can’t see the forest

In a hole in the ground there lived an eco-warrior.

Posted in architecture, conservation, ecology, energy, Environment, family, Home, Lifestyle, UK, UK news by Curtis on 12/6/08

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dale-house-exterior1A UK man, his dad, and some friends and passersby have built, for around US$5,000, an ultra-low impact family home in Wales. They say you can do it, too.

Simon Dale and his wife work in the surrounding terrain doing forest management, something Dale says wouldn’t be possible if they had to mortgage a brick home somewhere. Using mainly a chainsaw and a hammer, taking their timber from fallen trees in the environs, and garnering everything from plumbing and wiring to windows from piles of discarded junk, Dale—a self-described first-time architect—has exhibited amazing resourcefulness in creating an ecologically responsible and downright cozy-looking abode.

Why has Dale done this?

Our society is almost entirely dependent on the availability of increasing amounts of fossil fuel energy. This has brought us to the point at which our supplies are dwindling and our planet is in ecological catastrophe. We have no viable alternative energy source and no choice but to reduce our energy consumption. The sooner this change can be begun, the more comfortable it will be.

For our energy consumption to decrease we must reduce consumption and dramatically increase the productivity of our land. This will require developing infrastructure and skills to enable locally self-reliant living. The simplest, sustainable solutions involve small-scale permaculture type land management systems centred around individual or small groups of dwellings. There is significant and growing energy at the grass-roots to start implementing these low impact developments. This enthusiasm comes from a combination of intellectual concern and the innate appeal of living closer to nature. The major obstacle is access to land. The price of land with residential planning permission is not commensurate with the income from this type of living. This will change, but these projects need time to develop and reach productivity. A few people are taking direct action but the numbers are far short of the critical mass that could be realised. If allowances can be made within the planning system to grant access to land, and the right to live on it, to those wishing to live this life, we can allow a grass-roots tide of people to make real progress towards a sustainable society.

The house uses a few solar panels to provide enough electricity for night light and computing. Water comes by gravity from a nearby spring, and heat is provided through a fireplace specially designed to capture and radiate the maximum amount of thermal energy.

CSTF salutes Mr. Dale and wishes him all the best. If there were more of him in the world, it’d be a happier planet.

dale-house-interior

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One Response

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  1. 99 said, on 12/12/08 at 7:06 pm

    Ah, that has been my dream home since I was a little girl. I won’t get any brownie points for having thought of it first, I guess….


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