April 17th, 2009

Ann Vole

Cooperatives, condos and Communism

"Size does matter" and "bigger is better" can be true with alternate energy, building design, replacements for utilities, and food production. To make that work though does not necessarily require communism or equality and the resulting loss of freedoms. The condominium concept is that you own the actual suite but must follow the rules and pay the fees made for the condominium complex. I think a cooperative business model can best allow for both the freedoms of the owners and the benefits of shared resources. Next is the controls over the socialist powers of the cooperative which can be done using a franchise system for the creation and maintenance of the cooperative system. The franchise will determine the procedures and scope of the decision making process and financial accountability so the cooperatives have the freedom to make local adjustments but have the security of a proven system that banks and condo owners need to back the system. The franchise can in turn be run by a non-profit organization built with a board composed of representatives of each cooperative (with such representatives being elected by the owners of each cooperative). This makes a triune of different kinds of power which each police the other two in some way. I may still make changes to this system but basically, this is what I hope to establish first then once that is established and organizations registered, I can then form a cooperative to buy the first house, the one I am buying from my parents. (I would obviously start out with all or most of the shares in the cooperative). To make the organizations work though, I will need a few people to compose the boards of the organizations until a wider selection of people can get involved.
Ann Vole

Engineers, architects, and the missing links

In making a film, we have producers that organize the people and resources, directors that decide how the film will look and a Director Of Photography (DOP) that does the technical stuff to make the director's vision happen within the producer's budget of resources The editor actually designs the more mechanical aspects of the film in pacing and story structure. In building design, an engineer makes sure the building is strong and safe kind of like a film editor. The architect provides the vision of how the building is going to look and work much like a film director. General contractors will organize resources like a film producer. What seems to be missing is someone in charge of the technical aspects of energy efficiency, utility and flow (much like a DOP makes special effects work in a film). Engineers and architects do some of that job but not very well. These factors have little to do with how structurally sound a building is (engineer's job), how it will look (architect's job) or even much effect on the general contractor's job. There seems to be no distinct category for such a job yet that job is a critical aspect to an energy self-sufficient home. When looking for books on the topic, all I get is an engineer's too-scientific specifications on theoretical design formulas, architectural post-modern visions of houses nobody would want built on their street, or general contractors saying that if you cannot buy the equipment with a guarantee, don't install it. The very few books that explain how passive heating and cooling or alternatives to various appliances are designed are not technical enough for engineers to use, lacking images and parameters for architects to work with and design parameters and supplier names for general contractors to use. The closest thing to this missing job title is the industrial instrumentation technologists used in large projects. I took industrial instrumentation technology for my first attempt at post-secondary education but the course was tailored mostly for the oil and gas industry rather then for building sciences. Most of my book content for "alternate energy" stuff will be industrial instrumentation technology applied to building science for engineers, architects, and general contractors to use to understand the job of this missing job title... of for them to assume the duties of that job title.
Ann Vole

(no subject)

There is an option other then population reduction for helping wildlife: promote urban societies and promote minimal environmental footprint within those urban areas. I am not talking "urban sprawl" either... we need more people per acre/hectare and as much non-living area as possible to be greenhouse or garden use. Most wildlife cannot handle even a single paved road or one farm field anywhere near their home or migration route. The same goes for humans with the wildlife that needs the most amount of area, the large carnivores. Bears, big cats, wolves, even elephants are a threat to human safety so either the people go or the animals go. People have an option (cities) but the animals need vast space without humans or they need to be treated like domestic animals living in zoos. Move to an apartment and grow your own food if you really want to help wildlife. Also note that golf courses in the country and ski resorts are one of the worst things for the wildlife in Canada (for an example I know about) where all the traffic and all the extra human activity creates thousands of square miles of wilderness that lacks animals and thousands of euthanized animals who try to continue to live where humans have taken over. New building designs have shown that skyscrapers can be made energy self-sufficient (some even make more energy then they use to go back to the electrical grid) and I have personally proven to myself that I can grow my own food within a very small indoor space. If I can build my very large automated greenhouse for feeding several million rodents, I can show how cities can become food-self-sufficient too eliminating much of the human farming we do as well. Living within walking distance of your work would be the final step to having a very low environmental impact.