FEED The World
The content of this page is copied from a previous Wiki Blog entry by Sola Roof Guy - with some comments from collaborators. For the time being I have simply reprinted that entry here for reference (and further re-work/co-creation) during our discussion of FEED The World in our live streaming Google Hangouts - #hangoutsonair -also see our Twitter feed: #SolaRoof
Richard Nelson: Below is my answer to questions of how Sola Roof fits into holistic solutions for a sustainable future, where new, empowered "Eco Villages" are proposed as a sustainable pattern of development for Global Villages. I would like to see what you all might have to say about applying solaroof to the human habitat (since this is very long, I would suggest more discussion at the Global Villages page or subwiki.
Richard Nelson wrote to the Global Villages Yahoogroup:
This thread continues to be particularly challenging and I would like to "bring it home" to a family or village scale - since the great relevance of our discussion here is not just to the technical information but to the application to a pattern of global villages. We want to know if there is something in the organization of human habitat into a village pattern that could further our chances to develop sustainability - and what is necessary with respect to supply of not only shelter but the key needs of clean water, nutritious food and (since the discovery of fire) enough (a quantitative issue) energy for a modern (qualitative) lifestyle.
I will point out at this juncture that Sola Roof is not about conventional solar processes. Sola Roof is not a concentrating system; nor a system of thermal or photovoltaic energy conversion. It is a transparent roof with Water Working systems that I will not go into here but can be discussed at our solaroof forum or at the Sola Roof Wiki, I will just note that Sola Roof is not like existing greenhouse roofs or glazing systems for buildings. Sola Roof is able to switch its insulating value from that of a low double (or triple) glazing to a very highly insulated envelope at night using the Bubble Tech. We also integrate this Liquid Bubble technology with Liquid Solar Tech and, together they are very good at reducing cooling loads; however the these methods of Water Working must be combined with the use an extensive plant leaf canopy for shading and cooling of the spaces below, including the living and working spaces that are sheltered within the Sola Roof construction. [Now these designs are implemented in the Agri POD - 01.01.12]
There would be a great advantage to the efficiency of a ecological human habitat to have a clustering of living and working spaces under extensive areas of Sola Roof structure. Thus Sola Roof, as a glazing system can bridge over courtyard and pedestrian avenues and public gardens and recreational spaces so to provide a very low energy controlled environment to this entire climate controlled areas of the Eco Village. These extended spaces would extend the area of Sola Roof to the budget of 100 M2 per capita. Sola Roof thereby provides Photosynthesis based mechanisms for energy capture and conversion, while also making use of the low grade thermal energy (Infrared) for warmth in cold seasons. The budget for building effective roof systems will already exist and therefore, because the Sola Roof and roof garden capital cost are equivalent to conventional roof costs, then there is a zero incremental cost for the implementation of this solar strategy.
The question that people will want to know is how much benefit is obtained by using the Sola Roof method of construction? How great is contribution to our Contraction & Convergence goal. Can Sola Roof deliver the equivalent of 1000 Kg oil per capita from a budget of 100 M2 per capita? The answer is that various data is available here and there that have proved that we have a serious proposal that Sola Roof could meet (and possibly exceed) this energy production goal. There are two avenues for our Blue Green (water working + living plants) systems approach will provide enough energy.
The first avenue is though the production of food crops, which are grown intensively, biologically, and in ideal controlled environment, with enriched CO 2 atmosphere on a continuous basis. Then this biomass is totally captured (except for export of food) within the biosphere of the community (or family if this is a single family home) and converted by anaerobic biodigestion to CO 2 (40%) and bio methane (60%) that is locally consumed for electric power production and the entire CO 2 is recovered to send back into the enriched CO 2 growing atmosphere. This food to fuel to food system is completely renewable and sustainable indefinitely and has the potential to produce the energy equivalent of 1 to 2 barrels (up to half of the 1000 Kg target) of oil per 100 M2 of Sola Roof per year. Some crops are more effective than others in producing large biomass and energy conversion to starches, sugars and lipids (oil), including Water Weeds? and Mass Algae Culture.
The second avenue for photosynthesis energy conversion using Sola Roof construction is the cultivation of algae biomass within the cavity space of the transparent Sola Roof system. This is a specific intention to grow a high energy, high biomass crop but there are also significant nutrients, including nitrogenous organic fertilizer that is a bi-product. The Sola Roof approach to Mass Algae Culture (which is already proved) will solve some of hurdles previously encountered in large scale culture methods. I will not go into any details here. We have ongoing discussion at our solaroof forum and also the Oil From Algae? yahoo forum. There is more information at the Sola Roof Wiki (Search the key phrase "oil from algae" or words: biomass, algae etc.) and I referred to published results of the DOE research, that reached pilot plant scale before the programs were curtailed. The results however were extremely positive and the expectation of 10Kg per M2 per annum is an actual production rate that was achieved and that only needs consistent operations to result in a energy production equivalent of 5000 Kg of oil per 100 M 2, which EXCEEDS our goal per capita for energy production.
Energy for buildings is typically the highest consumption sector and yet in a Eco Village there would be a very small requirement for energy used to provide environmental control even in extreme climates. Our Blue Green solutions make it possible to have very low energy solutions even in the tropics, especially where we have Cold Water Resources as well that is to say that some coastal areas are extremely attractive for Eco Village development even if they are hot and arid and have no soil. Only about 10% of our renewable energy resource (through the photosynthesis path) would need to be consumed for operation of the climate control systems. With 50% of production allocated for Eco Transport, then we have a significant energy availability for food and water, commercial and work activities plus recreation use of energy.
What this indicates is that an Eco Village could be capable of a self sufficient operation and this will reduce substantially the ecological footprint. What we want to work toward is a foot print that is not larger than the bounds of the community itself and in that case there would be no harm done to the natural ecology that is in proximity to the ecological habitat of an Eco Village. In fact the benefits over time of the operation of our ecological life support processes could compensate completely for the embodied energy of the construction and capital cost. The human habitat structures would be, as far as possible made from local materials and the lightest of components that are imported. Plus the long life and complete recycling of all the building components replaced over time will greatly reduce the potential ecological footprint.
If we allow that the human habitat for a 1000 person Eco Village would cover 100,000 M2, and that the settlement area (permaculture gardens and green space and roadways etc that are considered to be integral with the village plan) would be say 20 hectares (2 times more land), then the entire USA population could be happy and self reliant by building 350,000 of these Eco Villages that would need to allocate 7 M hectares to such Eco Habitat, which is not even 1% of the land area of the USA and is three times smaller than the present urbanized area.
This analysis is hopeful but also based on realistic technology that is already capable of delivering the expected results. The results show that it is realistic to see that no new land is required and that since the footprint of our Eco Villages? is actually the same as the land area occupied, then the great vast land area can begin to be ecologically restored to healthy condition, including establishing old growth forests for wild life and bringing biodiversity back to grasslands, moving communities away from coastal flood zones and restoring marsh lands. Sustainable harvesting of wild foods and plant resources would far exceed in value any monocrop exploitation of land that is currently in fashion. The biodiversity, sport and ecotourism would greatly exceed revenues of current ecology destroying commercial industry.
Within our proposed Eco Habitat, the food crop production will not only use the fruit but will use the entire plant for production of fiber, bio chemicals, bio medical and cosmetics, for nutrients and for feed. We can have community integral production of poultry and fish, which can convert the plant biomass that is not useful as food into high grade food at high rates of conversion. This approach is similar to the plans for habitats in space and on other planets in hostile environments where all life support must be found from within the built environment. All such food transformations are ultimately producing animal or human wastes that are then recycled into more food production (while energy in the form of bio methane is produced along the way). Therefore these food systems are producing more energy (with CO 2 neutral results) out than is required for input; whereas current agricultural practices are hooked on high levels of petrochemical inputs. Further, our Eco Village food supply would be totally organic and safe and would have zero food miles for local consumption. Our plant growing is also optimized to produce pure water from condensation of transpired water and from collection of rain water. The plant root zone will also treat and clean all recycled water so that there is no net water demand from an Eco Village.
None of my numbers or assumptions is fuzzy or unsupported and clearly there is no reason for the great hopelessness that is expressed all the time by those who support nasty conventional and/or nuclear agendas, but even more surprising is the deplorable hopelessness projected by some proponents for renewables within the green sector and various leaders of the conservation community. In fact many who support the C&C are also completely convinced that our lifestyle and quality of life must suffer or that a die-off is inevitable even under the most advanced renewable plan. None of these so called experts that are pronouncing doom and gloom have bothered to look outside of their comfortable little universe of what they deem to be possible. They seem ready to write off millions, if not billions of lives as an unfortunate and unavoidable reality. This is very sad because this message will incapacitate and leave people with a position that the only recourse is to fight it out over the inevitably depleting non-renewables and the scarce and insufficient renewables that only the wealthy would be able to afford. Thus comes the Pentagon plan to deal with a world in conflict and this is what suits those lacking a vision for a peaceful and sustainable future for all. We must abandon leaders with no vision for a world of abundance where their elitism would be no more.
I say that we must debunk that bankrupt vision and the hype, fear, red-herrings, and disinformation that infects and spreads throughout our community of change makers. We have a holistic solution which is completely safe, completely valid, low in cost, high - no, extremely high in benefits, is accessible at DIY levels and can be implemented at grass roots where it is unstoppable by "powers that be" and which we can all acquire, improve and contribute to by acting to create the new paradigms and pioneer the new Eco Living lifestyle. All that is necessary is that we invite and welcome plants into our living spaces and work with the God given solutions to the life support problem. Is this common sense or what?
Is this not affordable, even to the poorest of communities? I plan to start with a very basic pilot project of a Sola Roof Garden in The Gambia this winter and then further stages of development in South Africa. In both countries I have partners who are ready to explore building low cost, high benefit projects to establish Eco Village style development for local communities. Is it not a shame that there is not currently even one Open Source? Sola Roof project operating in all of the USA, where most of our community resides? If formal organizations and agencies are incapable of testing and developing these proposals because they are too disruptive then I appeal to the students and the professors to act to fight for a way forward and if necessary shame your administrators into action by showing visible results to which you can draw publicity.
If you cannot get your business or consulting firm to act on these solutions, then what can you do as a professional to make a difference? If you are a grower then why wait for the energy situation to get even worse, try a small scale project; be among those that are pioneering the technology.
As home owners and families, please consider teaming up with others at the grass roots level to try out the Blue Green methods. There are lots of people with the technical education to understand the proposals - there are many others with money who also have the awareness of the urgency and the survival issues that effect them and their loved ones. Some will have suitable land. You can start small with portable structures [which in 2012 is now available - called Agri POD] this can assist getting collaborations underway. Just don't do nothing! Proving I am right will produce a safe path to sustainable living that is accessible to everyone. Proving that I am wrong will at least shut me up or reveal some other avenue for development of answers to our problems. Just don't wait for big government and big business to find the solutions.
I am not intending to let the UK or EU off the hook by all these references to the USA, but since I am here there are some these thing happening over here - stuff that I am involved in directly [now in 2012 we have our Norwegian based consortium, with Life Synthesis leading]. And why not more projects in Canada where this got started and is still alive and kicking.
Finally, if you need inspiration towards action then see the Inconvenient Truth and see the film, 11th Hour.
Regards all, Rick
Thinking in terms of rich societies where the rural population is moving toward the urban regions, would it make sense to think of a way to reverse this trend by offering to schools, a variety of programs that will take students from say grade 3 and on, to participate in the transition toward sustainable future by building Global Villages with their rural friends who come to the city. Setting new trends in motion from school by piloting one idea at a time but each idea being an added piece of the picture like a puzzle being build. Could this be "marketable" as being an asset with addes value to the market economy?
Jeff Buderer <jeff(at)onevillagefoun dation.org> wrote: Dear Steve and All
this is all very interesting but I would encourage us to set some goals and determine a way to collaborate in terms of putting our knowledge into documents that could be published in various relevant media.
For example we could post something in wikipedia about Global Villages and put it forward it as unique approach to rural community development.
> Hi Everyone,
One way to see the situation is through two sets of key relationships:
1) Non-renewable energy generated, emissions produced, overall amount of energy consumed, number of people on the planet, and how much non-renewable energy there is remaining.
2) Renewable energy, zero emissions, overall amount of energy consumed, number of people on the planet, and how much renewable energy can be generated to meet the consumption demands.
In the first, if we don't stop increasing energy consumption by increasing per capita energy consumption and the number of people we will crash and burn because there is only so much non-renewable energy remaining.
In the second, if we don't stop increasing energy consumption by increasing per capita energy consumption and the number of people we will still crash and burn because there is only so much renewable energy we can generate and it's insufficient.
It's not clear in which scenario we crash and burn more quickly, but it is inevitable and in terms of human history, it is relatively soon. There is some sentiment held by many to go with the second and resort to wishing for the best to cover the shortfall. Leastwise, this is a relatively easy "sell" in the current much-maligned economy we have now. And, it is a somewhat a straightforward process to explain to people how they can take certain steps to produce and use renewable energy, eliminate emissions, reduce their energy consumption by adopting more efficient processes and methods, and for some segments of the population, reduce family size because of perceived better economic and social circumstances. This can even be setup as a formula: if you do this, you get this "improvement" and if you do this and that, you get this much more "benefit". Of course, we're all going to die-off anyway, but this feels better and we can convince ourselves we are forestalling the inevitable by being so responsible. It ain't perfect, but it's something.
Now, if we REALLY want to drag out our collective demise on this planet the alternatives are two: reduce the amount of per capita energy consumption, which is a social, political, and economic challenge; or cap / reduce the number of people, which is a moral issue. The two are intertwined. Those who benefit through consumption and, as a result, consume the most are loathe to change a system that gave them power and wealth. Also, the system is designed to keep the vast majority chronically disadvantaged so they are poorly positioned to disrupt the system. However, just like Marie Antoinette could not be influenced to associate her affluence, privilege, and separateness in the ruling class with the worsening condition of the uncared for masses would eventually seed civil unrest and revolution, members of the dominant culture today are content to say the contemporary version of, "Let them eat cake!"
So, we experiment with economic and political systems that are counter to the dominant culture in an effort to find better ways. And we will, too. It is imperative for life from this planet to persist out there long after this planet is gone. And just like moving people from option one to option two mentioned beforehand, we present clear evidence of what steps to take, the benefits that course of action offers, and ease with which it can be done to enroll folks one at a time in the doing life together differently and better. It boils down to the two immutable constants of the universe are change and interdependence. These two are the most powerful forces no matter what system is in place - as a result, they make the best "bridge-building" material to get people to come across. Besides, I am tired of being fed cake!
From: email@example.com On Behalf Of Tom Wayburn Sent: Tuesday, September 12, 2006 12:21 PM
To: globalvillages@ yahoogroups. com
Subject: [globalvillages] Re: a mutltitude of silver bullets are out there
To Jeff, Steve, Benoit, and everyone else,
I am most grateful for the response of everyone to my plea for sustainability. I know we all want to solve this problem and do whatever is best. Because of the length of this thread, I will start over again with comments on a couple of Jeff's remarks:
In particular, I wish to remind everyone that with respect to abandoning artificial economic contingency and liminating the profit motive I wrote, "This is the one point upon which there can be no compromise." Change, therefore, can come about in at least two ways that I have considered. As in Mexico, change can come by revolution, if it comes to that in Mexico. Whoever will sway the great crowds of people necessary to overthrow an empire must undoubtedly inculcate something like religious fervor. Alternatively, change can come by means of an intentional community either concentrated within definite boundaries or distributed as far as possible in a network of people who are willing to participate in an alternative economic system as in the community currency movement.
I hope Jeff will excuse my misunderstanding of Sola Roofs?. I have done a quick calculation concerning power density of concentrated solar power (CSP). If I remember correctly, a 500MW CSP installation for the desert was supposed to occupy 1500 acres. Since a 1000 MW nuclear power installation occupies 300 acres, CSP has one-tenth the power density of nuclear; therefore, the remarks on area for sufficient nuclear power to maintain a capitalist economy, which cannot exist without growth http://dematerialis m.net/On% 20Capitalism2.html#_Toc141867151 , I made at http://dematerialism.net/CwC.html#_Land and at The Ten Point Plan Results in a Nuclear Society in http://dematerialism.net/CwC.html apply except much sooner. It looks like a good option for a natural economy however, i.e., an steady-state economy without a profit motive.
Comparison of the four types of political economies considered in http://dematerialism.net/Mark-II-Economy.html were done earlier in http://dematerialism.net/CwC.html starting with actual US economic data taken principally from the DOE. Therefore, if one takes the two studies together, one can be reasonably certain of my conclusions. In fact, I have adjusted the conservation data in http://dematerialism.net/Mark-II-Economy-New.xls once again to try to falsify my own conclusion and ratify Jeff's to no avail. However, I come much closer. Still, the steady-state market economy uses 1.73 times Maximum Renewables and the natural economy requires only 80% of Maximum Renewables.
Tom Wayburn, Houston, Texas