From time to time we’ll profile a sustainable community or ecovillage. The one presented today is not made with earthbags, because bags were not available in their area. Nevertheless, the project is still very interesting and well worth studying. I think the world needs many more projects like this.
“My dream is of a small community of friends and family that hold themselves 100% self sufficient. A community that collects all of its own pure rain water, produces 100% of their own fruit, vegetables, herbs and grains. This community will do everything in its power to be carbon neutral and completely off the grid. In this ideal community, certain responsibilities will be shared with those who have the skills. If something needs to be done, then everyone pitches in and gets it done quickly and efficiently. This community also shares a set of beliefs and ideals that will ensure its cohesion and integrity. The goal of this community is more of a testament to that we can survive on our own in small scale without a national production chain.
The working name for the project is ‘Kindria’. Based on that I am establishing a ‘Kindred Network’ located at kindrednet.com. One, my last name is Kindred and the other, I hope to bring together kindred spirits who wish to learn and live this way.
The building project that I have planned is a combination of the many different natural self sustainable principles. As mentioned in a previous comment, it will be built using earth bricks (compressed earthbag blocks) and recycled wood mainly. We will feature permaculture design aspects to the surrounding property to develop a food forest. As well as certain aspects in the main garden areas to limit pest issues. There will be gardens run from aquaponics to supply fish as well as fruit and vegetables.
Everything will be supplied from the land in which we are building on. Initially we will outsource for wood supplies but our intention is to harvest our own wood using the several open source projects for bandsaw mills and wood kilns. We will also be making our own clay type items; crockery, roofing tiles et cetera.
What you see here are what we are calling “Hive’s”, a modular community living complex. There are 4 Hive’s in which can have up to 7 points of interest attached. I will start at Hive 1, the middle octagonal shape. Hive 1 will be the central community hub where communal cooking and eating will take place. Tho it isn’t required :) The blue/purple squares around it are 3m x 3m “sheds”/rooms. Both habitable and inhabitable (as per local NSW council regulations). These sheds can be used for anything, kitchen, laundry, bedroom, bathroom, workshop, storage et cetera. They will be constructed of stabilized earth bricks (SEB or CEB) with a roof truss made of recycled wood, covered with stabilized clay tiles (SCT). The Hive is then covered by a 2 tier pergola of sorts. Which will be constructed from recycled wood and SCT.
This image should give you an idea of the tiers I was talking about. Each overlap the item below to provide adequate rain catchment that will then be passed down to the several 18K L water tanks in the design. The tanks being of course the salmon coloured cylinders.
In the foreground of the image above you will see a mandala keyhole garden run designed by STRONGBUILD (YouTube). Features 6 cells that will have fruit/veg with 1 cell holding 2 – 4 chickens to turn and fertilize soil. Each month, the chickens are rotated around the garden to maintain a perfect balanced garden.
Going back to the first 3D image (birds eye view), the odd main brown in the center of the Hives, are our aquaponics gardens. Along the edges will feature trellised plants to provide natural cover from sun and rain on the walkways. The center piece will hold the fish and the two triangle edges on the center, will house largish fruit trees. For example, paw paw, lemon or large bushes like blueberries/raspberries et cetera. At its total span E/W with Hive 3 (Outer Hive) being south facing, the complex is only 55m wide.
In terms of other features like power and waste management, we will be building our own 2kWh solar array from solar cells purchased on eBay. I intend on having them track the sun when money permits (simple rig would only cost $200-$300). Lighting will be constructed with 4 LEDs per light to operate on 12v run throughout the complex. I estimate the light fixtures will cost around $3 to make (made from recycled soda bottles/cans) and will last in the area of 50 years.
For waste management, we will have humanure composting toilets. I have found a very nice design from Milkwood.net that I intend on mimicking. It utilizes 240L waste bins (used for council trash removal) that once filled, can be left in the sun for a year to process. [Here’s a poster of their humanure system showing the entire regenerative cycle.]
In the future when the property is established we will offer visiting weekends, learning workshops of what we have done to do it etc. The property will be located in the New England area of New South Wales. Probably near Tenterfield/Glen Innes. We are in process of acquiring property at the moment, roughly 100 acres.”