Fred Klammt

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since Jun 23, 2017
eco-entrepreneur and energy farmer.  Designed & built three off-grid, passive homes.  Adjunct professor Europe & Calif.  Electrical engineer. Outdoor enthusiast.
northern california
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Recent posts by Fred Klammt

If anyone is looking for a helper's gig  in Northern California (halfway between Placerville & kirkwood)  - we have a couple spots left for 4-5 hours helping out each day in exchange for room and board.  We're a small biodynamic gardening, beyond off-grid, experiential learning center.   thanks.
If I had an excavator** or a bunch of strong young backs, I'd site a PAHS 'umbrella' house on southwest sloping land - for max winter solar gain.  I'd only put 1/2 half (the north side) of the house underground.  I'd put in a deeply anchored rubble or cinderblock wall (maybe two walls with a french drain in between) on the north side and/or a combo of Sepp Holzer's root cellar designs to prevent future 'mudslides'.  the airflows and thermal mass storage of the PAHS are ingenious... ( The initial PAHS concept came from   Dr. Hiatt of RMI in the 1970's) .   The underground roof part would be tricky... eventually it'll leak (just ask the GAP facility manager who maintained the first green roof in South San Fran in the 1980's) - plant roots are amazing and water will follow!    ....when the 'bird of paradise' deposits  some willow or elm tree seeds on the roof...

**  Excavation is the cheapest form of construction.
Hi:  We're a small (5 acres) operation located about 50 miles west of Folsom, northern California.  We're kicking off our Living Energy Learning Center this spring (late April) and are looking for a couple interns for 2 month gigs and several helpers.  Please check out our web site:   for more info.    

Here's a link to an article about WinSol, recently featured in Permaculture Magazine:

Here's the blurb on intern specifics from our website:
We are launching our public outreach and learning programs this year and are looking for two interns for two months (April – June,  July – September).  The first interns will help in creating and developing our programs.   We provide food. accommodations and educational experiences along with a small, discretionary stipend depending on qualifications and assistance.

Job description: Interns will learn about ‘real’ sustainable and modern simple living – within ‘one earth’ equivalence. They will assist in putting together, planning and helping with on-site public tours and workshops. There will be a lot of initial work in light construction, beautification, and getting the place ready for AirBnB hosting, tours and workshops. Some curriculum planning and administration work may be included.  Daily chores include gardening, harvesting, and some mundane tasks like mulching/clean-up/organizing various areas, etc.  Interns will also be part of planning and initial construction of a separate,  unique small (aka tiny) house.  There will be daily, short experiential learning sessions on renewable+ energies, rainwater catchment,  on-site systems, rocket mass heaters, passive design concepts, and oh! so, so much more.  There’s a possibility for interns to stay past the 2-month period.  Ideally, we are looking for interns that will be part of a long-term Winsol team.

Accommodations: Interns and helpers can stay in the learning center.  There are two small private rooms and a large open floor within the geodesic dome.   Camping in the adjacent deep forest is also available  (many good tent sites).  The learning center has its own kitchen/dining area and composting toilets.

Close-by: The areas around WinSol include hi-Sierra (Carson Range/Kirkwood),  Lake Tahoe,  hot springs, Alpine lakes and rivers with endless hiking trails.  The closest ‘main’ towns to WinSol are Placerville, Jackson, Folsom.  Please know that this is a remote location:  100% off-grid.  Nearest restaurant is 5 miles away, grocery store is 15 miles away.  There is limited wi-fi and AT&T (only!) 4G service.

Please inquire by email directly for an internship application (fred  ‘at’ or to inquire about helper logistics.  Thank you!

Helpers -  Between April to October of each year we can use several helpers. The basic program is 4-5 hours of productive work each day in exchange for food and lodging.  We request that each helper stay for at least 5 days.  Weekend only helpers may be considered.

My one take on underground buildings is simple:  it'll eventually leak.  There are SO many variables.  Even the PAHS homes have issues - and they are only partially underground.  i spent an engineering career in commercial and industrial building operations... and even with their $$$$ budgets and toxic waterproofing materials used - eventually even they leak:  cracked floors, shifting & leaking roofs, etc.   The big issue is TIME:  you might be alright for the first 5 years - but eventually the ground shifts, shit happens, and triple+ waterproofing cracks.  Water intrusion and even worse: freezing water/moisture eventually erodes the building's substructure.
My advice:  find a nice cave, and let nature do the work, or maybe re-incarnate as a ground hog :-)
I spent over 8 years searching for this illusive 'intentional community' to live in.  The closest I got was Sieben Linden in Germany.  I lived at Lost Valley in Dexter, Oregon for a couple years and many others for shorter stays.  Wonderful land, wonderful people trying to make it work - but alas the underlying issues a lot of people talk about here are prevalent. I think real 'sociocracy':  radical self-responsibility; is one of the keys. I also found that Zegg forums with a good facilitator will get some of the hidden issues out front - if there's a process in place to adapt discovered issues into solutions.   I also think cultural undertones are an issue:  Why is it that Europe and South America has thousands of ecovillages and the USA has only a handful?  (Dancing Rabbit, TwinOaks, Ithaca, Lost valley, LA ecoV, etc).  
I'm also curious where in Oregon this is located.  I'd be willing to help out on the front end.  I've designed and built passive solar homes,  operate a learning center, and lived at Lost Valley (Dexter) for a couple years.
wonderful person!  i love the quote about creating an 'unintentional' community.   I wish there was a USA version of 'retro-suburbia' and an organization that would support that.  A lot of suburbian residents would embrace that and share their learnings.  Perhaps there'll be a USA TEDx talk on this someday.
1 year ago
Update on Northern California ecovillage... tried pretty hard for the last 4 years trying to get people together to form an intentional community... short answer: nada.   I lived part-time at Lost Valley in Oregon for 2 years and full time for about 6 months.   Lotsa wonderful lessons in actually doing it!!   Would welcome anyone else who wants to try again in northern California... but this time around there's gotta be 8 people committed to it before I'll invest more of my time.
3 years ago