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Kiva's straw bale greenhouse
Kiva's straw bale greenhouse. Welcome to our straw bale greenhouse. The following page will take you with us on our greenhouse building adventure. We will discuss the process, what worked best and did not work, problems we had, how much time it took to build, and the money spent on the project. Over all we hope that this is a fun and comprehensive look at what we did to make this project come together. The reason that we chose to build a straw bales greenhouse is that both Scott (my building partner) and I would like to get into alternative building as a career and we thought that this would be a good place to start and learn from.

To build a straw bale greenhouse where Kiva can grow chili peppers, tomatoes, and lots of other yummy warm weather plants. The reason we decided to build with straw bale was to gain experience with this material and the great insulative value of it. Scott and I decided to have two of the walls straw bale and the other two wood and glass. Where we live no permits are required for a 10' x 12' greenhouse, so we decided these would be the inside dimensions. To receive optimal year-round sun in our area the glass on the south facing wall is at a 40 degree angle. At the building site there is plenty of morning sun and not much evening sun so we opted to have our east side be glass and our west side be straw bale.


A scary earthen oven that uses three layers to maximize efficiency, and all three types of heat to maximize the flavor.

Joshua M. Pearce
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Man working in a rice field.
Food is any substance consumed to provide nutritional support for the body. It is usually of plant or animal origin, and contains essential nutrients, such as carbohydrates, fats, proteins, vitamins, or minerals. The substance is ingested by an organism and assimilated by the organism's cells in an effort to produce energy, maintain life, and/or stimulate growth. Historically, people secured food through two methods: hunting and gathering, and agriculture.

Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the development of civilization. In the developed world, industrial agriculture based on large-scale monoculture has become the dominant system of modern farming, although there is growing support for sustainable agriculture (e.g. permaculture or organic agriculture).

Sustainable agriculture is the practice of farming using principles of ecology, the study of relationships between organisms and their environment. It has been defined as "an integrated system of plant and animal production practices having a site-specific application that will last over the long term: satisfy human food and fiber needs; make the most efficient use of non-renewable resources and on-farm resources and integrate, where appropriate, natural biological cycles and controls; sustain the economic viability of farm operations; and enhance the quality of life for farmers and society as a whole.”

Related portal: Permaculture
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ENGR 215 Introduction to Design projects – Fall 2010: HBCSL Somoa Hostel: The Fall 2010 semester of Engineering 215 worked with Humboldt Bay Center for Sustainable Living to design and build projects that support a proposed eco-hostel in Humboldt County.

Fall 2010 ENGR 215 Intro to Design Projects - HBCSL
Thermosyphon Solar Shower System
An outdoor shower that utilizes solar energy to heat the water  
Samoa Hostel Truth Tank
Provides greywater treatment system for a satellite solar shower  
Samoa Hostel Wattimus Prime
A metering scheme that monitors the amount of energy used by the visitors  
Can You Feel The Heatloss?
An education display about convection and heat loss  
Samoa Hostel Natural Paints
A natural paint display to educate visitors of the Samoa Hostel  
Pain in the Axle
A bicycle-powered electrical generator that powers a television and DVD player  
Samoa Hostel Windbelt
An array of wind belts that can charge a cell phone  
The Mechanical Munchy-Maker
A mechanical bicycle that generates energy to power a kitchen appliance  
Samoa Hostel Insulation Station
Educates visitors about the effectiveness insulation types and their relative costs  
Samoa Hostel greywater island
Models, designs, and educates guests and implementers of hostel size greywater treatment  

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