Natural Building Network http://nbnetwork.org/ is a not-for-profit membership association promoting natural building principles, materials and practitioners worldwide. We support ecological regeneration, social justice, the building of community and economic opportunity, and the recognition of indigenous wisdom as essential in creating healthy, beautiful, and spiritually-uplifting habitation for everyone.
Leimana Pelton is the guy responsible for the 6 bamboo structures
that Cof H waste management contracted to be built for recycling centers
around the island. I've asked him to talk about the compromises
he had to make to comply with existing code and what code changes
would more easily enable him to build future bamboo structures
on the big island. You can read more about him at http://www.bamboovillagehawaii.org/team1.htm
http://ecoterrestrialconcepts.com/ which states:- Only one Asian bamboo has been included in the uniform building code. Even though all of the locally grown treated bamboo we use has been
structurally evaluated for strength and resistance to insect and fungal
attack according to the highest standards, they have not yet been
approved for inclusion in the uniform building code. We expect this
will occur within the next two years, one species at a time at a very
high cost. Therefore we are currently offering only “portable” structures
that will none the less last for decades, but don’t require regular
I am implementing a "Watson wick" bio-filtration system as part of a project I'm working with on in East Hawai'i. What little info is online is at Art Ludwig's Oasis Design consulting site (Art is a premier resource for graywater design information): http://www.oasisdesign.net/compostingtoilets/watsonwick.htm There are some unknown number of these designed by Tom Watson in Southwestern USA locations that have been working fine for a decade or more. I'm not aware of any (yet :-) in our area. I'll be talking with Watson to get his ideas on issues relevant to our different climate, and documenting this implementation for demonstration purposes and proof of concept. Meanwhile simple, inexpensive/DIY composting toilet and graywater system designs are well known and demonstrated here and globally. It's easy to find out what exists and what works. What isn't easy is changing technocratic and fecephobic cultural patterns and habits so that what exists and works is "legal." cheers, Jo
in the realm of what’s already been done, one tiny step is OVE for conventional building:
…as well as other alternatives to stick-and-shitrock building mentioned on this page and elsewhere.
This stuff is all OK in many many places around the country and world. So if it’s not OK here, it sure ought to be and given all the precedents it ought to be one of the easier changes to make.
By “OK” I mean the county blesses it up front. No special anything needed, these methods are tested and proven, go do it.
We can currently do this stuff here, and, gotta get the architect/engineer stamp (if you can find one who will, and can afford it). Government-sponsored trade protectionism (like plumbing and electrical).
The Puna Community Development Plan Action Committee (PACDP AC) supports the rural limited-density, owner-built-dwelling initiative of the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance. This initiative is in accord with the PCDP.
In particular, the PCDP AC recognizes the needs and opportunities for a Hawaii County Sustainable Habitat policy as outlined in the HSCA’s proposed Sustainable Habitat Resolution.
Furthermore, the PCDP AC supports the purpose and intent of an ordinance proposed by HSCA, to:
- Provide minimum requirements for the protection of life, limb, health, property, safety, and welfare of the general public and the owners and occupants of limited density rural dwellings and appurtenant structures;
- Permit the use of the ingenuity and preferences of individual builders of dwellings on agricultural parcels in rural areas of Hawaii County for occupancy by the builder; and
- Allow the use of substitute materials and procedures and alternatives to the specifications prescribed by the uniform technical codes to the extent that a reasonable degree of health and safety is provided by such substitutes and alternatives.
Once considered too expensive, or even a niche for radical environmentalists, green building is fast becoming part of the new standard. Green construction focuses on energy efficiency, reuse of water and building materials, and designs and systems that don’t harm the environment. But through the years, so-called “green” architects, builders and engineers, either in partnership or at odds with local and national building code councils, have had to build without definitive green guidelines. Innovations led to reviews and often rejections of plans, and some eco-mavericks just built outside the traditional codes altogether.
If there were green building regulations in place, they could set the standard for what not to do, and lay the groundwork for successful models for builders to follow. Currently, there are efforts underway to attempt to set uniform standards. The International Code Council, for example, has been working on an International Green Construction Code (IGCC) since 2009 and is set to publish the code in 2012, with new green commercial regulations.
HSCA supports the safety of industrial, commercial construction, as presented by the three codes on the agenda today. But rejects the notion that any of this is necessary for safe, clean, affordable, self sustaining private home builders. We have plenty of eco-mavericks here, they are the Thomas Edisons and seekers of Walden Pond in our times.
While adopting these codes will have some benefits, we can do better than these codes by acting soon to legitimize the kinds of standards that are coming, for using local materials, and inventing new solutions to old problems. And in turn, build healthier communities.
The public is invited to the Hawaii Sustainable Community Alliance (HSCA) meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. on Friday. Focus will be on the proposed county Sustainable Rural Habitat Ordinance.
The nonprofit group is drafting a proposal to amend the Building Code to allow “more eco-friendly communities and buildings.”
“In Hawaii and around the world, growing numbers of people are co-creating and living a life of intentional community and/or heading back to the land. By working together, pooling resources, consuming less, and designing eco-friendly living paradigms, such folk are essentially already in line with Hawaii state’s goals of becoming more self-reliant and sustainable by the year 2050,” said spokesman Graham Ellis.
“Yet, unlike in Mendocino and other counties where a variety of Class K/Type 2 rural alternative dwellings are on the books as safe, affordable, in-the-sticks housing, here in Hawaii thousands of people are living off the books in unpermitted structures because our building code doesn’t align with an affordable way to create housing for those invested in community/public service along with home business/cottage industry-type work, rather than in traditional well-paying 9-5 jobs, which here on the Big Island are quite scarce,” said Ellis.
“… HSCA is currently working closely with local, state and federal government for housing laws and codes to become more environmentally/financially sustainable both for our local community and for the planet as a whole,” said Ellis. “At present, the laws and zoning codes in Hawaii are quite unfriendly to eco-housing and community living. Overly protective standards in building codes and designs based on mainland cold weather building codes are not affordable, sustainable, or desirable here.”
HSCA supports “affordable, owner-built, low-impact housing on ag land suitable for this island’s varied tropical locations/lifestyles, and based on practical/aesthetic/eco-friendly designs which could potentially utilize local materials if the owner-builder desires — ie, why not make use of invasive hardwoods rather than adding them to the landfill?”
Dwellings inspected and found to be healthy and safe would be recorded as “Rural Sustainable Structures” rather than “unpermitted.”
Visit www.hawaiisustainablecommunity.org. For directions to Friday’s meeting, please call 982-6755.
We can really use your help in making Hawaii more sustainable! If you have some time to get involved, we welcome you warmly to join us! We are currently looking for people to help with:
* Donations- Tell your friends, do a fundraiser! We can use help with supplies, advertising, and the expenses involved in lobbying. You can write us a check or send it by Paypal.
* Personal stories- how have you used sustainable practices? Have you run into any problems with the laws while doing so? Please write up your story for us. You can leave off your name if you feel more comfortable.
* Demonstration models for alternative housing- Did you build one? We would like to be able to show the lawmakers that alternatives can be safe and healthy.
* Advisory Board Members:
We need technical advisors like architects, legal counsel, licensed contractors and trade professionals like electricians, plumbers, alternative building supplies providers, people living in land based community, owners of organic farms, habitat for humanity employees, low income housing employees, recycling center employees, permaculture design people
* Specifically we would like to have:
A local Building Materials subcommittee to study what’s available
Advisory Building Safety subcommittee, including architects, realtors, contractors, suppliers
Public relations subcommittee
Legal Advisors Subcommittee
* More Board Members for our organization.
A teleseries of talks from leading Green pioneers.