The Engineering of a Passive Off the Grid House

A sustainable home doesn’t need to be off the gird, but for some people interested in sustainability they reach a logical conclusion that off the gird makes sense. Of course, that means not being part of the electric grid and, for some, not even part of a public water system for potable water and sewage. How does one go about creating such a home? Check out the video above for what’s needed to create an efficient off the gird place to live.

Kristina is a structural engineer who designed and helped build this off-grid passive solar home with solar panels, solar hot water heaters, rainwater collection, a composting toilet, and a greywater garden. It’s a pretty impressive and functional Earthship inspired home and she lives here with her partner Matt in Colorado.

You can follow and find out more about Kristina and Matt’s off-grid lifestyle here:
https://www.youtube.com/@ClarityOffGrid
https://www.sustainablehomeresource.com/
https://www.sustainablehomeresource.c…

Big Bank in Canada Wants Socialized Housing

ai image of a banker building a house

The housing crisis in Canada has been decades of policy failures in the making arguably starting in the 90s when the federal government stopped building housing for people. Now, the housing crisis has grown to the point where one of Canada’s largest banks is calling for socialized housing to be built again. This means building house for people who are so priced out of the market that renting is hard for them due to the downward pressures from wealthy home buyers.The bank also calls for other measures to be taken, as with most things, there isn’t one simple solution.

There is a case to critically consider next-best approach(es) to non-market housing across the country. There are many learnings to be leveraged from crowding private capital into affordable housing and there is still much more to be done in that ‘middle market’. This is essential but insufficient. The largely scathing OAG report on basic access to housing suggests we have neither adequate governance frameworks nor the tools at present to address the magnitude of the challenges at the acute end of the housing continuum.
Canada needs a more ambitious, urgent and well-resourced strategy to expand its social housing infrastructure. Aims to double the stock of social housing across the country could be a start. This would bring Canada just in line with OECD (and G7) averages, but well- below some European and Nordic markets. There is no particular magic behind this number: bringing the stock to 1.3 mn dwellings would not fully close gaps. But it signals far more ambition than the 150 k incremental units targeted under the National Housing Strategy with the bulk of its efforts focused on keeping the current count whole.

Read more.

Pump Up The Heat Pumps

Too many homes use dead dino juice for heat, and we need to get every home to stop burning the remains of extinct species if we’re going avert catastrophic climate change. The good news is that we can easily do this by getting rid of gas burning furnaces and replacing them with heat pumps. The video above explains how and why heat pumps are so efficient, the article below answers common questions about them.

In terms of cost, it may take a homeowner about a decade to recoup the price of a heat pump through savings from not using fossil fuels.

“But if you’re getting rebates…. it’s going to take a lot less of time to get your money back out of it,” Cheriex said.

Peter Sundberg, executive director of City Green, says those interested in installing a heat pump may end up on a wait list. In the interim, he says, homeowners can focus on upgrades to insulation and windows to make their home more energy efficient.

Read more.

Hamburg Builds for a Future of Higher Seas

construction

Hamburg’s transition from being seen as only an industrial port to a thriving cultural hub is well underway and part of that transition is to ensure the city can survive climate change. Since the city is located not far from the coast rising water and more sever storms will impact everyone who lives there, as a result flood mitigation and resilient building are required. These new developments embrace ecological design while also embracing the culture of the city.

Presented by its developers as a “model for the new European city on the waterfront”, HafenCity is built on an artificial sand terrace that places new buildings about 8 meters above the high tide line. The waterfront is also designed to be partially flooded, like the promenade designed by Zaha Hadid in 2006 that runs above the dam on the city’s Niederhafen promenade.

Exceptions are some old buildings dating back to 1880. While remaining at their original lower level, they have been hardened to resist occasional flooding, with direct exits to the upper level and reinforced windows and other forms of waterproofing beneath.

Read more.

Spreading the Movement Against Sprawl

Where you live matters. Who chooses in what type of building you can choose to live in matters too. Undoubtedly most people want to live in walkable communities, yet in many areas it’s actual illegal to build places that don’t rely on cars. Low density sprawl is bad for everything yet municipalities in North America continue to only permit single family dwellings. It’s time to let people choose in what type of building they want to live in instead of forcing only low density in new developments.

ZONING STUFF YOU CAN DO

1) Join the Climate Town Discord. Since there’s not a great/accessible database of everyone’s local zoning meetings (as far as we could find), we think it would be pretty slick to harness our community’s collective power to make it easier to get this information. We just created a channel called “#zoning” (https://discord.gg/cqRpTpeAH2), where you can drop by and tell us how your local zoning meeting smelled, or share a link that we missed to help other Climate Townies affect change in their community. (And in case you’re like me from a month ago and have no idea how to use Discord, here’s a helpful beginner’s guide – https://support.discord.com/hc/en-us/… to-Discord)

2) Sign up for Public Comment Workshop from YIMBY Action – Feb 15, 2022 5pm Pacific: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/regis…

3) City Specific Zoning or Board Meeting Links: Los Angeles: https://planning.lacity.org/about/com… New York City: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/cau/communi… Chicago: https://www.thecha.org/about/board-me…

4) Don’t see your city? They’re often hyper-local, a little hard to find, and go by different names. Search your ‘zip/town/city’ and these search terms:

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