(David Craig is a local innovator whom I met at an event a couple weeks ago, and he wowed me when we chatted about his newest project. I know I can’t stop singing the praises of DFC’s neighbourhood, but the news David related to me means my community is about to get even more exciting!)
Builder David Craig’s Talking Trees Earthship build is unfolding as part of North Frontenac’s “One Small Town” project — The first Canadian iteration of a utopian community planning initiative.
While the town will — according to plans — feature a wellness centre, a wood shop specializing in canoes, and an apiary, The Talking Trees project will take care of the homes: each one built to the Earthship design.
The Earthship concept was invented in the 1970s by Michael Reynolds, an American architect who sought to create a home concept that would use indigenous or recycled materials, rely on passive solar energy or other naturally occurring energy sources, and adhere to principles of sustainable architecture.
Craig has modified the overall shape of the Earthship design, but retained key functional components, like a south-facing bank of windows to grow greenhouse plants for food and processing greywater, and a back wall made of rammed earth and recycled car tires, that acts as “thermal mass” to regulate internal temperature, no matter the conditions outside. Proponents tout Earthships as being so self-sufficient they are nearly “off the grid.” Which could be great for some homeowners!
“[Craig] said the owner of the home plays a big part in the design in terms of how many solar panels are used, size of the greenhouse and accoutrements as well as actual construction if desired but $150 per square foot is ‘middle ground’ building cost for these homes.
The actual plan for One Small Town is very much still in the planning stages but for Craig location, and/or construction of the other components (medical centre, electrical generating plant, aquaculture facility, apiary and wood products) is a non-issue. He’s ready to start building houses as soon as the land is secured and subdivided.”
I love how, with this project, local people are coming together to realize an innovative, almost pie-in-the-sky dream, and using technology to bring our community back into sync with the land. We’ll see how funding and permit-acquiring go, and check back in with Talking Trees by the time they break ground in 2018!