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To catch the rain cover.png Add your voice to our Thunderclap for the new book on Rainwater Catchment and Community.


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There are four basic Hexayurt sizes which cover a variety of needs.
What is it? The Hexayurt is a refugee shelter system based on work done at the Rocky Mountain Institute. It uses an approach based on "autonomous building" to provide not just a shelter, but a comprehensive family support unit which includes drinking water purification, composting toilets, fuel-efficient stoves and solar electric lighting. Other systems can be added in a modular fashion.

Is this for real? Yes. Both the American Red Cross and the US Department of Defense have examined the Hexayurt system in detail and found that it has considerable merit and utility. I hope that we will see it in use by international agencies within two years. The best place to get started is to read the slides from the presentation Vinay Gupta gave at the Pentagon in December 2006: Pentagon Presentation (pdf) - 20 pages, not much text, and the best summary of the system we currently have online.

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Asthma inhaler spacers

Spacer for asthma medications made from a 500cc plastic bottle.

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Community action news

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Dec 5 Citizens data initiative: The most innovative ideas in data are going to come from communities [1]

Dec 4 London news: London Mayor Seeks Revival of Public Drinking Fountains [2]

Dec 4 Community energy USA: Microgrids Keep These Cities Running When the Power Goes Out [3]

Dec 3 100m trees to be planted till 2021 under Green Pakistan’s initiative [4]

Dec 1 Sharing news: Reverse Advent: The calendar that gives something back [5]

Read More...


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The only known photograph of Chief Seattle, taken 1864
The rivers are our brothers. They quench our thirst. They carry our canoes and feed our children. So you must give to the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.

Chief SeattleW
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Planted cattails at Millcreek greywater
Greywater, sometimes also spelled as graywater, grey water or gray water, is all of the effluent water from a household, such as water discharged from lavatories (bathroom sinks), bathtubs, showers, clothes washers, and laundry trays. Greywater is not wastewater from a sink used for food preparation, or water closet (toilet) wastewater.

The water leaving our homes carries nutrients and value. It may also contain pathogens, and/or harsh chemicals and care should be taken with it. However, it is not a great risk compared to blackwater (sewage).

Redirecting the water we use for tasks such as showering allows us to reclaim some of that value to grow plants and recharge the water table. It may be necessary to choose our soaps and detergents more carefully, if we use the greywater for watering and fertilizing plants.

Main portal: Water
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E215 Introduction to Design projects: This gallery lists some of the projects done by Engr215 Introduction to Design taught at Humboldt State University. All semesters taught by Lonny Grafman, unless noted otherwise.

Spring 2012: Friends of the Dunes

Design and build educational displays, technologies and infrastructure for the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center  
Fall 2011: Flock House

Design and build sustainable technologies for mobile art pods interacting throughout NYC  
Spring 2011: Locally Delicious

Design and build appropriate technology projects for children that promote healthy, local eating  
Fall 2010: HBCSL Somoa Hostel

Design and build eco-projects to support a hostel being designed at the Samoa Cookhouse  
Spring 2010: RCEA

Design and build energy education boxes, housed at Redwood Coast Energy Authority to build, for classrooms in Humboldt County  
Spring 2010: World Shelters

Design, prototype and improve structures by leveraging the resources of Haiti and World Shelters  
Fall 2009: CCAT and Network for a Healthy California

Design and build appropriate technology projects for CCAT and Network for a Healthy CA  
Spring 2009: WaterPod

Design and build sustainable technologies to educate and support artists living sustainably on a barge in NYC  
Fall 2008: Full Belly Project

Design and prototype adaptions to the Universal Nut Sheller  
Spring 2008: Discovery Museum

Design and build educational flume inserts for the Redwood Discovery Museum  
Fall 2007: HBCSL

Designing and prototype model hostel cottages for the proposed Humboldt Bay Eco Hostel  
Spring 2007: RCEA

Design and build energy efficiency displays for the Redwood Coast Energy Authority (Co-taught with Professor Eileen Cashman)  
Fall 2006: CCAT

Design and prototype educational, appropriate technology, infrastructure models  
Fall 2005: Interactive Energy Efficiency Displays

Design and build educational energy displays for the Redwood Coast Energy Authority  
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