House of The Future

Storm Talifero - Sunday, March 30, 2008

Once you change your inner environment by becoming a raw vegan, then the next thing that you are very likely going to want to do is change your outer environment by living an organic lifestyle. What this means to me is that you are going to want to shift over to all organic clothing, and an organic house. As the human collective consciousness moves in that direction we are starting to see the lines become blurred by corporations wanting to cash in on people's desire to eat better and create a more balanced relationship to the earth.

I know that this is really true in the labeling of foods. It is still not required by law to state if a food has been cooked or if it is raw. And a lot of foods are labeled raw that have been in fact heated to 118 degrees. And now I'm starting to see the same level of confusion in the concept of green sustainable building. It is such a new concept in building that it is still in the process of being defined.

The organic raw diet is the most expensive diet in the world. Everyone wants to cash in on the organic prices that are commanded by organic foods. So when you ask farmers if their produce is raw they will almost always respond “We are not certified but we don't use any sprays or pesticides”. (They leave out the fact that they use chemical fertilizers). And then they proceed to charge you organic prices.

In green architecture we are starting to hear phrases like “wood from sustainable sources” which means that it is from a forest farm. When we lived on Vancouver Island in a little logging town we got to see first hand the effects of clear cut logging. And when they replanted they would always use pine. Pine is cheap and it grows really fast. But what was happening was that they would cut down a diverse forest of Maples, Oaks, Douglas Fir, and then replant it with only white Pine. This wood grew faster but it was not as strong, and structures built with this would not last as long.

Or you will hear concepts like “we are not going to cut down any more of the old growth redwood trees but we will harvest the fallen logs”. The fallen logs play a huge part in the eco-system of the forest. As a home designer I love the warmth of wood. But I now do all of my designing wood-free. It takes a lot of effort to create a house that is both warm and at the same time free of all wooden products. I think that it is imperative that we stop building houses with wood. It is totally unnecessary.

Not only is the Great Northwestern Rain Forest disappearing at a faster rate than the Amazon, but the chemicals used to preserve the wood are known to contain cancer causing substances. For more information on just how the toxins in wood leach deadly poison into our living space over periods of time of even up to fifteen years, please refer to the website listed below.

So, what is the house of the future going to be like? There have been many green technological breakthroughs that we have not acted upon to the fullest of our abilities. And that is the purpose of building the Raw Vegan Village in Ojai California. We would like to showcase as many of these technologies as possible in practical applications. For me, sustainable is defined by having a house built out of renewable materials but after the house is finished it must also be able to sustain us. It must have its own water source, have a 12 month growing season, be able to totally generate it's own electricity and produce enough energy to run a car.

Honda recently came out with a hydrogen fuel cel car that will go on the market in California in June. For more information check out this link.

Honda is also developing a home hydrogen production system. To me this is huge because it means that we can totally draw all of our energy needs directly from the sun. Oil, gas, natural gas, nuclear power plants, and coal power plants are all obsolete technologies. I mean, isn't this what we have all been waiting for? Hydrogen is the most abundant element on our planet. When you run a hydrogen fuel cel car, the exhaust is drinkable water. The thing that amazes me the most is that this breakthrough technology is receiving so little press. If all the major rooftop areas in our cities were covered with solar panels, this alone could take care of a major portion of our energy needs. This in fact is being developed in California!

It is our intention to bring all of these technologies together under one roof so to speak in the Raw Vegan Village. We want to create our dwellings out of materials that are totally inert and stable. We also want these dwellings to have the highest possible insulation factor. I think that we can achieve this by using a combination of polystyrene foam as a core sandwiched in-between two concrete walls with rebar. This makes for a house that is fire proof, earthquake proof and hurricane proof. The only problem with these houses is that they tend to be a little cold looking. But I think that with the addition of stone work and huge windows as well as bamboo flooring these type of house can easily become the house of the future.

Green Designer: Storm Talifero.