See also: MicroHouse

Chat September 6, 2007

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, have you had more thoughts about fabricating micro houses? yes, you wrote a proposal and I'm curious what next steps you are interested in? Steve Bosserman keeps pointing to this and I like his insight, but I think he's interested who might lead work on that? Steve is interested in microhouses but would rather coach than lead :: so we were in interested Jeff that you care about this.

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, what business opportunities do you see at our lab that we might pursue?

RickNelson: yes, Jeff I would like to talk more about the MicroHouse. I believe that such projects also can function as microHubs and micro unityCenters. I am going to be in Norway next week and an EcoCommunity near Oslo is planning to build a micro house.

Jefbuder: fabricating micro houses? yes the key is the skills and the money to experiment. right but it is not clear the steps forward. The Habitat 21 House at CalPoly Pomona offers a Ecofriendly Solution for Low Income Families

Jefbuder: ok and so has anyone cosnidered the DIY SOlar option which is similar.

AndriusKulikauskas: and also figuring out what should be purchased locally :: and what globally

Jefbuder: i am interested in how telecenters can be sustained. a telecenter is like a cybercafe except it has a community development mission. now my thought is that the DIY angle might be worth consider because that is closer to our network.

Jefbuder: so i guess my view would be to do research on each of the options and assign priorities based on what is most feasible :: facilitation. now my thought is that the DIY angle might be worth consider because that is closer to our network

AndriusKulikauskas: I'm trying to learn what each of us wants to do so that we can support each other

Jefbuder: to ask questions and provide resources :: and possibly to help with locating possible funders and assistance with proposal writing :: so we have considered various options :: i learn toward building on what has already been accomplished in our network in Kibera

AndriusKulikauskas: If I and Steve and you and Markus are all facilitators - and in some sense we all are - but then we don't have an endeavor

Jefbuder: which is primarily with Fre Ouki

Markus: well true

AndriusKulikauskas: but if we each have personal endeavors that we want to achieve, then we can facilitate each other

Markus: but i know that if you read MY FOOD STORY you will see

AndriusKulikauskas: so I'm trying to learn what each of us wants to do personally

Markus: one of my storiues lists RISK Solidarity Centre in Reading UK

Jefbuder: right we cant be much more than facilitators because we are not in the field :: in Kenya :: at least not righ now

Markus: it is one of these telecentres you talk of

AndriusKulikauskas: yes but I'm in Lithuania on the ground :: and I have my endeavors :: like the Flash drive editor for example

SteveB: And I'm on the ground in Columbus

AndriusKulikauskas: yes

Jefbuder: yes everyone has their agendas

AndriusKulikauskas: yes and that is what we want to learn

Markus: well I am connected to a project in Denmark :: maybe it will be a living for me

SteveB: and what is that project Markus?

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, Steve, Markus, Andrius - what are our agendas?

Markus: and I will be quite free with oit

Jefbuder: but the discussion we have had so far is focused on Kenya :: and Kibera in particular

AndriusKulikauskas: yes but they left and now we are discussing microhouses with Rick and Steve

Markus: but till I am based anywhere its hard to do the locla commuity stuff needed

Jefbuder: so regardless of our agendas we have consider the situation on the ground

Markus: and not just connects] :: and I will not do that till I am in a relationship

Jefbuder: I started discussing the microhouses and then the discussion drifted towards teh computers

Markus: I think

AndriusKulikauskas: well my wish is that we focus first on our own agendas :: so that we could be accountable to each other :: and supportive directly of each other :: because if we can't do that then we may be destructive to others who we intend to help

Jefbuder: that does not make sense to me

AndriusKulikauskas: why not?

SteveB: well markus i am going to be splitting my time between germany and columbus so i will have my feet on either side of the pond

Jefbuder: its the opposite

AndriusKulikauskas: please explain Jeff

Jefbuder: how can push your agendas on Kennedy and Sam

AndriusKulikauskas: I'm hoping we don't push our agendas :: so it's important that we make visible our agendas :: and then people can choose them or not :: and we can cooperate or not

SteveB: sounds like a definition of terms is in order, what do you mean by "agenda"?

AndriusKulikauskas: but if we don't have agendas :: or if they aren't visible :: then they can sneak in and they usually do :: but it confuses people :: and may pressure people

SteveB: for me an agenda is something i care about

AndriusKulikauskas: yes

Jefbuder: i feel this discussion is moot

SteveB: i need to know what others care about so i help them and they help me

AndriusKulikauskas: for me this is a central issue

Jefbuder: I dont feel there was any indication of pressue on Sam and Kennedy

AndriusKulikauskas: to know what people care about and can commit to :: I'm talking about us now :: what do we want to do?

Jefbuder: and I feel pressured now!

AndriusKulikauskas: well yes

Jefbuder: because you are not creating an open space for dialog

SteveB: i think this is called accountability, jeff

AndriusKulikauskas: no it's not entirely open :: it's focused

RickNelson: hi - I'm back and I would like to talk a bit about micohouse

AndriusKulikauskas: Hi Rick :: yes and Steve is here

RickNelson: Steve, that is your project?

SteveB: Hi Rick

RickNelson: Hi Steve, you are in Columbus

SteveB: i have a concept for microhouses that I am putting together for columbus

RickNelson: I will be in Ohio beginning of October

SteveB: we need to get you to columbus for sure :: jeff suggested you meet barry adler who has an interesting business concept :: i have others i would like you to meet as well :: the local high school has a program for seniors that teaches them green building techniques

Jefbuder: Yes Rick I thinik it would be great if you could meet with Barry and Steve in Columbus

SteveB: they actually build a home for a family to own like habitat for humanity

RickNelson: have a nephew that is getting married on 6th and my sister lives near Toledo

SteveB: toledo is two hours from me

Jefbuder: I also have sent an email to Scott Fossil in SF about your possible trip to CA :: Scott is director of Green Century Institute

Markus: i am off bye :: thanks for chat

Jefbuder: bye

SteveB: bye

AndriusKulikauskas: Markus, thank you

Markus: but its bit not focused to stuff ican contribute to now

Jefbuder: id loke to know more about ISOC grant for Africa

Markus: bye

RickNelson: cheers markus

AndriusKulikauskas: Markus if you have an artist for our video bridge on Sunday please let me know

RickNelson: I am still not too certain about getting down to Ca or Arizona but it is very tempting

Markus: jef sent you emails :: bye

Jefbuder: thanks a lot :: bye :: Rick tell me a date when you can be at Arcosanti :: I think it would be good for you to go there :: and we coiuld finally meet in person

RickNelson: Steve, I am going to build a small eco cabin in Norway and it is a "MicroHouse"

SteveB: is it your design?

RickNelson: I will really try to work things out to be able to get to Arizona and then it is a small hop over to SF

SteveB: jeff has a business concept for microhouses that he forwarded to GV last week have you had a chance to read it?

RickNelson: yes, I have a small ppt on the design - I have built it 30 years ago - was my first style of SolaRoof

Jefbuder: yes Rick

SteveB: do you have a URL for the .ppt?

Jefbuder: Did I send you the LaLoggia PDF

SteveB: uh I can't recall it :: but that doesn't mean anything I would forget my name if I wasn't on this call

Jefbuder: hehe sorry I meant to say Rick

SteveB: Ohhhh. OK

Jefbuder: the project is for a biointegrated greenhouse at Arcosanti :: that has been talked about for many years but never acted upon :: so that maybe can tie us to the microhouse discussion

SteveB: jeff, what about your business concept? That is important place to start I think

Jefbuder: my thought is that we would not development stage funding

RickNelson: no, I have not posted except at files section of SolaRoof yahoogroups, which is private - you need to join to see files :: i can send you by email

SteveB: OK if I join? :: thanks!

RickNelson: yes go ahead at solaroof-subscribe AT

AndriusKulikauskas: Steve has zoomed in on the importance of microhouses :: but now we're wondering I think where to go with his insight :: I told Steve that our lab can't do much unless there is a person who cares about that of their own :: and so we halted there but Jeff responded with a proposal :: so we were happy about that, but that's where we are now

RickNelson: the file is called ControlledEnvironmentModule.ppt

AndriusKulikauskas: So I'm trying to understand us, what each of us wants

SteveB: my concept of a microhouse is that it is portable, affordable, modular, can be manufactured close to the point of construction, and is easily maintained

AndriusKulikauskas: so that if we work openly I can try to pursue a related business opportunity

Jefbuder: ok well i dont see the microhouse concept developing until there is investment to develop a proot of concept :: that is a small ecovillage

AndriusKulikauskas: I would engage the existing small house community

SteveB: there are many microhouses out there, but none that meet all my requirements

Jefbuder: and that the ecovillage would develop some kind of solaroof farming system

AndriusKulikauskas: my own interest here would most likely be to document a pattern language of what's been working

Jefbuder: and so we would give the project say 1-3 year to turn a profit

SteveB: there is a market right here in columbus for such a microhouse

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, I think that's one route, but

SteveB: what i need is a design to work with

Jefbuder: and then it could develop as one of it businesses a system of producing these houses

RickNelson: a microhouse can provide individual freedom to live sustainably without needing an "EcoCommunity" to form first

SteveB: where' :: where's an architect when you need one

Jefbuder: i am sure but that is one model which makes the most sense to me

AndriusKulikauskas: I can invest a bit of my energy for free if I understand what you or Steve or Rick would like to achieve here :: and I can also encourage people at our lab to care

RickNelson: no, a microhouse can be built without an ecocommunity to back it

AndriusKulikauskas: if there are people "working for free" in this direction :: to make it happen.

Jefbuder: sure anything can be built without a community

SteveB: I concur with rick it can. We need a design

Jefbuder: i am just outlining my direction :: in a way that makes sense to me

AndriusKulikauskas: So I'm trying to understand what we personally would like to dream and achieve.

SteveB: then, with the design we can engage people in building it

RickNelson: only 2% of alll buildings are built by architects

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, Steve, likewise I might ask you the same, what are we dreaming that we would like to achieve?

SteveB: in fact I can work with the school to teach kids how to build it

RickNelson: we need a proven DIY method like the settlers and pioneers used

SteveB: why would we want to throw away all of that computerized design technology?

RickNelson: yes, children and youth can build and learn to be self reliant

SteveB: i also want them to understand the significance of current and future technology

Jefbuder: sure anything can be built without a community but is really sustainable in terms of how we seem to evolving as a network?

SteveB: community comes about by people working together to achieve what is collectively important to them that they care about :: it is not an intellectual exercise

AndriusKulikauskas: yes, and community comes in different scale :: which include family, extended family, a circle of friends :: or even a group within a community

SteveB: give me a design and let's start building the homes so that young people gain the experience

AndriusKulikauskas: and very rarely is it the entire community

SteveB: I concur, Andrius :: we have to start from where we are and go from there :: we each have different realities and different starting points

AndriusKulikauskas: Steve, you would like to see a basic design that people could build, yes, either by themselves or get from others or some combination, yes? :: Kind of like a "log cabin"?

SteveB: but we can help one another and learn from one another as we each do what we do :: Tiny Homes is an example of what you are saying :: it is literally a wooden home on wheels

AndriusKulikauskas: And I am seeing that that could be a key piece of a pattern language that it works within, which I suppose is compatible. :: Steve, what size of house are you thinking, and estimated cost?

SteveB: Jay Schafer is the designer he works in the bay area

Jefbuder: So I guess my goal is to create a center starting out with 10-15 people :: in which the idea of the microhome idea will be experimented upon

SteveB: the size is 10 feet x 10 feet and is a module to which other modules can be easily added

Jefbuder: as has been done at Acrcosanti

SteveB: the 10 x 10 is self-contained

AndriusKulikauskas: that's helpful, Jeff! and are you focused on a single place, a network of places, or a design for a place?

Jefbuder: many of us going through the workshop program lived in 10 by 10s :: but they were not selfcontained

SteveB: I saw such a creature in munich last month

RickNelson: that is about the size of the solaroof structure that I built way back when and it is described in the file that I posted

SteveB: but it was EXPENSIVE

Jefbuder: the structure was made out of concrete with wood frame roof

SteveB: and it was not manufacturable locally

Jefbuder: modular concrete tilt up panels

AndriusKulikauskas: Steve, what price are you aiming for?

SteveB: if we could get it to be not more than $20K that would be great

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, what is your dream in this mesh of dreams?

RickNelson: my approach was wood frames with plywood skin and urethane insulation sheeting

AndriusKulikauskas: Steve, that sounds like a great goal that we can work towards. :: And affordable even in places like Lithuania or even Nairobi.

RickNelson: I would hope to build an example near Oslo that can go through the winter producing fresh veg and all the solar heating needed

SteveB: I think we can adapt Jeff's business concept to these criteria and have a more detailed set of objective

Jefbuder: so has anyone put anything together in terms of research or a proposal besides me?

SteveB: and yes they could be built ANYWHERE by nearly ANYONE :: why do we need more research

RickNelson: my approach is to have a guest room in this micohouse that can be hired out to ecoguests

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, this is what I have done so far with STeve:

RickNelson: this is the EcoBnB business model

SteveB: My thought too, Rick

RickNelson: many people would be happy to stay and learn for a week or more

AndriusKulikauskas: but my wish now is to understand us as people, what might be natural for us to commit ourselves to

SteveB: that would be one of the extra modules to attach to the basic structure 10x10

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, what is it that you would seek to do different than is the case at Arcosanti?

SteveB: depending upon one's circumstances there would be different modules available

RickNelson: well my module has a 10 x 10 cross section but can be 16 or 24 feet long etc

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, so you are focusing on the EcoBnB model, yes? and you are building a place in Malaysia and you want to see a network of such places, yes?

SteveB: oh yes, one other point, the building much meet building codes

AndriusKulikauskas: and what does it take, Rick, to be considered part of your network of EcoBnB ? what is essential?

RickNelson: in Malaysia it will be a large scale EcoBnB

SteveB: Rick can you post the EcoBnB design? or is it already theres

Jefbuder: Arcosanti is not really sustainable and so working with them to build LaLoggia might be an opportunity :: but it would be a major project that may not really be relevant to the discussion here

RickNelson: I would like to see an Open Network of such EcoBnB of all sizes and types

SteveB: i want to build one in my back yard

RickNelson: yes, that's what I did and then I moved it twice

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick what defines a EcoBnB for you?

Jefbuder: but in relation to your question the Arcosanti project is not designed to really consider the needs of the people there

SteveB: that's the reason why it has to be portable!

RickNelson: picked up and placed on a flat bed trailer

Jefbuder: it is not affirming the idea of community

RickNelson: the BnB model is a micro tourism thing and so the EcoBnB is giving the small enterprise a bit more to work with :: these are usually family businesses

SteveB: communities and small businesses - family businesses in particular go together

RickNelson: I am especially interested to create an ethical business model that partners local family with wes/north family

SteveB: my interest in building one in my backyard is to meet family needs, which is another building block in community :: I like you idea, Rick

RickNelson: so, investment funds come from the wealthy country and local culture and connection from the partnering with a natiaonal of the place where the EcoBnB is established

Jefbuder: So we all have limited time

RickNelson: thus small business EcoTourism is more development friendly to areas depending on tourism for development

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, so you are interested in a center with 10 to 15 people, yes? and do you want to live there for life, or just help it get started, and I imagine it's one of a network, yes?

Jefbuder: i would never say life for life until i saw the place

RickNelson: Jeff could you see such a center created from a cluster of micro houses

Jefbuder: the key for me is to consider what is the most realistic step in that process of building a community center/ecovillage whatever

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, sure. And do you know where in the world you would like to live?

Jefbuder: i would not want to do it as just my homestead in other words

AndriusKulikauskas: I imagine realistic steps include - finding the people who you want to do this with

SteveB: jeff, you can come to columbus!

AndriusKulikauskas: - knowing what are the outlines of your dream, like where in the world it might be?

Jefbuder: i have consider CA in SF area and Arizona

RickNelson: i would like to think in terms of a network of EcoCommunities and EcoBnB are just one type of transition

AndriusKulikauskas: so you are thinking of the US instead of Africa? :: Rick, yes, but I'm trying to understand each of us in our own terms

Jefbuder: i dont see myself as spending my life in Africa

AndriusKulikauskas: first and then we should all fit naturally I think :: Jeff, that's great for me to learn - it's a key thing to know

RickNelson: what is successful in USA can be replicated around the world because we will always use affordable design

AndriusKulikauskas: but Jeff, you would like to travel and help people in different places yes?

Jefbuder: yes

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, it's not just about design but maybe more about the culture and the people

Jefbuder: if thats possible

AndriusKulikauskas: and understanding ourselves and others

RickNelson: da, I think I know that

AndriusKulikauskas: yes! :: but we haven't emphasized the personal factor in our lives very much

RickNelson: but the how to make a transition is what is holding back everybody

AndriusKulikauskas: well, for example, I'm in Lithuania where I want to be :: and you are headed for Malaysia :: so those are first steps :: and now in Lithuania I am asking myself fresh, where in Lithuania do I want to be?

Jefbuder: good point

RickNelson: that is why the EcoBnB is interesting because it offers a good and viable personal enterprise that enables trasnsition to sustainable living

AndriusKulikauskas: I have been in the Pavilnys neighborhood for about nine years and I would like to still have a base here so where fighting for that :: but I would like to have a network of bases in Lithuania :: that I could travel among :: and if I start a family then I will decide then where to settle down :: so here in Pavilnys we're now organizing a "putsch" of the local community organization :: and that's the kind of "global villages" question that's relevant for us now.

RickNelson: so, get some people interested in ecotourism and as a business model they can adopt the EcoBnB as a way forward

AndriusKulikauskas: Just like in Nairobi the question is getting an apartment. :: We have some people who are doing ecotourism and that is one part of the network, yes, but there are others.

RickNelson: to the extent that we invest in conventional living space we are not changing and we remain as part of the problem

AndriusKulikauskas: I'm just saying that so many questions come up but each of us brings an angle :: and we can understand that angle if we understand each of us :: personally what are we visioning and achieving and how does that relate to our own lives :: so that our examples are evident and we're not imposing on other people instead.

RickNelson: we need a MOVEment to establish EcoLiving -we need to give people a taste for it by offering teh EcoBnB experience

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, yes, so that is very helpful that you contribute that angle and that logic. :: And my wish is as we are doing in this chat to discover Steve's and Jeff's angles :: and I'm starting to understand little by little

SteveB: Gentlemen, I need to exit. You have my angle already, Andrius. This has been VERY helpful to me. THANKS!

RickNelson: it is a big personal step to decide to sell our home and that the next step is a self build project to live in an EcoBnB

AndriusKulikauskas: Great, Steve, thank you!

Jefbuder: yes I need to go also

AndriusKulikauskas: Thank you, Jeff, for chatting.

SteveB: And Rick please stay in touch about the OH trip

RickNelson: the EcoBnB part of that step is a natural desire to share the experience

Jefbuder: Well Rick possibly I could go to Malayasia for training :: if you proceed as planned :: is that something you would be open to?

RickNelson: hope to talk again soon Steve :: yes, that is part of the plan - to build a network of these kind of projects

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, I hope we chat more about your dream - are you interested to join an existing group, or assemble a new group? and what is the business opportunity that you would pursue

Jeff: i got bumped out

RickNelson: people will stay at an EcoBnB to be certified to build one of their own

AndriusKulikauskas: Jeff, I hope we chat more about your dream - are you interested to join an existing group, or assemble a new group? and what is the business opportunity that you would pursue

Jeff: ok

AndriusKulikauskas: then we can keep organizing around you :: and perhaps help assemble people :: or engage people :: Rick, what business opportunities do you see for EcoBnB for our lab do you think? :: How might we work for you or your clients or with you?

RickNelson: i have expressed my hope that Jeff will be a leader in the USA with SolaRoof enterprise opportunities :: it is a question of building, gaining experience and then replication

AndriusKulikauskas: I think Steve was thinking similarly that perhaps Jeff and his ecovillage could be a center for construction

RickNelson: the methods are very adaptable to different climates and culture

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, I am thinking of engaging the "small house" community to document a pattern language of what works :: and I'm wondering if that might fit with your EcoBnB vision and if you have ideas on business opportunities that I might pursue

RickNelson: I think that the time will be right soon for some ecovillage to go ahead in the USA and with Jeff having a lead role - what you say Jeff

AndriusKulikauskas: Rick, what defines "EcoBnB" for you, as the common denominator? :: so for example if I go to the small house people and say, hey, join this network, :: what would that mean? :: it would mean that people can stay with them

RickNelson: that is a very good question and I think that an open source and networking community can set standards for self regulation

AndriusKulikauskas: and I suppose it would mean that people who stay there would learn something about ecological living :: and that the hosts themselves are ever learning about ecological living :: that might be sufficient?

RickNelson: they would all be working day in and day out on the best practice of such EcoLiving

AndriusKulikauskas: maybe "day in and day out" is not the minimal expectation? :: but rather they are always learning?

RickNelson: also, by having guests who live-in and study each project spreads the know-how

AndriusKulikauskas: as Samwel Kongere talks about, "knowledge based approach", where every matter is related to learning? :: yes

RickNelson: right

AndriusKulikauskas: If we defined the network simply like that, then many people would qualify :: and the network would allow for a lot of learning.

RickNelson: and it is a good income for a good value

AndriusKulikauskas: For example, it could be a subgroup of :: and perhaps a further requirement

RickNelson: income when the guests are western/northern travelers

AndriusKulikauskas: is that each participant is somehow documenting what they are doing and learning :: in their daily lives :: Another idea that came up regarding Nairobi

RickNelson: they will sometimes be volunteer travelers who also lend some of their time and skills to local community development

AndriusKulikauskas: because many travelers will stay for free as is the case of :: and they stay without any requirements :: but in parallel with that :: there could be "time shares" :: where for example people might pay 100 USD :: for the right to stay for a week :: and they might sell that or give that to others (upon approval) :: so I proposed that and I wonder if you think it might work?

RickNelson: yes, I see a business model where EcoTourists or EcoGuests will also invest as ethical investors in the EcoBnB network :: it is a good model for sustainable tourism developement

AndriusKulikauskas: How do the investments work?

RickNelson: and it can be owned by local families instead of foreign hotel chains

AndriusKulikauskas: How does the return on the investment work?

RickNelson: like you have said a certain number of "weeks" owned per year in the EcoBnB network

AndriusKulikauskas: Yes, I am looking for ways that avoid commitments to pay "interest". :: So the investment might work - if it is large - that you own a share in the home/land, so if it sold you get your share.

RickNelson: and such investment would also allow that person to move along in the organization to become an EcoBnB owner

AndriusKulikauskas: And you may sell or give your share to another (upon approval) :: and you get dividends in the form of "timeshares" that you can give or sell.

RickNelson: there is a very successful business model for selling guest rooms to investors

AndriusKulikauskas: And so that makes for an investment with return but without interest. :: That's interesting. :: And do they live in the guest rooms? or rent them?

RickNelson: yes, the interest is a negative and should not creep into the program :: see: :: this is not a program for sustainable development - it is just an example of how powerfully successful this business model can be :: so an EcoBnB timeshare investment would be very attractive and very secure as a financial vehicle for investors

AndriusKulikauskas: I see, that makes sense :: and it's nice that it's working :: What else should we discuss?

RickNelson: but even better if they wish to ethically support this direction of development and to perhaps go into this business enterprise themselves at some point

AndriusKulikauskas: I'm glad that you could engage Steve and Jeff and me :: Yes I think it's good for people to care about the business

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