I met some kindred spirits on the Save Soil Walkathon at Lake Bde Maka Ska on Saturday, June 18. We walked around the lake on a gorgeous day and shared our experiences with friendly, generous people. Young and old walked to save an important part of our legacy for our children and children’s children. Being a big fan of food and fresh air, it is important to me that we protect our soil and help it flourish as it once did and can again.
Decrease your cooling bills. Don’t cool your house with your refrigerator. And stop cooling the outside air with your house!
The sun sends us more solar energy to create our beautiful warm summers. Besides melting the snow and ice, it warms the ground, water and air. Since heat energy always moves from higher concentrations to lower, a house that is now cooler than the outside air is one place for the heat energy to go. Outdoor heat heat moves through our roof, walls, windows and doors inside, trying to cool the outside by warming our house. So in the summer time, our houses are actually trying to cool the outside air temperature by absorbing some of the heat. In the winter, our homes try and warm outside air by losing heat out. Obviously, this is expensive because we pay for the energy to cool our homes in the hot summer, and warm our homes in the cold winter. And our homes can never overcome the climate around them.
How does a thermos know if the contents are hot or cold? It doesn't matter as the joke goes. Improving the thermal properties of our homes, by improving the quality of doors and windows, and adding insulation to the walls and attic, increases the thermal performance of our homes. Since we lose less energy, it takes less energy and it now costs less to cool and heat our homes.
Most existing homes in America are ready-made for improving their thermal performance. Ask us how!
Decrease your cooling bills - by improving your homes insulating value.
And close the refrigerator door!
"Living soil is vital to life". "52% of agricultural soils are already degraded." We can ill afford to allow our ability to grow food on land. There is a Save Soil Walkathon this weekend starting on the south shore of Lake Bee Make Ska Park at 10am. I hope to see you there.
I am hopeful we can save our soil, our oceans, lakes and rivers. More common sense reasons to decrease our carbon footprint.
"By 2045, it is expected we will be producing 40% less food than what we are producing right now, and our population will be 9.3 billion people. This is not a world you want to live in, and that is not a world you want to leave our children. - SADHGURU
All of our clients are unique. All with individual and family needs. With varied life-styles, from homebodies, family gatherers, entertainers, or needing to flex between them. From individuals, couples starting a family, families outgrowing their homes, empty nesters downsizing, couples preparing to welcome an aging parent or people preparing to age-in-place at all ages. From commuting workers to families expanding home office and study spaces.
We love designing homes to fit the individual needs of clients. To do this, we ask important questions and listen to your answers. We take notes and discuss them with you to be sure we get it right. We develop our proposal of services to work with you with this understanding. When we begin our contract working you, with expand the detail level of our understanding. We develop a written document, a program, that we use to guide our design together. We review our designs and construction documents to confirm we have met the goals we have set. It is normal for some goals to evolve or change during design. We present design options that demonstrate the outcomes and benefits of different design directions. With this process, we can balance sometimes competing needs for function, space and budget.
We would love to talk with you about how we can support your living needs and style. Thoughtful. Considerate. How you want your home to be.
Beginning to live outside more is a sign of spring and summer in Minnesota. Shedding our coats, the warm sun and breezes feel great on our face and newly exposed arms and legs. The fresh, almost balmy, moist air soothes our lungs, now used to wintry cold dry air. Many of us also enjoy being outside in the winter, when the air is fresh, crisp and clean. It wakens us and makes our minds sharper. We love fresh air. We open up our houses with the warmer weather to bring the fresh air in.
Passive Houses provide us fresh air year round, 24/7/365. Fresh outdoor air is brought into our homes, filtered, conditioned (heated or cooled, humidified or dehumidified as needed) and delivered to our living spaces. The incoming outdoor air is fresh and full of oxygen. The air is filtered of outdoor contaminants, allergens, pollutants and smoke. Used indoor air is extracted from bathrooms and kitchens, removing: odors, indoor allergens from furniture, finishes or pets, and bacteria and viruses and exhausting them outside. All the air in our homes has now been filtered and conditioned, set to exactly how we like it.
Rather than drafts and noise from furnaces turning on and off, air is slowly, continuously, silently delivered, draftless. The indoor air quality is exceptional. Fresh, comfortable and full of oxygen. It brightens your day. You will be surprised how it helps you feel less tired and worn-out. And you will be healthier.
Skyview Farm. Atop a hill, all the rooms overlook beautiful rural valleys with sky all around. The owners have settled in. The home is beautifully furnished and is functioning as the owner's envisioned. The living, kitchen and dining flow together, bathed in sunlight. The floor plan simplifies their life, supporting working from home, running their gardens, cooking and eating, entertaining family and sharing their home.
The green house is developing as a year round food producer as they experiment with different growing lights through the winter. The root cellar / storm shelter is safely storing the fruits of their labor. With the ground mounted solar array, and a wood burning stove in the living room, the homes utility bill was under $100 last year.
I visited the home with photographer Lisa Bond of Lisa Bond Photography. The owners, Lisa and I are proud to share these new home photos with you.
Saturday, January 23, 2021 at 10am on Zoom
Visit the Cedar CoHousing website, events page, to register for free:
Living cooperatively with your environment is sustainability.
Cohousing is living cooperatively with your neighbors.
In cohousing, you own your own complete living unit and share common facilities like community sized kitchen, living, dining, craft / hobby, laundry areas and possibly child-care. Outdoors you could have your own private gardens and share community sized gardens, play and parking areas.
Sustainable Cohousing is living cooperatively with your neighbors and your environment. Cohousing units grouped together decreases the amount of land, construction materials and energy required to live when compared to single-family living. You share lawn maintenance equipment and could even share electric cars or bikes. This decreases the amount of time and money required to support your lifestyle.
And you gain a community, a close, trusted group of neighbors and friends.
Cedar Cohousing will be sharing about the benefits of cohousing.
Mark Anderson will be sharing about the benefits sustainable building design. From providing healthier, more comfortable, durable and resilient buildings that require less energy to heat and cool. The building could even generate a lot of the electricity the community uses.
Visit the Cedar CoHousing website, events page, to register for free:
This is a great story about living with the land. Taking what the world gives and working with it, not against it. What energy and creativity this gentlemen has. Being with a place until you know what you want to grow out of it. Great form and structural intuition. A mix of the first generation of passive design, using the sun to heat the earth and water for storage, and active solar to generate electricity. Adding the second generation of Passive House, you can build like this or take some items from it, in a less mild climate like Minnesota.
My dad was a maker. We had a farm, planted trees, built a sawmill, sawed trees and created lumber, built a barn. He was an amateur geneticist, but as a veterinarian, he worked on the animal side. My dad could weld. He built a dump truck off a truck frame. Built a 4-wheel ATV and 2 duck/fishing scows scratch. Worked on building an airplane. Built one of our houses we lived in. Nothing as nice as this. I wish I could have shared this with him.
I'm glad I had a rainy Friday night to relax and enjoy this video.
Happy Earth Day!
Thank You to all our our clients, for all you have done and are doing for our planet, your local ecosystem and for keeping yourselves healthier in your interior environment. Keeping ourselves healthier in our homes has maybe never been as important as right now.
Earth Day talks to me about how we're all connected and necessary for each others ability to thrive. The earth and the sun nourish us, give us oxygen, clean water, fresh air and beauty, without measure or comparison. It is natural, right and balanced that we give the same back. What relationship thrives or survives that is not nourished?
JoAnne and Randy live in a Passive House that has a solar array to provide their electrical energy. They grow food their property and in an attached green house that we designed to grow food year round. Also attached is a root cellar designed to store their food and protect them during storms. Part of a large family, their home pivots from a living/working/future retiring home for two, to a gathering space with open cooking, eating and living area, a guest bedroom, and screen porch that can become a 4-season sleeping room with a wood stove (pictured above).
And they built a large portion of the home themselves. They are amazing. Not a construction tradesman, Randy, with JoAnnes bookkeeping prowess, managed and self-performed a lot of the construction work. Of special note, Randy, JoAnne and family friends built the homes insulated and waterproofed concrete foundations. With care, attention to detail and skill they did a job a professional concrete crew would be proud of.
I am grateful for their sharing their home on the MRES Solar Home Tour last October. They led tours through their beautiful home home and shared its personal and eco-friendly design features. I was very happy with how proud they were of their new home. How they spoke of how it served how they lived, how comfortable they were through freezing winters, how little energy their home required and how much energy it generated. How they were learning what crops grew best in their greenhouse.
I want to thank JoAnne and Randy for the opportunity to work with them, learn and express their goals in their new home, share my skills and grow my sustainable design business. I appreciate the opportunity to share our lives, time and talents with you.
Happy Earth Day to all. May we enjoy the blessings of this great, warm spring day! May we thrive with our planet for generations to come.
Bassett Creek Cohousing Presentation August 10, 2019
How energy-efficient cohousing helps people live together; healthier and more comfortably, while fighting climate change with cost-effective building investments.
The learning objectives of the presentation were to understand how Cohousing Principles naturally align with Sustainable Design Principles. How building durability, health, comfort, financial and living consequences can be negatively affected in code quality construction. How Passive House buildings perform in the natural environment, and how to put it all together in a design for your home or building.
The following pictures and the text adjacent to the 4 following slides, describing cohousing values, are from the Bassett Creek Cohousing website. Visit them at:
- Work & Live gently with what you have.
- Share & Care. Don't degrade the common good.
- Keep your area neat & clean.
- Live intimately with nature.
- Work as a community to reach your common goals. Group livability and survivability is more important than individual winning.
- Enjoy your work and fruits of your labor.
- Do your part. Trust others.
Contact us if you would like a presentation on Passive House, achieving Net-Zero or Net-Positive energy on your next home or small commercial building or learning how to budget your finances between home insulation improvements and renewable energy on a home or small commercial building renovation. We are happy to speak with individuals or groups on these exciting issues. Happy fall!
Mark Anderson, AIA, CPHC
For my day job, I'm an architect focused on green design. Not a bad gig! Caring for the planet is a theme throughout my life. This page is where I like to talk about how that love for the earth plays out – in architecture and in my life.