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The Week in Sustainable Design
Jamais Cascio, 9 Jan 05

Book: Earthbag BuildingEach week, Justin Thomas of Metaefficient gives us a peek into new finds in sustainable design. Metaefficient "searches out products that we believe are more effective and healthier for individuals and the world, yet are comparable in price to mainstream products." We're glad to feature the best of what Justin's found lately, here on Worldchanging:

Earthbag Building

What is Earthbag Building? Well, plainly enough, it's a method of building using bags filled with earth.

This newly released book, Liquid Gold,is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with earthbags.

Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this "Flexible Form Rammed Earth Technique" over the last decade. A reliable method for constructing homes, outbuildings, garden walls and much more, this enduring, tree-free architecture can also be used to create arched and domed structures of great beauty ó in any region, and at home, in developing countries, or in emergency relief work.

More about Earthbag Building.

Lead-Free Garden Hoses


Some garden hoses leach lead and other chemicals into the water. The problem is that they are made of PVC, which uses lead as a stabilizer. Consumer Reports tested 16 brands of garden hose sold at national chains and on the internet. In some hoses they measured 10 to 100 times more lead than the EPA considers safe coming out of a faucet. The hoses they found to be lead-free are: Gardener's Supply Company Hose, Teknor Apex Boat & Camper Self-Straightening Hose, Swan Marine/Camper Hose and the Better Homes and Gardens Kink-Free Hose. Also available is the Handi-Hose (pictured above) which is a compact flat hose, approved by the NSF and FDA for drinking water.

Using Urine to Grow Plants

Using Urine to Grow PlantsThis book, Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants, by Carol Steinfeld explains how urine can be utilized as a resource! Urine contains most of the nutrients in domestic wastewater and usually carries no disease risk. Starting with a short history of urine use — from ritual to medicinal to even culinary — Liquid Gold shows how urine is used worldwide to grow food and landscapes, while protecting the environment, saving its users the cost of fertilizer, and connecting people to the nutrient cycles that sustain them.


Home Page: Liquid Gold

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Anna Edey of Solviva has a presentation on all the nutrients in urine and feces that we just flush down the toilet. She would break it down into pounds of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and estimate dollar amounts. My friends at Videosphere have a tape of one such presentation that she did on Martha's Vineyard a few years ago when they were discussing how to deal with their sewage treatment problems.

Posted by: gmoke on 9 Jan 05



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