Envi­ron­men­tal Issues


June 12 2011. Lars Chose and Rachel Ross of Man­dala Homes were invited to speak on the topic of Green Build­ing Prac­tices by Verge Per­ma­cul­ture. This dis­cus­sion was a por­tion of the Per­ma­cul­ture Design Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion Course. Verge Per­ma­cul­ture is a Calgary-based com­pany that spe­cial­izes in a sys­tems design approach to sus­tain­able human habi­tat with a focus on inter­con­nected ele­ments: low energy build­ings, water man­age­ment, waste re-use, renew­able energy & food pro­duc­tion sys­tems.  www.vergepermaculture.ca

The loca­tion of the course was at the stun­ning and ver­dant Moun­tain Waters Retreat Cen­tre located near Nel­son, B.C.  Moun­tain Waters Retreats hosts a rich vari­ety of work­shops, retreats, wed­dings and edu­ca­tional ses­sions in a mag­i­cal nat­ural set­ting www.mountainwatersretreats.ca

Hosted in the cen­tre of an inspired cir­cu­lar build­ing, the top­ics of the Man­dala Homes pre­sen­ta­tion included;

Ben­e­fits of a Round Design — struc­tural strength in earth­quake and high wind con­di­tions, more sq. footage with less mate­ri­als, design inher­ent energy effi­ciency (air flow, tem­per­a­ture distribution)


The GREEN aspects of the Pre-Fabrication process–less waste, greater ergonomic advan­tage, greater accuracy.

Eco­log­i­cal Design– cost and energy sav­ing trends in the build­ing code and build­ing mar­ket. The Ener­Guide Rat­ing sys­tem. Tech­nol­ogy and Prac­tices ie; Rain Water Har­vest­ing, Grey Water Sys­tems, Pas­sive Solar Sun­spaces and Catch­ments, Per­ma­cul­ture Gar­dens, Solar Hot Water, Nat­ural Build­ing Mate­ri­als (cob, straw­bale), Infloor Heat­ing Sys­tems, Ther­mal Mass and Liv­ing Roofs

Con­crete Use– the hid­den energy costs embed­ded in concrete.

Doors,Windows,Walls, Insu­la­tion — areas of cru­cial choices and con­se­quences in house design. Pre­sen­ta­tion of R-40 Man­dala Wall System.

LEED Build­ing — an inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized green build­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem, pro­vid­ing third-party ver­i­fi­ca­tion that a build­ing or com­mu­nity was designed and built using strate­gies intended to improve per­for­mance in met­rics such as energy sav­ings, water effi­ciency, CO2 emis­sions reduc­tion, improved indoor envi­ron­men­tal qual­ity, and stew­ard­ship of resources and sen­si­tiv­ity to their impacts.

LEAN Prin­ci­ples — greater effi­ciency means great effi­cacy. LEAN is a pro­duc­tion prac­tice that con­sid­ers the expen­di­ture of resources for any goal other than the cre­ation of value for the end cus­tomer to be waste­ful, and thus a tar­get for elimination.

The Q & A por­tion of the event sparkled with knowl­edge­able, inspired and lively ques­tions and com­ments by the students.