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January 2007 - [Sustainable Concepts] Yurts and Student Housing
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Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter January 2007, vol. 46
in this issue
  • Yurts
  • Grand plans for student house project
  • Feedback
  •             

    Greetings!

    Happy New Year!
    Welcome to the January 2007 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "Man's heart away from nature becomes hard."
    - Standing Bear


    Lisa A. Swan

    Yurts

    ALEX AND SELENE Cole of South Mountain are sharing the ancient craft of yurt making. To the untrained eye, yurts look like fancy round tents, but as Wendy Elliott of the Kentville Advertiser and NovaNewsNow.com discovered, yurts go back 2,500 years to Mongolia and Kazakhstan and are still used today.

    The Coles learned how to make yurts while living in a sustainable arts community in Wales.

    "We spent much of our time building and helping others learn to build low impact shelters such as Celtic round houses, straw bale homes, green wood structures, compost toilets, teepees, and yurts," Mr. Cole told Ms. Elliott.

    "I guess itís fair to say we have a passion for ancient techniques," Ms. Cole said.

    While they can be used all year round, these days people often rent yurts for events such as weddings, dances and dinners.

    Since moving to Nova Scotia, Mr. Cole has been working with the N.S. Department of Natural Resources and the Nova Scotia Forest Alliance to use coppice and round wood production in the making of yurts to add value to hardwoods.

    "The tree never dies. Its shoots are ready every 15 years, so we can double the life of the tree," Mr. Cole explained.

    The couple will hold the next yurt-building weekend March 16-18.

    For more information on this ancient craft see www.lfy.ca.

    Article © Kim Kierans, The Halifax Herald Limited. Picture © The Industrial Physicist.

    Grand plans for student house project

    University of Waterloo School of Architecture students are continuing to make progress with some grand plans. The Grand House Student Co-operative Inc. intends to build a 12-bedroom sustainable student residence on a property in the area of Ainslie and Simcoe streets. The building will be 4,000 square feet and provide affordable accommodation, a common kitchen, living space and bathrooms.

    "We are moving along quickly," said executive director Chantal Cornu. "We're at the point of finalizing the design and putting it together."

    The goal, Cornu said, is to create a house that produces as much energy as it puts out, using solar panels, a green roof and a wastewater and grey water filtration/recycling system.

    "We're trying to be as conservative as we can be," she said. "We can really cut down on our heating costs and electricity use. It's a sustainable house."

    The project uses local materials - which have been donated whenever possible - and items that are environmentally friendly. Those involved - students and local professionals - continue to raise funds for the residence, through a Buy-A-Bale campaign. This campaign invites the community to support the project by purchasing a straw bale. The house will be of straw bale construction, which is a highly insulating, renewable, local resource.

    "We will be running the campaign through next summer," Cornu said. "People can purchase straw to support us, but we're switching more towards focusing on material donations now."

    Participants are looking to partner with local businesses to accumulate materials that can be used in the residence. For example, Grand House has already made arrangements to receive hardwood flooring from a school in Preston. The group will be looking for fixtures and a variety of other items that could be used for the house. A list of most-wanted materials will be available soon on the website.

    "We're moving ahead quickly and it's very exciting," Cornu said. "We're proud of how far we've come."

    Construction is expected to begin in the spring. For more information, visit www.grandhouse.wacsa.org.

    Article © Julianna Kerr, Cambridge

    Feedback

    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, the environment or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

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    Revised June 1, 2010