Category Archives: Green Building and Bamboo

Green building in the tropics- thermal mass

When I first started researching green building I found pretty quickly that the vast majority of material, books, websites, etc. are made for people living in the temperate zones of the US and Europe.  There is a ton of material … Continue reading

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Cool Roof Design by Kim Obermeyer

Kim Obermeyer of hipEhabitat.com talks about his design for a cool roof – a double layer roof that will prevent heat from the sun from radiating into the living space. The roofing system features pre-painted structural zinc roof panels with … Continue reading

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Beach House Progress – Plycem Walls and Bamboo Siding

We started building the beach house way back in March – or was it February 2013? The point is, it’s been so long that it’s hard to remember. The main delay has been caused by an irresponsible carpenter with a … Continue reading

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Finding Fallen Wood

Our wood dramas continue…. If you’ve been reading about the progress of our beach house construction you’ll see a repeated theme – we’ve been delayed by the local carpenter again and again. Now, the house is pretty much finished – … Continue reading

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Teak Post and Concrete Block Bodega

We have begun building up on the ridge! First project – a place to store our tools, saddles, surfboards, wheelbarrow, and the building supplies that we’ll need to collect when we’re ready to start building the actual house. The name … Continue reading

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Windmills In Nicaragua

One of Nicaragua’s most valuable resources turns out to be wind.   Super strong (often hurricane force) and consistent winds blow across lake Nicaragua.   These amazing winds are basically Trade Winds that are funneled and amplified as the high pressure on … Continue reading

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Tiny House with Bamboo Construction on the Osa Peninsula

On a trip to the Osa Peninsula last year we looked up someone called “Super Steve” who we were told was building some beautiful things with bamboo. Despite the fact that we showed up out of nowhere, Super Steve aka … Continue reading

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Earthship in China

Our friend Ben is really excited about earthships. He wants to build one here in Northern Nicaragua. I didn’t know much about them, but undertook a program of self-study reading through all three volumes of Michael Reynolds’ Earthship books. The … Continue reading

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Growing Guadua bamboo

We had been searching for it for nearly a year, since we learned about it in Ecuador.  Guadua bamboo (Guadua angustifolia and other species) is the giant bamboo species native to Central and South America.  It is one of the strongest … Continue reading

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Dome Treehouse in Ukiah by Jay Nelson

Everyone loves a tree house. This one is particularly pleasing. Inspired by an acorn, this 8′ domed tree house was made of fiberglass, resin, wood and glass by San Franciscan artist Jay Nelson in 2007 for Larry Rinder. It was … Continue reading

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Kauai Treehouse by Jay Nelson

San Francisco based functional artist Jay Nelson built a tree house in Kauai for pro surfer family Aamion Goodwin and Daize Shayne. The top floor is 30 feet up, with 140 square feet of interior living space. Imagine sipping coffee … Continue reading

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Eco Friendly Fire Ant Killer

Fire ants suck! They’re just like regular ants except they swarm, bite, and then leave a painful itchy reminder for hours – usually all over your feet and ankles. I dislike mosquitoes but I hate fire ants. Even though I … Continue reading

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Mountain Biking to the Real Goods Solar Living Institute

What is this magical product that I found at the Real Goods Solar Living Institute? Watch the video below to find out…

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Building a Cabana in Nicaragua – Walls up and Siding on

The walls are up, the siding is on, and our cute little 18’sq cabana is nearly finished! We had to leave Nicaragua at this point and are very excited to get back down there and put in the details like … Continue reading

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A Tiny House in Hopland

On our standard tri-yearly drive between Oregon and LA we finally stopped in the deliciously named Hopland to check out the Real Goods Solar Living Institute. The Tiny House was obviously appealing – a micro home on a trailer built … Continue reading

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Geodesic Dome with solar, wind, geothermal power

A friend of a friend’s place in NY, also has old tire terraced gardens, crushed rubber paths and an awesome 40’+ foot inside climbing rope!! Click the link to watch the video: http://www.sciencefriday.com/embed/video/10407.swf

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Framing the Octagon Window

Designing the window placement was a fun experience that involved measuring, re-measuring, and measuring again, then erasing, measuring, and changing the dimensions multiple times. Our friendly red-headed framer was smilingly patient as we changed our minds back and forth. Right … Continue reading

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Building in Nicaragua – Concrete Floor, Tile, and Wood Dilemmas

Building in Nicaragua is both much easier and much more difficult than it would be in the States. This project in particular is easier than most since we’re building on Coco Loco property with full access to power (except when … Continue reading

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Guanacaste Horizontal Siding

When trying to figure out what type of siding we’d use for our new cabana we checked out the cabanas at the French Guys restaurant (who also have a few cabanas). They used guanacaste horizontal siding and it looks really … Continue reading

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Designing an Eco-friendly Cabana in Northern Nicaragua

Using the Barefoot Architect by Johan van Lengen to get a few ideas during the design process.

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Internet Access in Northern Nicaragua

Trying to get techy, get phone reception, and get the WWW is so incredibly difficult in the sticks of Northern Nicaragua. We’ve spent so many hours trying to figure it out, trying different modems, sticks, smart phones, SIM cards, whats-its … Continue reading

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Building in Nicaragua – Palm Fronds for the Thatch Roof

Accessing the palm fronds for the thatch roof turned out to be one of the easiest things we’ve had to do so far. There’s a property nearby owned by a friend full of the right kinds of palms, so we … Continue reading

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Building in Nicaragua – Is Cutting Mangroves ever Sustainable?

Mangle, mangle, mangle! We were told we needed to get some varilla to support the palma (palm thatch leaves used for our roof). So we said “OK, where do we get that”? We could either buy it from a local … Continue reading

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New Ocean View Eco Community in Northern Nicaragua

It’s been brewing for a while and now we’re going for it. We’re planning an eco-friendly community on an amazing piece of land consisting of two ridges, a hilltop, and valley situated behind a bay with great waves and a … Continue reading

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Building in Nicaragua – Eucalyptus Plantation and Roof Assembly Video

The video footage of the Eucalyptus plantation experience and the start of the roof assembly.

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Building in Nicaragua – Eucalyptus Plantation Politics

The house progresses rapidly. It’s amazing how quickly the eucalyptus posts can be assembled into home shape. Our nine supporting pillars were bought, cut, delivered, and cemented into place within four days. For the rest of the roof structure we … Continue reading

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Building in Nicaragua – Shopping for Eucalyptus Video

A video summary of shopping for the eucalyptus posts that will become the pillars for our cabana in Nicaragua.

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Building a Cabana in Nicaragua – Eucalyptus posts

Lately our home base has been a thatched roof cabana at El Coco Loco, the Eco-hotel where we run our women’s surf and yoga retreats. Since the guys at Coco Loco have been letting us crash there in between retreats, … Continue reading

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Building with Bamboo – Making Esterilla

Esterilla is essentially flattened bamboo and can be used as flooring, wall paneling, and anything else where you need a strong flat material. In Ecuador we saw it used as walls in many local homes. We happened to come across … Continue reading

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Treehouse Envy

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Bamboo: Hip-E habitat?

The search for a sustainably built home has led us all over the place in the past months.  We’ve been learning a lot about various green building methods and materials, from hay bales, to clay, earth ships and bamboo.   … Continue reading

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