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Natural Building & Design on Kuthumba

Exploring Green Building

The philosophical dimension of sustainability is basically about balance - balancing care for the earth with care for our fellow humans. This involves a recognition that at a basic level we are all equal. We have rights to live peaceably and fruitfully on the earth and have duties to work towards an equitable use of the earth's resources. There is only so much land and there are only so many physical resources. History tells us that people, deprived of their fair share, sooner or later fight for it, trashing nature even more in the process.

As we move from the philosophical to the practical level we become aware that what constitutes a sustainable way of life reaches into every corner and touches every decision we make. This comes home particularly when we contemplate the formation of a new building and a new community.

The sheer complexity and level of understanding and awareness required to be true to the underlying philosophy is daunting. Many faint hearts don't even try.

At Kuthumba each of us has come to the land with our own approach to the sustainability agenda. But without exception we are all fired by the essential core principle of a commitment to a vision of sustainability which strikes a cord deep within us.

NATURAL BUILDING AND DESIGN ON KUTHUMBA

EXPLORING GREEN BUILDING

The philosophical dimension of sustainability is basically about balance - balancing care for the earth with care for our fellow humans. This involves a recognition that at a basic level we are all equal. We have rights to live peaceably and fruitfully on the earth and have duties to work towards an equitable use of the earth's resources. There is only so much land and there are only so many physical resources. History tells us that people, deprived of their fair share, sooner or later fight for it, trashing nature even more in the process.

As we move from the philosophical to the practical level we become aware that what constitutes a sustainable way of life reaches into every corner and touches every decision we make. This comes home particularly when we contemplate the formation of a new building and a new community.

The sheer complexity and level of understanding and awareness required to be true to the underlying philosophy is daunting. Many faint hearts don't even try.

At Kuthumba each of us has come to the land with our own approach to the sustainability agenda. But without exception we are all fired by the essential core principle of a commitment to a vision of sustainability which strikes a cord deep within us.

 

PRINCIPLES OF GREEN BUILDING ?

Because of the complexity of the issues it is useful to group consideration of green building elements under four headings. These are set out below with examples of the sorts of green building measures that can be taken under each of the headings:

The Principles of Green Building

1) REDUCING ENERGY IN USE
    For example:
    * Use of maximum possible low embodied energy insulation, but with good ventilation
    * Use of low energy lighting and electrical appliances
    * Use of efficient, low pollution heating
    * Make use of passive and active solar energy wherever feasible
    * Use passive and natural ventilation systems rather that mechanical

2) REDUCING EMBODIED ENERGY AND RESOURCE DEPLETION
    For example:
    * Use locally sourced materials, which aids the local economy as well as minimising transport costs and effects
    * Use materials found on site. Keep your eyes open for useful things in your environment
    * Minimise use of imported materials
    * Use materials from sustainable managed sources as far as possible and keep the use of materials from non renewable sources to a minimum
    * Keep high embodied materials to a minimum
    * Use second hand/recycled materials where appropriate
    * Re-use existing buildings and structures instead of always assuming that new buildings are required

3) MINIMISING EXTERNAL POLLUTION AND ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
    For example:
    * Design in harmonious relationship with the surroundings
    * Avoid destruction of natural habitats
    * Re-use rain water on site
    * Treat and recycle waste water if possible
    * Try to minimise extraction of materials unless good environmental controls exist and avoid materials which produce damaging chemicals as a by product
    * Re-use waste materials on site as far as possible

4) MINIMISING INTERNAL POLLUTION AND DAMAGE TO HEALTH
    For example:
    * Use non toxic material or low emission materials
    * Avoid fibres from insulation materials getting into the atmosphere
    * Ensure good natural ventilation
    * Reduce dust and allergens
    * Reduce impact of electromagnetic fields in the building and create a positive character in the building and its relationship with the site