Introduction to Eric Hart
From: Fred H Olson WB0YQM (
Date: Sat, 12 Nov 94 08:35 CST
Eric Hart   harte [at]  is the author of this 
message but due to a email problem it was posted by the COHOUSING-L sysop.

Hello fellow cohousers:

        I've been subscribing to cohousing-l for about a month now and
thought I would introduce myself before I jump into the fray.  I'm Eric
Hart and have been involved in cohousing in the Twin Cities of Minnesota
for about 1 1/2 years.  I live in Minneapolis and currently have a
research internship at the Institute for Local Self Reliance.  I have a
Masters degree in Urban Studies from Portland State University and am
interested in housing issues and sustainable development
issues.  I have been working as a very part time planning/development
consultant for a rural cohousing/ecological community (Riverside) that
is in West-Central Wisconsin.  Over the summer we had a series of
workshops on various topics that the residents would like to see in the
development.  We covered issues such as alternative waste treatment
systems, district heating systems, and super insulated and strawbale
construction techniques.  I can zap anyone a two page synopsis of what
we covered who wants it.  I am working with the project architect, Rick
Peterson, on a development workshop structure that can be used with
other groups that we have developed with the Riverside group.  Just let
me know if you want further details.  Rick Peterson is interested in
sustainable development and green architecture issues as well.
        At Riverside we will most likely use heat pumps that get the
heat either from the earth or from a pond in a district heating scheme.
This solution is mainstream anymore and is far more efficient than
pulling heat from the air.  I'm also not sure why a bank would have any
trouble with a district heating system.  If the development is
sold as a condominium development then it is not uncommon to have a
shared heating system. In a condo development residents get a fractional
interest in what ever common land or facilities are present in the
development.  I don't know why a heating system would be any different.I
wouln't let banks scare you into putting in a less than optimal solution
that you'll want to change later.
        I am 28 years old and am a committed bicyclist (yes, in
Minnesota, the whole winter!).  I don't have a car nor particularly want
one and am interested in ways cohousing can be made more affordable and
in urban areas with public transit.  When and if I get to design a
cohousing community with others I want it to be as "green" and
environmentally sensitive as possible.  I don't think that being
environmentally sensitive and affordability are mutually exclusive.
In fact, the most environmentally sensitive solutions are often the most
simple and cheapest.  As an example, I know an architect (through the
Riverside group) who has designed an air to air heat exchanger that is
very cheap and effective.  He has used this design on a solar greenhouse
he designed in SE Minnesota and it works great.  It essentially uses the
earth as a means to moderate the air temperature.  Air is pulled out of
the house and funneled into a plastic pipe which has another porous pipe
running inside it.  These pipes are underground so stay at a constant
temperature.  The inside air is pushed out the larger pipe while the
smaller pipe pulls in outside air.  The two air masses mix inside the
pipe and what comes back into the house is air that is
humidified/dehumidified and heated/cooled (depending upon the time of
the year).  At this solar greenhouse, such an exchanger lowered the
outside air being pulled in by 10 degrees F (82 to 72 degrees).  This is
just the basic idea, don't try designing a system on these instructions.
 The architect who designed this system, Roald Gunderson, is looking for
work now so any leads would be appreciated.  He helped design the human
habitat parts of Biosphere II and is very good at finding enviromentally
sensitive, cheap solutions to design problems.  He has also done work on
strawbale construction.
        I am willing to give what advice and I can via this forum and to
pass on any messages or potential leads to Rick Peterson or Roald
Gunderson.  I would like to see more theoretical and philosophical
things being discussed here and also more on alternatives to the cut and
dried cohousing development with townhouses in a remote, car dependant
suburban location.  I like cohousing but don't want it to become just
another thing that developers do in suburban locations.  The movement
needs to stay in touch and openly solicit what people want from their
living environment and find ways to do that affordably and as
environmentally sensitively as possible.  Oh, by the way, I know Fred
Olson the Sysop for cohousing-l and have been in a few core groups here
with him.  Well, I've rambled on long enough.  Bye.

Eric Hart   harte [at]   Minneapolis

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