I am writting this paper and I will greatly appreciate any comments. If anyone would like to give me back an edited version please do this as a new Log Page in the form SolaroofguyLog/20040417AboutSoloRoofYourName so that it can be a clean copy for me to make comments. My greatest difficulty is to edit it down by half, and of course I am too close to the subject to that very easily.
As you can see - I am not finished writing - there are still sections at the bottom of the page that I have not started. So I will be back to this myself to finish the work within the next week or so.
Thanks for any input or help - Rick
What serious problem or challenge with broad significance does your use of technology address?
Dr. Joseph Romm, a former-Acting Assistant Secretary of Energy in his 10-page testimony available at the House Committee on Science web site (http://www.house.gov/science/hearings/full04/mar03/romm.pdf) stated that "Between 2000 and 2030, the International Energy Agency (IEA) projects that coal generation will double. The projected new plants would commit the planet to total carbon dioxide emissions of some 500 billion metric tons over their lifetime, which is roughly half the total emissions from all fossil fuel consumed worldwide during the past 250 years." At the same time the economic growth of China (with recent year over year export growth of about 30%) and other regions that are rapidly expanding (as compared to the USA) signals the vast scale of this issue as a global problem. Simultaneously we are now living during through a time of Oil Peak Production, while the era mentioned above will be one of declining availability of non renewable resources. This brings us to the cusp of the problem: how to bring about a sustainable and prosperous lifestyle for all people that will not threaten us with Global Warming disasters brought on by runaway growth in energy supply and consumption. Explain your context and the existing conditions that you are trying to improve or rectify.
Dr. Romm’s testimony (cited above) is given in relation to the possible role of electric vehicle transport as a technology to mitigate the Global Warming problem, but sadly the committee’s conclusion is that these technologies cannot achieve any significant result in the foreseeable future that would slow, let alone reverse, the negative trends. However, Ed Mazria, Architect, has produced an analysis that clearly proves that buildings have at least twice the potential as the entire transportation sector, to affect the reversal of these negative trends. This technological potential is shown graphically at: http://www.solaroof.org/gallery/Buildings-and-Energy.
Further, the potential of a technology shift in our solutions for built environments is explored by Christopher Alexander in his paper ORIGINS OF PATTERN THEORY (http://www.patternlanguage.com/archive/ieee/ieeetext.htm#6) where he finds that a “grass roots” implementation of a new pattern of “living structures” would provide the mechanism for a realistic plan to make a global paradigm shift to sustainable living. The opportunity exists, since the new construction (and renewal) of buildings in the initial three decades of the new millennium will create more built environment that has existed up to that time. The dilemma is that “professionals” cannot be the channel for such a vast work (even if they were appropriately trained) and thus the conclusion is that the methods of construction of living structures must become accessible to everyone.
This is the reason that the Sola Roof solution for living structures is not only a technical development but also a social movement to create a Community of enthusiasts all around the world who can be the prime movers that champion the cause of living structures and put it into practice in their own homes and communities. First there are the pioneers, then a fledgling user community, and then a wide following of people who are empowered by our dissemination of DIY (Do-It-Yourself) knowledge. A growing knowledge base of technical know-how and shared experience is now being authored by all the members of this worldwide community by using the powerful, new communication and collaboration tools available through the Internet. Our internet community provides a global and local communication channel to support people helping people, including our Pay It Forward? initiative, which calls us “to mind the gap”. We will work to bridge the gaps that exist between communities. The Sola Roof Wiki? at www.solaroof.org is also a channel for individuals, teams and everyone together to work in collaboration on the needed solutions. Our internet presence is Open Source?, which means it is accessible, and participation will remain affordable and inclusive to cultural contexts and local situations that call for compassionate investment.
Description of Technology Application
What technology is being used?
Sola Roof technology is our primary solution for building the required “living structures”. This technology is formed around a core of inventions by Richard Nelson; his expired patents, now in the public domain, are a sound foundation for the elaboration of an Open Source? system of construction. Sola Roof is a new pattern for building design, which we refer to as an Open Eco Design that is based on a light-weight, transparent building envelope that uses new materials technology called Sola Fabric? and this structural system is integrated with a controlled environment system that produces comfortable and productive living, working and recreational spaces within the Sola Roof structure.
The novel systems of Liquid Bubble and Liquid Solar Technology are described in the Sola Roof Tech? section of our Wiki website where there is also a Gallery showing many images and illustrations of completed projects. Our approach is low tech and is based upon techniques of “Water Working” and using Living Plants” within the building and at the roof level of the structure for the purpose of using, converting and capturing solar energy that enters the transparent building envelope. Simple, low-energy mechanical systems are integrated with complex ecological life support systems that produce a net gain in energy in the form of stored thermal cooling and heating energy, use of modulated “cool daylight” and production of plants for food, feed, biomass, fiber and biotechnology uses.
Thus our buildings primarily use the power of a living leaf canopy for the capture and transformation of solar energy by the phytomechanisms of photosynthesis and transpiration. Thus we make accessible and affordable a solar design that is based upon life science and biomimicry. Our roof level plant cultivation within a controlled environment growing space is a new approach to biomass production that could employ the roof areas of all buildings for a Biomass to Biofuel process; a solar technology process that we call “Phytotechnology”, which, because it sequesters carbon dioxide in Bio Fuel? is an excellent strategy for mitigation of Global Warming. Our Sola Roof Technology is Open Source?, which means it is accessible, affordable and adaptable to all climates and local conditions.
The Sola Roof Wiki? distributes the knowledge and the software, while the hardware will be produced to the standards set by the user community. Components and materials will be modular and suited to distributed production by multitudes of non-exclusive manufacturers. Such hardware will be available at lowest possible cost as “commodity” products that are unlikely to have “proprietary” versions except in the sense of branding of quality or to mark local or regional production, which has importance.
How is it being used?
Richard Nelson first used the technology for private experiments from the time of invention (about 1973) until about 1979-80 when the first patents were applied for. Then Nelson used the technology as a basis for his private R&D enterprise that was funded by private and government funding until about 1995. During this time many “commercial confidential” laboratory, field testing and demonstration scale projects were implemented, the largest being a 6,000 square foot greenhouse at Mc Gill? University in Montreal. After the development work described above came a period of several years when Nelson advised on the construction of a few Sola Roof projects sponsored by private enterprise, including projects at a school, a university, a residence and a 12,000 square foot greenhouse near Calgary that was in full production of a commercial tomato crop for about 3 years. Again, this activity was largely “confidential” but did provide Nelson a wide base of experience and testing that prepared the way for wide spread use of the technology – however there was no clear indication of how the technology could be “commercialized” as a business venture.
At about 2001 Nelson was inspired by the success of the Open Source? Software Community and the success with the Linux Operating System software that has involved some 40,000 individuals who have contributed over the last several years to an “open” project that reveals all of the knowledge (the source code) developed to any user or developer. Even the commercial users of the Open Source? software have free access to the technology. I became convinced that this would be a perfect example to follow to bring Sola Roof technology to a Community of end-users, and among these would be found the core community of collaborative developers. The Community would also give birth to an open and cooperative network of businesses that would supply components and materials produced to the Open Source? specifications that are published and constantly improved by our Community. This business environment supports the emergence of a Social Enterprise Network where companies’ criteria for success is to achieve a good or excellent “Triple Bottom Line”.
Who is responsible?
Since 2002 we have been establishing a global Sola Roof Community by operating our Yahoo/Solaroof Forum (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/solaroof/) and the core group of developers and end-users now numbers over 200 individuals and extends to thousands of interested supporters. Among the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) enthusiasts there are a few pioneers who are leading the way and we are developing simple patterns that a large number of people can duplicate. We are a community of individuals with a sincere interest in personal transformation of our own lives, to live without dependence on oil, central power and food grown thousands of miles from our table. Sola Roof has been first applied to growing organic food and to collect and purify water. We have the goal of establishing a pattern of “Eco Living?” where organic nutrients are recycled into growing our food and where we would live in solar homes that are self reliant for heating, cooling and energy. This is possible because we now have the technology required into an open and collaborative environment where a multitude of talented and motivated persons, who have between them an abundance of skills and intelligence to apply to achieving our goal through working together.
In today’s world individuals feel powerless to change their lives or to have any visible impact on the world. However, the vision of a vast number of people working together and collaborating to achieve goals that we hold in common is now possible through the medium of internet. Thus we predict the emergence of the virtual “Second World Power?”; a United Diversity? of people, which is formed without regard to boundaries, boarders or barriers. The Sola Roof Community has the intention to be in the vanguard of Open communities who will form the backbone of such a social development. Our members are taking collective responsibility to develop and implement the solutions to the problems that governments and institutions of all kinds have failed to deliver. Businesses, because they have been committed to the single bottom line of profit, have also failed to provide these solutions – and to the degree that this is intentional, it can be understood in light of the fact that the new patterns of sustainable living will consume far less products from industry and agribusiness. Capitalism that concentrates power and wealth in the hands of elite groups will resist (or perhaps not assist) the creation of non-proprietary, Open Source? technology that creates distributed wealth in homes and communities.
In the light of these recognized obstacles, it is appropriate that our Community is the responsible “person”; that we have adopted the Open Space Technology (http://www.openspaceworld.org/wiki/wiki/wiki.cgi) for self organization that is managed by our collective intelligence. Some have said that this is beyond the ken of human beings but it is possible that what was previously lacking was the enabling technology. This view requires us to see technology as a manifestation of not only our intelligence but the heart and spirit of our being. This is a reflection of the manifest self organizing character of ecologies and of Creation itself. Thus it may be said that we have put our “higher person” in charge of our collaboration.
Who is benefiting?
The Sola Roof Technology and Community are there for the benefit of all people. Home owners can implement the technology to build self reliant garden homes and solar greenhouses that provide food, water and energy from the ambient environment including exploiting solar, earth and water resources on a sustainable basis. Communities will benefit from the savings achieved in reduction of consumption and the production of distributed wealth. Every locality will be more self-sufficient and possessed of food and water security even in the face of climate change threats that are now unavoidable. Society will have the benefit of the mitigation of carbon dioxide accumulation in the global atmosphere, which will alleviate the seriousness and frequency of weather related disasters. Urban locations will find a reduction in the Heat Island Effect which is capable of magnifying the problems of Global Warming in our cities. Rural areas will find that the reduced burden of the human “Foot Print” will relieve pressures for the destructive exploitation of natural resources so that more positive, restorative activities may become the occupation of those living outside of urban areas. Those in close proximity to wild lands will live in ecological harmony with the natural environment with the goal of zero emissions and waste generation as a practical objective. Thus the environment and the beautiful web of life on this planet will be protected and biodiversity will be enhanced by eliminating the need of mono-crop agriculture and forestry.
What processes or systems are in place to deliver this technology application?
The Sola Roof Wiki? is now in place at www.solaroof.org and we are now supporting our network of pioneering individuals. The Sola Roof Community is launched and will work with a wider Open Eco Community that is emerging on the Internet. At the same time the Sola Roof Wiki? will establish the Open Eco Center Network to support the development and implementation of real world centers as hubs of activity in localities all over the world. These will be training, learning, research and demonstration centers that will be a catalyst for the growth of an Open Source? economy. We hope to see several of these Eco Center? projects underway within the year. At the same time we are engaging with businesses who find our Open Source? environment to be harmonious with their operations. These may be enterprises that have been formed intentionally as Social Enterprise or they are existing businesses that are adopting the Triple Bottom Line style of management. A Social Enterprise Network at the Sola Roof Wiki?
Explanation of Leading Edge or Breakthrough Technology
Why do you think that your use of technology is worthy of recognition?
Describe if it is a new technology or a new use of an existing technology.
How can it be distinguished from existing uses?
Explain how it surpasses previous or current solutions.
Evidence of Contribution
How do you know that your application of technology is making a contribution?
Presentation of Measurable Results
Describe the method(s) you are using to measure your results.
How are you reporting your results and to whom?
To whom are you accountable?
Description of Potential Negative or Unintended Consequences
Describe any outcomes that may not be beneficial that you have considered.
Who might consider your application problematic and why?
Discussion of Replication Potential
Describe how your work might be a model for others to emulate.
Could this application be put to use in other places or contexts?
Short Description of Technology
Describe your technology in 75 words as you would like it to appear on our website.
Recognition of Contribution
Specify if this work draws upon the intellectual property or substantive contributions of others that should be acknowledged and appropriately referenced.