Mud Hands.jpg
FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Organization data
Type Nonprofit organization
Location Arcata, California
Impact 172,780

The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology is a student-run sustainability organization on the site of Cal Poly Humboldt in Arcata, California, which is intended as a site for experiementing with and developing small-scale or "appropriate" technology.[1]

In the late '70s a short assembly of devoted college students saved the ramshackle Buck house on the Cal Poly Humboldt campus from being destroyed. With local gatherings and the support of HSU staff and the community, students began to remodel the house and to use it to experiment with what they saw as "appropriate" technologies. In the summer of 1979 the students obtained the house, redesigned it and decided to actually use the building as a residence. The group became an Associated Students program known as the Campus Center for Appropriate Technology (CCAT).

Mission[edit | edit source]

"The mission of CCAT is to demonstrate appropriate technology in a residential setting, to provide hands-on experiential learning opportunities to Cal Poly Humboldt and the surrounding community, to collect and disseminate information about appropriate technology, to examine the ethical and social consequences of technology, and to dispel the myth that living lightly on the earth is difficult or burdensome. CCAT is dedicated to sustainability and seeks to help others live likewise."

Since 2012, CCAT's Mission statement is: "We are dedicated to sustainability and strive to show that treading lightly on the earth is both practical and rewarding. We collect and share information on appropriate technology, while providing hands-on learning opportunities (CCAT House)." This quote is the new message those interested in appropriate technology are sending the community they reside in. Whilst the goals have not really changed, the current program aims at ensuring a better hands-on learning experience. The CCAT house residents want to show how important the Earth is. Showing this importance through projects, experimenting and creativity is also personally rewarding.

What is the meaning behind Appropriate Technology? The term "appropriate" indicates that such technology stabilizes the environment socially and meets the needs of the residential community economically. Appropriate Technology (AT) describes a way that we can come together and provide sufficient hands-on human qualities and ideas without damaging the Earth's finite natural resources. To determine if a certain technology is good for proper use, the CCAT House wants to study the causes of prospective problems. Is the technology item built locally or made up of local materials from the community? Is it able to be built from scratch or at least to be properly managed, with a limited supply of certain training? Can the technology built be used for future generations? Is there harm to humans or the environment while producing it or when it comes into use? Any benefits? Good or bad? Affordable? The CCAT House seeks answers to all these possible questions and even the hypothesis. If a solution balances the benefits and harms of the hands-on built technology, it is approved as appropriate.

AT in action: CCAT's yurt

Fig 3: CCAT's Yurt

For thousands of years, nomadic herders of Central Asia have used yurts. Traditional yurts are portable and easy to break down. Their walls are made of latticed sections covered by felted wool that can be easily disassembled.

"CCAT's yurt, however, is a permanent structure. With a weatherproofed canvas roof and wooden walls, it is not made for easy disassembly. This yurt was constructed in the late 1970s as part of a class comparing round-structure cultures to square-structure cultures. Andy Alm, Tom Balderston and Rod Huffsmith, then students in the class, spearheaded the project. It is based on designs by Lynn Charney and the Coxes.

The CCAT yurt's interior features an off-grid lighting system including:

  • Solar PV panel to generate electricity
  • A battery for electrical storage
  • Energy-efficient LED light bulbs

This Lighting system was designed and installed in fall of 2006 by an HSU engineering graduate student class, Development Technology." This was taken from the lower part of the board outside of the CCAT Yurt.

What's the background of the CCAT House? The Campus Center for Appropriate Technology is a live-in demonstration home and educational center for appropriate technology and resource conservation. CCAT is a registered non-profit organization and is the home for three students who live in the house and direct the program for one-year periods. We are located on the Cal Poly Humboldt campus. Motivated by an ethic of "education by example," CCAT offers tours, workshops and opportunities for hands-on involvement to university students and the general public. Approximately 18 part-time student employees keep operations going. A student-funded, student-run organization, CCAT has been operating for about 32 years now. They continue to serve as an living laboratory, giving students the opportunity to learn hands-on by designing, creating and testing numerous appropriate technologies, green-building designs, and sustainable-living techniques. Although the house has been through its fair share of obstacles and speed bumps, the students seem always to push through and prevail so that they can help educate the world about appropriate technology.[2]

Come Volunteer! CCAT is always busy building new projects and maintaining existing ones. Here are listed some of the things you can do while volunteering.

  1. Gardening
  2. Groundswork
  3. Painting signs
  4. Work on appropriate tech projects, and get a free lunch to boot.

Are you interested in working for the CCAT House? Co-Directors are needed to help assist on projects.[3]

Fig 4:Garden at the CCAT House

Taking a strong active role in the community is something the CCAT house always wants to do. Welcoming new people makes it that much better to get involved with others. Networking is a great way to make new friends and meet local people around the community.

Fig 5:Walking Trail behind CCAT House
Bayside park farm spring internship
Everyone is interested in some kind of productive work that pays off in the long run. Go ahead and give time to make your resume better by getting involved with the Bayside Park Farm. An internship is an outstanding way to gain experience in the workforce.

CCAT has partnered with Appropedia to bring over 30 years of student based appropriate technology solutions to the world. Please see the pages categorized below.

Current Projects[edit | edit source]

Projects come and go at CCAT, where students actively engage in a living laboratory of evolving projects. Projects still working are listed in the sortable table below and categorized at Category:CCAT active project.

Project Description/Notes Location Type
CCAT earthbag garden terrace earthbags interior, lime and clay different recipes on left, cement casing on right, sheep wool as binder Outdoor Garden
CCAT greywater marsh (current) Inactive, current water goes to Arcata Marsh Outdoor Wastewater
Brick Circle Hole Near street, part of graywater system? Outdoor Wastewater
CCAT papercrete clayslip demo wall off ground, has a roof Outdoor Architecture
Greenhouse plant starts, back wall with beachgrass-slip Outdoor Garden
Cold frames Outdoor Garden
Cobb-clay Garden Walls deteriorating Outdoor Garden
Pathways board pathways, some old concrete, and placed brick Outdoor Garden
Garden house cob oven Outdoor shelter above, green roof, demonstration cooking Outdoor Fire place
Outdoor Grill rusty grilling apparatus? Outdoor Fire place
CCAT greenshed cordwood wall Green shed Architecture
CCAT greenshed cob wall Green shed Architecture
CCAT Clay-straw slip wall Green shed Architecture
CCAT greenshed solar lighting Outdoor Photovoltaic
Food Forest permaculture, rusty sculpture, brick walkway Outdoor Garden
CCAT Compost System rope/pulley system. Outdoor Composting
Mushroom Beds Outdoor Garden
CCAT cob bench howto with shelter from rain Outdoor Garden
CCAT yurt Separate PV, new can metal roof, water-bottle lighting Outdoor Photovoltaic/ Lighting
Herb Bed Tiered, based on water need Outdoor Garden
Native Plant Restoration invasive Acacia out, constant removal of sprouts/shoots Outdoor Garden
CCAT Earthship Wall bamboo at top (harvested), sticks, tires, logs, cinderblocks (in descending order) Outdoor Architecture
Kiwi Arbor broken birdfeeder, unfinished? Outdoor Garden
Story Circle decaying and misplaced logs Outdoor ?
Interpretive Signs Upkeep/replacement over time Indoor/Outdoor Monitoring
CCAT PV system for the house Indoor/Outdoor Photovoltaic
CCAT MEOW Indoor/Outdoor Photovoltaic
CCAT rainwater catchment system first flush barrel Indoor/Outdoor Rain water
Library Organization of reference material, digitalization of the documentation and some material Indoor Organization
Seed Swapping Station Indoor ?
CCAT Wash n Flush Indoor Sanitary
CCAT CCATBox not being used Indoor Sanitary
HEIF CCAT solar hot water system for the house, data logging equipment in plumbing downstairs; tied to solar thermal heating system; Pipes, electrical components Indoor/Outdoor Heating
CCAT pedal washing machine Indoor Domestic engineering
plyboo floorboards Indoor
living room floorboards finish with beeswax + olive oil Indoor
woodstove Indoor Heating
How to make awesome thermal curtains How to wash (don't put in drier) Indoor Domestic engineering
kitchen hotbox Indoor Domestic engineering
CCAT cold box old coldbox location undesirable? exposed insulation in old coldbox space Indoor Domestic engineering
solar tubes Indoor Domestic engineering
CCAT natural concrete stain Indoor
Real linoleum floor in pantry How to repair Indoor
CCAT natural paints Indoor
CCAT sunfrost refrigerator High moisture content Indoor Domestic engineering
Stove space heater Buy dry wood, clean chimney regularly Indoor Domestic engineering
CCAT pedal sewing machine Indoor Domestic engineering
Blown Cellulose Wall Insulation upstairs walls Indoor Architecture
CCAT rocket stove Decaying Outdoor
CCAT non toxic cleaners Indoor
CCAT gravity fed drip irrigation Indoor
Clay reserves Indoor
CCAT DraftMaster Indoor
CCAT clothes drying Indoor
CCAT pedal powered TV Electric Indoor Pedal power
CCAT pedal electric blender Mechanical Indoor/Outdoor Pedal power
CCAT pedal grinder Mechanical Indoor/Outdoor Pedal power
CCAT pedal drill press Mechanical Indoor/Outdoor Pedal power
CCAT human powered belt sander Mechanical Indoor/Outdoor Pedal power
Pedal Power MEOW Electric MEOW Pedal power
CCAT Raised Garden Beds Outdoor Garden
CCAT data collection

References[edit | edit source]

External links[edit | edit source]

CCAT Solar Charging Station

FA info icon.svg Angle down icon.svg Page data
Keywords sustainability organizations
SDG SDG04 Quality education
Authors KVDP, Lonny Grafman, Jesse
License CC-BY-SA-3.0
Organizations Cal Poly Humboldt, Engr205 Introduction to Design, JMC116 Intro to Mass Communication
Language English (en)
Related 0 subpages, 26 pages link here
Aliases Campus Center for Appropriate Technology, Portal:CCAT, Seacat
Impact 1,885 page views
Created July 15, 2009 by Jesse
Modified January 29, 2024 by Felipe Schenone
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