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About

Existing Opportunities

 

Business Development:

 

Develop business plans and investment strategies

Create a funding strategy to finance the initial research and development.

 

Market

Attract eco-conscious urban families, couples or individuals who wish to flourish within community and an equitable share of earth's carrying capacity. 

 

Technical:

Water catchment systems:
Each of the 4 homes has a small (400 sq. ft) footprint, and captures rain in an amount that limits inhabitants to around 12 gal/day.   2020 Engineering estimates that each home would require a 4,000 gallon tank for rainwater storage. To meet the water use conditions, several ideas that have been suggested, including recycling showers, foot pumped water flow to sinks, no flow (composting) toilets, etc.  However, research is needed to investigate these options and determine which are viable. 

Gray water storage and distribution to gardens:
Gray water is planned to be used for watering gardens, however, this means that this water will need to be kept for several months to use in the summer months where little rain falls.  Total gray water storage is estimated at 24,000 gallons, or four, 6,000 gallon tanks.  There is a suggestion to use silver nano impregnated cloth to kill bacteria and sterilize water but again, research is needed to determine if this is viable.  Filtering systems that meet DEQ's new Gray Water Codes and fall within the power available to sanitize potable water without chemicals are alternative approaches to address this important design criteria. 

Waste composting urine separation systems and nutrient recovery systems: 
Composting toilets and urine diversion systems are used to turn human wastes into viable plant fertilizers and soil amendments.  Research is needed to determine storage and delivery systems that work well together.  

Energy capture and use modeling:
These home filter and sanitized their own water, compost systems and gray water system.  This creates additional loads that need to be calculated.

Passive House design and energy modeling:
Minimizing the heating load is crucial for achieving net zero electrical use, and thus using the techniques pioneered by Passive House will be pursued.  Final design and approach has yet to be determined. 

Net zero living?

Living Net Zero means that:

  • Energy from the sun is captured by solar panels on the roof.
  • Water from rains is collected, filtered and stored in cisterns below ground
  • Food scraps and human wastes are composted and used as nutrients to supplement the soil
  • Vegetables and fruits are grown on the walls and grounds of the community gardens
  • Water used to run the household is used again to water plants.
  • Metaphorically, your home is “off the grid”-is self sufficient.  To eliminate the need for batteries to store excess electricity, the system is hooked up to the city’s power grid and the excess power turns the meter backwards, to replenish the power used and in some cases, sold back at a premium rate.

Benefits of living net zero

  • The home is super insulated, loosing very little heat in the winter and gaining very little in the summer, a comfortable temperature all year round
  • Your energy bills net to zero annually.
  • Your carbon footprint for your home is zero, and aligns with the City of Portland’s goal to be carbon neutral by 2050.
  • Your water bill is zero.
  • Vegetables are grown all year round, allowing you to eat a local, healthy diet all year round and saving money for purchasing produce.
  • Human wastes are fully utilized as nutrients for the garden-you become part of a cycle of life.
  • You are connected and more aware of the natural environment.  You are able to see natural cycles from an entirely different perspective, knowing that when the sun is shining, it’s earning energy credits, and when it’s raining, its re it replenishes the holding cisterns that allows for life.
  • Your home is on the cutting edge of sustainability, leading the way towards a restorative, flourishing future.

Project Features

The Earth Harmony Habitat Homes are designed to create rich and warm spaces for living, vibrant and connected outdoor spaces, and are fully integrated with passive design principles.

The project features include:

  • Small in footprint, the design of the project results in comfortably sized homes between 1150– 1700 square feet, including the vertical garden greenhouse.
  • A comfortable roof terrace nestled among the trees will give residents all the benefits of a private backyard, on a small footprint.
  • The homes share a 1200‐square foot common space containing extra storage, a kitchen, vertical gardens and a guest bedroom, reserve‐able by residents for visiting family and friends.
  • Earth Harmony Habitats is designed to achieve a Net Zero Energy Rating, a Passive Haus certification, and to meet or exceed the standards of the Living Building Challenge 2.0.  Together these standards represent the most strict green‐building criteria world‐wide, and will put the Earth Harmony Habitats project on the map as a true leader in sustainable design.
  • The integration of vertical gardens around the homes make it possible for each home to grow their own fruits and vegetables, right outside of their doors. The extra mass of the soil also insulates the homes, providing even greater heating and cooling savings all year long.
  • A 3,000 kWh Photo‐voltaic system on the roof of each home will completely offset the cost of power.
  • The project meets the PassiveHaus’s criteria for super insulated structures. These techniques further offset the costs to homeowners for the heating and cooling of their home.
  • The project’s rain catchment system completely offsets the need for city water and sewage-and the associated water bills.
  • Composting toilets ensure a fully restorative and integrated approach to waste treatment.