MCNZH - Progress (part 3) - windows, front porch posts

James Howard Kunstler says that we need to start building spaces that are worth caring about and living in. When we put up cheap, ugly buildings, as we so often do in Edmonton, we make our communities and homes less worth respecting and cherishing. Reinforcing this idea is Susan Susanka, author of the much acclaimed book The Not So Big House, who says that "a house that favors quality of design over quantity of space satisfies people far more than...those characteristics in  reverse."  read more... »

Learning from Water

During a break in today’s workshop on multi-party collaboration, Acting in Concert, a colleague spotted the following graph on my laptop screen. 

“Is that a graph of our progress in environmental protection?” he asked me. I explained that it’s a graph of the 40-year downward trend in frequency of dental cavities.  read more... »

Indian Tomato Rice Soup (or, Cooking With November Garden Greens)

Indian Tomato Rice Soup

I'm always on the lookout for vegetarian recipes that can be made with local organic ingredients. When I get to eat straight from my garden, especially in November, I get even more excited. The rice aspect of this soup isn't so local, but I always use leftover rice, so I'm reducing food waste. Plus, it's shipped dry (from California), so the calories per gallon of diesel fuel ratio is pretty high (I can say things like that because it's already well established that I'm the world's biggest eco-nerd).  read more... »

Foundation Walls

The MCNZH foundation. The rectangle that's jutting out is the cold room, located under the front steps/landing.

A frequently asked question regarding the Mill Creek NetZero Home (MCNZH) is: "Why didn't you use Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs) for the foundation walls?".  The short answer is: "using traditional concrete forms and innovative insulating techniques, we can achieve a much higher R-value for less money".  read more... »