Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Business. Show all posts

Jan 16, 2014

Sustainable Housing: The Incredible Earthship

the Earthship

is the epitome of sustainable design and construction.

No part of sustainable living has been ignored in this ingenious building."

http://earthship.com/



       In this age of excess and overindulgence there are many who desire to return to a more simplistic and sustainable lifestyle. There are many ways to achieve this goal, and this month I will be dedicating my blogs to that end. Specifically, I will be focusing on the area of alternative and sustainable housing. This week features my personal favorite, the Earthship. Below is a short youtube video with a preview of this amazing idea. If you enjoyed the video, the full documentary explaining this innovation in housing can be found at http://www.garbagewarrior.com/


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Oct 29, 2013

Build a $300 Underground Greenhouse

Build a $300 underground greenhouse for year-round gardening (Video)

Kimberley Mok
Design / Green Architecture
February 22, 2013
Growers in colder climates often utilize various approaches to extend the growing season or to give their crops a boost, whether it's coldframeshoop houses or greenhouses.
Greenhouses are usually glazed structures, but are typically expensive to construct and heat throughout the winter. A much more affordable and effective alternative to glass greenhouses is the walipini (an Aymara Indian word for a "place of warmth"), also known as an underground or pit greenhouse. First developed over 20 years ago for the cold mountainous regions of South America, this method allows growers to maintain a productive garden year-round, even in the coldest of climates.
Here's a video tour of a walipini that even incorporates a bit of interior space for goats:


How a Walipini works and how to build one

© Benson Institute
It's a pretty intriguing set-up that combines the principles of passive solar heating with earth-sheltered building. But how to make one?From American sustainable agriculture non-profit Benson Institute comes this enlightening manual on how a walipini works, and how to build it:
The Walipini utilizes nature’s resources to provide a warm, stable, well-lit environment for year-round vegetable production. Locating the growing area 6’- 8’ underground and capturing and storing daytime solar radiation are the most important principles in building a successful Walipini.
The Walipini, in simplest terms, is a rectangular hole in the ground 6 ‛ to 8’ deep covered by plastic sheeting. The longest area of the rectangle faces the winter sun -- to the north in the Southern Hemisphere and to the south in the Northern Hemisphere. A thick wall of rammed earth at the back of the building and a much lower wall at the front provide the needed angle for the plastic sheet roof. This roof seals the hole, provides an insulating airspace between the two layers of plastic (a sheet on the top and another on the bottom of the roof/poles) and allows the sun's rays to penetrate creating a warm, stable environment for plant growth.
This earth-sheltered greenhouse taps into the thermal mass of the earth, so that much less energy is needed to heat up the walipini's interior than an aboveground greenhouse. Of course, there are precautions to take in waterproofing, drainage and ventilating the walipini, while aligning it properly to the sun -- which the manual covers in detail.
Best of all, according to the Benson Institute, their 20-foot by 74-foot walipnifield model out in La Paz cost around $250 to $300 only, thanks to the use of free labour provided by owners and neighbours, and the use of cheaper materials like plastic ultraviolet (UV) protective sheeting and PVC piping.
Cheap but effective, the underground greenhouse is a great way for growers to produce food year-round in colder climates. More over at the Benson Instituteand the Pure Energy Systems Wiki.

Oct 28, 2013

Disaster Preparedness Planning for Your Business


Businesses can do much to prepare for the impact of the many hazards they face in today’s world including natural hazards like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and widespread serious illness such as the H1N1 flu virus pandemic. Human-caused hazards include accidents, acts of violence by people and acts of terrorism. Examples of technology-related hazards are the failure or malfunction of systems, equipment or software.
Ready Business will assist businesses in developing a preparedness program by providing tools to create a plan that addresses the impact of many hazards. This website and its tools utilize an “all hazards approach” and follows the program elements within National Fire Protection Association 1600, Standard on Disaster/Emergency Management and Business Continuity Programs. NFPA 1600 is an American National Standard and has been adopted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
The five steps in developing a preparedness program are:
  • Program Management
    • Organize, develop and administer your preparedness program
    • Identify regulations that establish minimum requirements for your program
  • Planning
    • Gather information about hazards and assess risks 
    • Conduct a business impact analysis (BIA)
    • Examine ways to prevent hazards and reduce risks
  • Implementation
    Write a preparedness plan addressing:
    • Resource management
    • Emergency response
    • Crisis communications
    • Business continuity
    • Information technology
    • Employee assistance
    • Incident management
    • Training
  • Testing and Exercises
    • Test and evaluate your plan
    • Define different types of exercises
    • Learn how to conduct exercises
    • Use exercise results to evaluate the effectiveness of the plan
  • Program Improvement
    • Identify when the preparedness program needs to be reviewed
    • Discover methods to evaluate the preparedness program
    • Utilize the review to make necessary changes and plan improvements
This article was taken from Ready/FEMA and further information can be found at http://www.ready.gov/business.