Posts tagged with eco-building

  • 14 November 2011 - Talking rubbish – Turning trash into treasure

    Here at Bustan Qaraaqa they don’t simply sort their recycling, compost their vegetable scraps and put out the rubbish to be collected weekly – they take REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE to a whole new level. With no municipal waste management in Palestine, they have adopted a policy of ‘what comes on site, stays on site’, often collecting other peoples waste too! Using permaculture, creativity, knowledge and passion they educate and demonstrate by living sustainably themselves and maintaining a philosophy that there is no such thing as waste – just a failure of imagination. They hope to inspire Palestinians to stop throwing their rubbish down hillsides or burning it on the side of the road and for foreign guests to understand their role in the waste cycle too. What would you do if your council didn’t collect your waste? How would you consume differently? What would you do with … Read the rest

  • 28 July 2011 - Week 9 – Eco-building in the Pyrenees, Hosting a project and community living

    Over the 5 weeks spent with Pierre I observed how he managed us helpers, his projects, his family life and himself.  I imagine the whole process could be quite physically and emotionally rewarding but also draining – dealing with various people from all walks of life, interrupting your routine, sharing your space, managing the build, training, supervising, etc.


    As mentioned in a previous post, community living often seems harder than the project or building itself. So, this week’s post is from Pierre’s perspective. We’ve asked him some questions which he has kindly answered for us.


    1. How many helpers have you had?

    So far, to the present day, which is in the third season, I have had about 30 helpers (5 in season 1, 20 in season 2, 5 so far in season 3).

    1. Why are you using volunteer helpers?

    I haven’t thought about why before. It happened … Read the rest

  • 24 June 2011 - Week 5 – Cob camp hits the road to learn eco-building in the Pyrenees


    The beginning of week 5 was all about mixing and building cob since the roof was up and stable. There is so much to learn about cob that you can only truly understand through tactile experience.  You need to feel the critical proportion of clay to sand to ensure a plastic, cohesive, workable mix that won’t shrink and crack too much.  Depending on the coarseness of the sand and quality of the clay (and other components in the soil) the final mix should be between 5% and 25% clay.  By observing the soil composition from a soil test (seeing it settle in a jar with water) you can estimate proportions.

    But, it is the snowball test and crunch test that helped us refine the mix.  For the snowball test we created a sphere from our mix, held it 1m above soft ground and let it fall. If it shattered, … Read the rest

  • 28 May 2011 - Week 1 at Cob Camp – Eco Building and Community Living

    I just arrived at La Creuse, a region in the middle of France, in order to participate to the building of a cob house organised by AM Rustic with other volunteers. Jean on his side, went to Central America for few weeks, in order to do a consultancy with a British humanitarian organisation.

    I understood from the first day on the cob building course that this wasn’t really a structured course but a gathering of people with a shared interest in natural building coming together to live, work, learn and share their diverse experiences and skills.  Anita and Martin had ditched the ‘Day 1 – Designing your Cob House’ for driving the newcomers (myself, Vicky and Wayne) around the local area to see a previously built cob house, some sites and buy supplies.

    The second day a family from the Netherlands arrived (Ester, Dirk, Emile and Liam) so while they … Read the rest

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