forest
Chapter 5.6: A Building Design That Solves Almost Everything
       Section 5.6.1: Setting Our Design Criteria Extremely High
                 Subsection Straw Bale
                 Subsection Cob         
                 Subsection The Dirty Secret of "Sustainable" Building
                 Subsection The Joy and Heartbreak of Earthships
                 Subsection Prevent Wildfires by Building a Home

     Section 5.6.2: From Junk to Genius with One Simple Design Change
     Section 5.6.3: A Freaky Cheap Home That Doesn't Look Freaky Cheap
     Section 5.6.4: Using the Heat from Summer to Heat Your Home During the Winter
     Section 5.6.5: The Strict Definition of "Wofati"
     Section 5.6.6: A Modification for a Year-Round Freezer
Chapter 5.7: Natural Swimming Pools
     Section 5.7.1: Keeping the Water Clean
     Section 5.7.2: Avoiding the Ice Bath
     Section 5.7.3: How Do I Build One? Gimmie! Gimmie Now!

Part 6: Where do we go from here?

Appendix A - Tabular summary of solutions
About the Authors
6 days ago