From: MartyR707 (
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 19:17:31 -0500
I just came back from the CA regional conference - big success!  I especially
learned a lot from the environmental/sustainability panel and just wrote up
my notes for my community.  since they are typed up anyway, thought I'd share
them here for anyone interested - some good ideas.

So here are my notes - not necessarily organized in any particular way:

Katie:  The best long-term sustainability comes from the community - sharing
info and resources at meals, etc - new recycling ideas, carpooling,
composting, continuing to discuss and push each other to live sustainably.
 They only have one car which forces the other one to use the bike.

The group can do research on new materials - save the professionals paid
time.  Be prepared to educate the builder that its no big deal.

Tom Lent from Berkeley Cohousing (sometimes known as Flying Palms):
Removed trees were milled to use in building - they found a mill that
specialized in small trees

Salvaged a lot of wood for planters, fences, compost bins, garden beds, etc.

Took doors and fixtures to salvage yard to trade for things they needed.

Fly ash (coal remains) can be mixed with concrete.

Get lumber list together early so you can order sustainable wood (4 weeks
lead time)

Bamboo floors are pretty and sustainable, very hard, cheaper than most wood,
less buckling

Fibre glass composite shingles for roof instead of asphalt

Photoelectric smoke detectors - not radioactive

Leave space and plumbing for solar panels

*** Use Architectural Resource Guide!!! Tom's bible - new and complete (I
called David Kibbey and asked him to bring us one) - call 510/841-1039 to
order yours.

Timing, timing, think ahead! advance research

ONE water heater for each duplex will provide all hot water AND heating for
two units!!  (wondering how this will be metered)

John from Chico:
start early!!

lifestyle choices, size of houses important - keep them small

**Don't skimp on storage (heard from every community), but do cut down on
amount of stuff.
Don't buy stuff people already have - common house equipment, etc.  Make
lists and see who has what before buying anything.

Minimize concrete and asphalt on the ground.  (park on gravel?)
Pay attention to where pathways are - solar aspect - they get hot!

Rice straw panels are coming out.  fireproof and very high R value

Nylon carpetting outgases - major cause of illness/health problems from

Use cut trees for furniture (walnut), garden, fencing, compost pile fences

**Recycling center on site:  10' x 15' walled area with large plastic bins on
wheels for separating.  Near common house, near garbage.  Use small garbage
bins so people are forced to recycle.  Make it easy.  Have space in units for
personal recycling.
(They have cool thing built into their kitchen counter - a cutting board that
lifts up to reveal a plastic compost bucket that is removeable when full.)

Compost near the common house kitchen (and other places too)

Store toxics to dispose of later.

during construction, save cardboard, metal, etc. from contractor dumpsters

Joyce, Arcata:
Building a "cool room" for common house pantry, vent cold air from under
house or other cool area - very insulated.

"Cool boxes" in unit kitchens - a 2' x 2' cabinet with thin but intense
insulation (metal sheets?), wire shelves, cool air vents.

CFC free refrigerators from Real Goods

Sand box in greenhouse for kid play on rainy days and cat-proof.

Cork floors for common house - acoustic, sustainable

They have a DEEP commitment in community to use sustainable, recycled

Trim from redwood barn on some houses

"Trex" - recyled plastic wood for decking

"Grasscrete" - driveable, doesn't look like concrete, but expensive

Find a contractor dedicated to sustainability that will take some time to
find materials

Full spectrum lighting - important health issue

That's it - I also have a two page handout from Tom Lent that tells more, and
lists resources, phone numbers, etc. for more info.  As you can tell, I got

Marty Roberts, Jewell Hill Coho, Sebastopol, CA
** where we have to submit our tentative map app., buy our land, and put down
BIG BUCKS all this month!!!  Yikes!!! **

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