Permaculture has been an inspiration for our natural building project, 'Permaculture' sounds like such a strange term that it can be off putting. I have read up on the subject and recently did a two day 'introduction to permaculture' course which has helped in my understanding of what it really is.
Permaculture is a way of living which observes and recreates natures patterns, working with nature rather than against it. It is often used in relation to farming but the principles and ethics apply to every situation, it is a framework for positive action. In the design of our home we have tried to think of the permaculture principles, once we are living in our home, we will apply these to our plot.
Permaculture Ethics: People care, Earth care, Fair share.
The Permaculture principles in relation to the construction of our house:
Observe and interact
Catch and store energyWe have tried to position and design the house to best use the sun to be warm in winter and cool in summer. The thick earthen walls will provide ‘thermal mass’ they absorb the suns heat, or the winter cold and as the temperature changes they regulate, releasing the warmth or the cold they have stored.
Obtain a yield
Apply self regulation and accept feedbackThere will be rain water collection which will be enough for part of the year the rest of the time we will collect borehole water which at present is 1km away, not having water pumped into the house will be a challenge but from experience we use far less when this is the case. Only using what is essential.
Use and value renewable resources and services
Produce no waste
Design from patterns to detailsThe round shape of the house and the internal forms are far more organic than angles, this is very soothing to be surrounded by these shapes.
Integrate rather than segregateThe design of the house has been done to also fit into the rural home designs around us matching the round earthen walls and thatched roof. Living in a place surrounded by nature having an earthen house blends into our surroundings.
Use small slow solutions
We have tried to design the house for our needs and keep it as small as we can and be comfortable, we would like to create outdoor spaces that are comfortable to spend time in as we spend a lot of our time outside.
Creatively use and respond to change
In a place where anything can happen anytime we have to be able to adapt, this includes this project. We will see as it evolves if certain things need to be changed.
Use edges and value the marginal
The site we chose is on the edge of where people live and the wildlife area. We wanted to live in this area for several reasons, there is conflict with wildlife entering into the areas where people live, those on the edge feel the effects far more. We hope to be able to 'turn the problem into the solution' at least try out different ways to change this.