I recently interviewed Alex Melamed and Andrew Kline of Green Generation Building in Yellow Springs, Ohio Here for an upcoming video story. They design and build highly insulated homes that meet the Passive House standard. A Passive House uses innovative construction techniques to keep itself warm in winter and cool in summer with almost no fuel. The initial cost … Continue reading The Passive House Movement: Super Insulation and Radically lower Energy Bills
Whether it’s an industrial accident that releases toxic chemicals into the water supply as happened in West Virginia in recent memory, or a Katrina or Hurricane Sandy type event, or the jolt of an earthquake in California, people very often find themselves without electricity, running water, natural gas, and many other supplies and services for a … Continue reading Emergency Preparation – Wherever You Live
I recently encountered an article on Apartment Therapy entitled, “What Are You Willing to Compromise for Location?” Here The article went on to list the many common indignities people endure in order to live in a fabulous city: multiple room mates, crazy high rents, satanic landlords, cramped windowless apartments and so on. The photo depicted my neighborhood … Continue reading What Are You Willing to Compromise for Location?
I travel frequently and one of my great laments is the way so many places around the world are focused on modern development at the expense of local heritage. Here’s an example from Beijing. This is a traditional hutong or courtyard house I once lived in. It’s 800 years old and has served as … Continue reading Beijing – Old and New
I’m a big fan of the concept of Economic Gardening which is the exact opposite of Economic Big Game Hunting. I’m also a big fan of Cincinnati. So I thought I’d use Cincy to demonstrate examples of various strategies for economic development. I should start by defining the terms here. Economic Gardening is the process of … Continue reading Economic Hunting and Gardening in Cincinnati
Here’s a little trend I’ve noticed as I travel around the country. As substantial numbers of both Millennials and Boomers continue to migrate away from car-dependent suburbs toward walkable mixed use neighborhoods there’s a matching shift in the quality of public schools and other city services. The photos above are an example. This 1950’s … Continue reading Public Schools: Rising and Falling
Jim Frasche has refined a low energy, low water, high productivity solar greenhouse that produces enough food year round to feed a family of four while generating enough cash flow to pay for the entire system. He initially created the system for Kabul, Afghanistan as part of the post war reconstruction effort and opium substitution … Continue reading Urban aquaponics: Small Scale High Value Efficient Local Agriculture