Tuesday, December 22, 2009

For those who would like to donate to a worthwhile charity and provide desparately poor people with clean water please go to my Christmas campaign at: http://mycharitywater.org/isabellechristmaswish

To all my readers, friends, and family I wish a safe and joyous holiday season!

Until next time...become the change you imagine.

Monday, December 21, 2009

To Every American in favor of Green Housing

Dear Readers and Friends,

There is an alarming trend developing that is sabotaging environmental progress. Citizens of the US should have the right to choose safe, environmentally-responsible housing. Unfortunately, new appraisal rule changes have been implemented that prevent a logical environmental choice from being made. It is imperative that people have a choice to build disaster-resistant structures that are also energy efficient, cost-effective, and beautiful.

Please read the article below from David South, of the Monolithic Dome Institute. Then check out their website and learn more about the monolithic dome as a safe, green housing choice.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.

To Every American in favor of Green Housing

The President's Sphere

Please demand the rules to allow it to happen.

For thirty plus years America’s leaders have been wanting more energy efficient, more hazard resistant, more cost efficient green structures for houses, churches, schools, etc.

We have heard those leaders as well as concerned citizens make statements such as:- If we could only get a more energy efficient home, the energy savings would help pay for our house. – Greener homes will cut carbon emissions. – Safer homes will save lives and control property damage.

To those leaders and citizens we now say: We have such structures! Please implement the rules to allow them to happen.

Over the last thirty-five years Monolithic (with a lot of help) has developed a paradigm shift in the technology of building structures. Many meet all FEMA 361 regulations as tornado shelters. Some have been funded by FEMA for that very reason. All are Micro-energy users.

Monolithic Domes cut heating and cooling costs by more than 50%. This is well proven by thousands in use. They are also tornado, hurricane, earthquake, fire and termite resistant.

But suddenly after more than 2000 of these homes built to date, changes in appraisal and lending laws have virtually locked out these greenest of all homes. Now prospective owners are not able to find a single appraiser for these super energy efficient, super strong, super long life homes because of appraisal rule changes. All lenders and appraisers now say they cannot do the appraisals.

Result: No appraisal; No loan!

Ironic, is it not? Property tax collectors can appraise dome-homes for taxes, but lenders cannot! Perhaps such homes should be exempt from taxes.

You leaders need to push the buttons, pull the chains and make the rules that will allow reasonable appraisals and loans on the greenest, toughest homes that have ever been built. The construction of these green homes should be encouraged, not stopped. There will never be progress if the “green buildings” are killed by the lenders.

We invite you to look at our website: www.monolithic.com. You will see beautiful, big homes and small, simple homes. The price to the owner is roughly the same per size as that of conventional homes. Yet their energy bills are less than half. And most are built with steel studs for the inside walls, making them very close to fireproof. Their contents may burn, but they will not. With minimal maintenance, Monolithic Domes will last for centuries. The savings will pay for the home again and again. And think of the thousands of tons of carbon emissions they save.

Those of you with the say need to help our little industry by leveling the playing field. About 17 of these homes will be built this year by owners who have their own money. But more than a hundred will not be built because those owners cannot borrow the 80% they need since they cannot get a decent appraisal.

Notice the word, “decent”‚ We are not asking for the recognition of the dome’s superior qualities. All we want and need is the same per square foot value that the owners of wood houses with the same level of finish-out get.

If this world is to have better, safer, more efficient homes there needs to be innovation. You need to help. There can be no innovation if home loans are only available for the same old technology used for the last thousand years.

Since Monolithic homes are built all over America, we need appropriate appraisals and lenders so owners can secure the building loans they need. No one is looking for, “no downs" or "less than market financing.” The necessary loans are for 20% down to top notch borrowers.

Please help all of us. Send this to your banker, your legislator, any wheel that can help us get fair appraisals done for fair lending.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Nature Knows Best

Biomimicry is the science and art of emulating Nature's best biological ideas to solve human problems. Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature states:
"If we want to consciously emulate nature's genius, we need to look at nature differently. In biomimicry, we look at nature as model, measure, and mentor. "

Nature as model: Biomimicry is a new science that studies nature’s models and then emulates these forms, process, systems, and strategies to solve human problems – sustainably. The Biomimicry Guild and its collaborators have developed a practical design tool, called the Biomimicry Design Spiral, for using nature as model.

Nature as measure: Biomimicry uses an ecological standard to judge the sustainability of our innovations. After 3.8 billion years of evolution, nature has learned what works and what lasts. Nature as measure is captured in Life's Principles and is embedded in the evalute step of the Biomimicry Design Spiral.

Nature as mentor: Biomimicry is a new way of viewing and valuing nature. It introduces an era based not on what we can extract from the natural world, but what we can learn from it.

Biomimicry is already a growing scientific discipline. Pioneering advances in agriculture, medicine, and manufacturing (just to name a few) are scientists dedicated to the principle that "nature knows best". Here are just a few of them:

  • Thomas and Ana Moore and Devins Gust ( University of Arizona) are studying how a leaf captures energy, in hopes of making a molecular-sized solar cell. Their light-sensitive "pentad" mimics a photosynthetic reaction center, creating a tiny, sun-powered battery.
  • Wes Jackson (The Land Institute) is studying prairies as a model for an agriculture that features edible, perennial polycultures and that would sustain, rather than strain, the land.
  • Peter Steinberg (Biosignal) has created an anti-bacterial compound that mimics the sea purse. These red algae keeps bacteria from landing on surfaces by jamming their communication signals with an environmentally friendly compound called furanone.
  • Bruce Roser (Cambridge Biostability) has developed a heat-stable vaccine storage that eliminates the need for costly refrigeration. The process is based on a natural process that enables the resurrection plant to remain in a desiccated state for years.
  • Daniel Morse (UC Santa Barbara) has learned to mimic the silica-production process employed by diatoms. This could signal a low-energy, low-toxin route to computer components.
  • A. K. Geim ( University of Manchester) has developed a glue-free, yet sticky, tape modeled on the dry physical adhesion of the gecko's "setae" ---tiny bristles on their feet that adhere to surfaces through Van Der Waals forces. The sustainability potential here is in "design for disassembly." Assembling products using gecko tape instead of glue would allow recyclers to disassemble products without adhesive contamination.
In her book, Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature, Ms. Benyus talks about what is needed for a biomimetric revolution to take place. She says four simple, yet profound, steps are necessary:

  1. Quieting human cleverness. (Acknowledging that nature knows best.)
  2. Listening to nature. (Becoming ecologically literate by immersing ourselves in nature.)
  3. Echoing nature. (Matching human needs with nature's solutions.)
  4. Protecting the wellspring of good ideas through stewardship. (Safeguard nature.)
Learn more about biomimicry at the Biomimcry Institute and Ask Nature.

Until next time...become the change you imagine.