Archive for the ‘Sustainability’ Category

Efficiency & Pride

It has been over a week since my entry into Swiss society and there are two words instantly come to mind, Efficiency and Pride. The public transportation system is the most efficient I have ever seen and the timeliness of the meetings makes me rethink my own level of efficiency (originally thinking it was high). The clock strikes the meeting hour and surprisingly it starts…talk about Swiss efficiency. However, not everything is precisely scheduled, the quality time spent socializing with both familiar and unfamiliar faces is limitless and speaks mounds of the dedication of Swiss society to maintain social sustainability. When asking a Swiss native, this appears to be something they are truly proud of (Please correct me if I am wrong).

           Speaking of something to be proud of pride…Switzerland’s focus on ‘Strong Sustainability’ (i.e. the focus on sustainability of the natural environment, society, and the economy) is astounding, something like I would have never imagined. In discussions with Swiss natives and via personal observation, it is evident that this is something that has been generally accepted by the people (of course with the help of government regulations). One thing to note is a comment made by UniBasel’s Rector Loprieno in which he discussed Switzerland’s large financial commitment to sustainability and energy efficiency efforts in recent times, this is unprecedented. I applaud their efforts and look forward to following their ‘strong sustainability’ initiatives, features, and processes development, and Switzerland’s response to the global sustainable initiative.

DON’T BUILD YOUR HOME – GROW IT! – Mitchell Joachim discusses ancient ‘Pleaching’ for homes

Think about it, you can train your environment to be your home, you eliminate carbon footprint and you don’t have to worry about the ‘awful’ engineers, architects and contractors. It may take awhile to have your home constructed, but think of the economic savings and the ability to be self sufficient as you live, work and feed off of your home. It’s essentially the elements of life wrapped into one.

I found this very interesting as presented in one of my classes and thought it may be interesting to share. ENJOY!

Dan Phillips – Material Reclamation for Residential Building – Sustainable Philosophy

It is intrinsic that I discuss an area of particular concern to me as this unorthodox atypical idea of educator brings up an aspect of my very own niche that I haven’t considered. The discussion of the apperceptive mass, in which all of our experiences in life is our method of understanding a new percept or idea, is what stood out to me in listening to Mr. Phillips. It redefines how we can model out lifestyle around our atmosphere, however we have modeled our lives into a model that is insufficient and non-sustainable.


 If you’ve looked at the gas prices recently and all you could see is:


or all you can say is:

(note: we provide onsite home refinancing to help out with gas purchase)


enough so it makes you want to:


Then it becomes clairvoyant to understand the plight of the energy efficient conservationist in reuse of materials we claim as trash or otherwise. No, I am not an uber environmentalist, or a peace sign slinging hippie. I am simply considerably more conscience of limited resources and how the technological advancements, or on the opposite spectrum, reclamation of natural technology has shaped our generation’s minds from industrialization.

But to the nitty gritty, why is Mr. Phillip’s contribution to the aspects of built environments so essential? Simply because we have been trained by the concept of “out with the old, in with the new” not out with the old, re-process it so it appears new. Dan Phillips has been designing and building homes in Huntsville, Tx since 1998, utilizing his skill as a builder to:

1) Create an apprenticeship program to build homes while teaching sustainable building practices.

2) Divert landfill waste by utilizing various materials in the construction.

3) Provide, LOW COST, energy efficient sustainable homes to low income families that are amazingly beautiful.

4) Encourages out of the box methods for construction of habitation.

Here is his TED speech on the homes he has built from reclaimed material along-with a few photos of his work. <–click it