When an architect builds sustainable housing in North America, she is faced with bureaucratic rules and regulations. When she takes the same technology to other countries, she is welcomed with gratitude.
This touching documentary traces the work of sustainable architect extraordinaire, Michael Reynolds… best of all, it has a happy ending!
Imagine a home that heats itself, that provides its own water, that grows its own food. Imagine that it needs no expensive technology, that it recycles its own waste, that it has its own power source.
And now imagine that it can be built anywhere, by anyone, out of the things society throws away. Thirty years ago, architect Michael Reynolds imagined just such a home – then set out to build it.
A visionary in the classic American mode, Reynolds has been fighting ever since to bring his concept to the public. He believes that in an age of ecological instability and impending natural disaster, his buildings can – and will – change the way we live.
Shot over three years in the USA, India and Mexico, Garbage Warrior is a feature-length documentary film telling the epic story of maverick architect Michael Reynolds, his crew of renegade house builders from New Mexico, and their fight to introduce radically different ways of living.
A snapshot of contemporary geo-politics and an inspirational tale of triumph over bureaucracy, Garbage Warrior is above all an intimate portrait of an extraordinary individual and his dream of changing the world.
Imagine living in a house that produces as much energy as it consumes; a house unaffected by power failures or ice storms?
That house is now a reality. The Alstonvale Net Zero Energy House, under construction in Hudson, Que. will demonstrate the attainability of a net-zero energy lifestyle without the use of fossil fuels or production of greenhouse gases.
The ANZEH was one of 12 winners chosen in 2007 by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation’s nationwide EQuilibrium initiative, a sustainable housing program launched in 2006 and geared to net-zero emissions of carbon dioxide.
The merits of the proposals were measured on the basis of how well they achieve: Net-zero energy consumption, a healthy indoor environment, a reduction in resource consumption, a low impact on the environment, affordability and the potential to build a similar house elsewhere in Canada.
Six of the houses have already been built and the rest are under construction.
When completed in June, the ANZEH house, some 60 kilometres west of Montreal, will be the “poster boy” of environmentally sustainable housing.
“The ANZEH kills two birds with one stone. It converts sunlight to electricity, and usable thermal heat,” explained architect Sevag Pogharian, the head of the ANZEH project.more…
BOOK LAUNCH: Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-ourselves Guide by Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew (South End Press, 2008).
Join author Scott Kellogg in a discussion on urban ecological survival skills. Explore the cross-section of permaculture and social activism including the design of tools and techniques used to secure people’s access to life’s basic necessities: food, water security, shelter, waste management and energy production.
These systems are simple, affordable and are built from salvaged, waste and recycled materials.
Soil building and asphalt removal
Bioremediation (cleaning contaminated soils using plants, fungi and biological processes)
Aquaculture (ponds, plants, fish and algae)
Passive solar and bicycle windmills
Biogas and veggie oil biofuels
Natural construction methods (straw bale, clay woodchip)
Do-It-Yourself air purification
Scott Kellogg is a co-founder of the Rhizome Collective (Austin, Texas), and the director of its sustainability program. A teacher, activist, ecological designer and father, he divides his time between Texas, and the Albany Free School Community in Albany, New York. Scott is currently earning a Masters in Environmental Science from Johns Hopkins University.