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Irresistible Community Builders, LLC presents: Creating A New Model

By Tom Braford

What will it take to create an Ecovillage community that is a model for affordable, energy-efficient community development?

We are renovating a row of 100+-year-old commercial buildings to include for-sale and for-rent residential space, shared common space and various types of commercial space.

While we are working to raise the investment we need to start the full renovation, how can we get things started?

What if we could qualify for an occupancy permit under our current H Commercial zoning? Ironically, it allows for anything from light industrial up to single-family housing.

Our RIBS building system is based on proven engineering theory, which gives us huge flexibility to design and start using prototypes to enclose the first neighborhood as an interim use manufacturing facility for the rest of the project.

We will need to enclose the site with materials that are acceptable for a manufacturing or warehouse facility, including very inexpensive and durable clear corrugated acrylic panels.

Next, we will install bathrooms with shower facilities. What if we started with those already planned for the health spa in the basement of the Atrium building?

A large wood-fired boiler with a syngas and biochar maker will give us a source of hot water that can be effectively piped anywhere in the building, as well as syngas to power a generator until we have solar, wind and fuel cell power. We already have three phase, grid-connected power at the site that we can use until the new system is in place.

The wood fuel will come from waste from the manufacture of our coffered ceiling product, which makes it possible to create affordable, energy efficient hydronic cooling, as well as heating.

If you are intrigued by this new model and you would like to live in community or just learn some rehab skills, you could work for equity and training. You could even end up with an ecological space to live in and a new green career. Eventually, you might become one of the owners of a co-op business.

Join us for a potluck lunch and discussion at the Ecovillage at noon on September 21.
Contact: braford@sbcglobal.net, www.ArizmendiEcovillage.com.

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