Thursday, April 29, 2010

EcoVillage Foundation Set!

Post and photos by the Hawthorne Hawkman

This is likely a sign of what 2010 will be like for the Hawthorne EcoVillage. Progress is already happening at 400 31st Ave N at such a rapid click that I can barely keep track of it. Only a few days ago, we broke ground, and construction has already started.

I'd wax eloquently about this, but I have an important meeting to get to.

(Do not click "read more," but do enjoy the photos and celebrate progress!)


Anonymous said...

Jeff, could you give us some construction details? Wasn't this supposed to be a LEED certified house? I was expecting thicker walls or a some geothermal mass, but it looks like a garden variety Minneapolis code compliant $20,000 basement.

thanks, Dyna

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

First one thing occurred to me. It looks as if some of the pictures were taken in spite of the "danger, keep out" sign. Let me assure you that I did not set foot on the property at 400 31st, and therefore did not enter the construction zone.


This will indeed be a LEED-certified house. While I don't have construction details at my fingertips at 11 at night, I don't remember anything about the foundation that is significantly different for LEED certification. (Oh, and it will be certified under at least one, perhaps two other green standards that escape me at the moment.)

We're still looking for a way to incorporate geothermal, but that simply is not cost-effective for a single unit. This house employs other materials and designs to bring it up to certification.

Anonymous said...

That looks like an egress window going in. I don't like this as it creates possibilities of packing in as many people as possible into the unit. The window also allows energy to escape vs keeping the wall intact, hardly energy efficient.

Anonymous said...


There is something to be said for building a structure so that people can get out of the basement if there is a fire.

I'm glad there's so much progress being made in the EcoVillage. NoMi is going to have the smallest carbon footprint of any part of the cities if this keeps up.

The Hawthorne Hawkman said...

That, and I believe city codes require at least a certain number of egress windows for safety reasons. I still stand by an assertion in a post from last year that Mr. Slummy's egress windows were being added for no purpose other than to maximize bedroom space. However, that should not be the assumption for all such windows.

Hans said...

anon 11:45

If you check the plans on site you can see that all of the 3 bedrooms are on the upper level.

Egress window or not if somebody wants to 'pack em in' basements will be used for sleeping rooms. I highly doubt this *new construction* will be purchased by a landlord trying to pack in residents.

You are correct that windows are less efficient than solid cement walls... but a couple of egress windows can turn dank dark basement space into usable rooms that people actually want to spend time in (laundry, play room, rec room, tv room, storage room, etc). It is also cheaper to cool basement spaces in the summer.

In my opinion it's foolish to ignore the benefits of egress windows when doing new construction.

Also... raw energy efficiency is not the only factor that is considered in LEED certification.

To Jeff's comment about the other certification... this house will also be certified by the American Lung Association as a "Health House." From the EcoVillage task force March meeting notes: "This additional certification required just a few changes to the project design, including providing hardwood floors in the living room and dining room instead of carpet." You can check out for more info on the program.

Anonymous said...

What will become of the sign when the home is build and sold? I am concerned about so much waste that cannot be reused or will there be more houses identical that the sign can just be moved from property to property?

Patrick said...


Are you just trolling? The EcoVillage project is a wonderful addition to NoMi. Whatever carbon might be generated as a result of advertising the EcoVillage will be more than offset by the green nature of the construction.

And even if some carbon gets generated as a result of advertising but more people move to the EcoVillage and thereby live greener lifestyles (with fewer or no kids, hopefully) aren't we all benefitting?

Although it may be a good idea to use some of the EcoVillage funding to buy carbon credits.

Homewood Confidential said...

Here we have yet another bizarre exchange between anonymous (6:46) and pseudo-anonymous (Patrick) commenters, which has been skyrocketing in frequency for months.

From what I can see, the only part of the sign that is a "consumable" is the actual printed surface, which appears to be either foamcore applied to a wood substrate or a printed laminate. Will that get thrown in the trash eventually? Yes. The rest is solid wood.

The strangeness of Anon 6:46's query is only outdone by Patrick's reply: "Use EcoVillage funding to buy carbon credits"? Seriously?

Patrick, I'm getting the feeling you and some friends enjoy using the comment threads here as a form of improv theater where you each try to outdo the others, backing one another into ever more improbable/impossible discussions.

MeganG. said...

@Homewood, I second your words and I'll raise them even further... I say there are no "and friends" but rather one person who is talking to himself with made up characters! LOL

Some are anonymous comments, some with made up names like Shamika, Patrick, Sean, Eloise etc (have I left any of the multi-personalities out?)

I think our troll's name is Sybil. LOL.

The troll can't use their real name(s), because they have no credibility and have poor standing in the community. The troll has many motives to shut John up, disrupt the blog, hijack the conversation, make a distraction, create controversy, discredit the validity and influence of the JNS blog, smear the people who participate here on the virtual community center that this blog has become, and overall receive negative attention, cuz, you know, it's better than NO attention. It's a tactic that certain characters have been using around the northside for a while now; intimidation, public humiliation, name calling (you're a racist!), make something so unpleasant people retreat and withdraw. I think they have a play book with different plays for different situations a la NFL football.

These are real nice, upstanding people we are dealing with. They will fit right in to the decent, respectable community that NoMi is becoming. *(see footnote)

*This means they WON'T and CAN'T fit into a decent, respectable community therefore they have major incentive to keep the status quo of a dysfunctional, oppressed inner city neighborhood.

Hans said...

I think there are enough weirdo's out there to keep us all dumbfounded for years.

It's too bad those same weirdo's cry foul when their performance medium is taken away from them.

Anonymous said...

I do like Patrick's idea of reducing the volume of children in the neighborhood. Not only for the purpose of reducing the carbon footprint but crime in the area would likley stay at a low level. Perhaps we could look at putting caps on the number of children on a given block?

Hans said...

It's interesting that the trolls never attempt to tell us that they are real people.

Come on Patrick, Shamika, etc... defend your honor! (and maybe tell us what children have to do with a carbon footprint?)

Anonymous said...

I think the trolls are two, maybe three slumlords who want to stop the revitilization efforts. JNS is trying to stop the slum lords in their tracks and bring in more owner occupiers. This is directly contrary to a slum lord's money making endeavors.

Hoff for mayor!

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure anything can be done about reducing the number of children in NoMi, but it is definately the environmental elephant in the room. Unless we do something about overpopulation our other green minded efforts, including unfortunately the eco village, are largely pointless.

Sure people can mulch, by cfl bulbs and drive a prius, but as long as they keep popping out babies they're having a NEGATIVE impact on the environment.

Face it, kids are carbon spewing monsters and the fewer of them there are the better off Gaia is.

Katie said...

Anon 9:27 -

Read "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift. Is that what you are thinking?


Jesamine Green said...

A study by statisticians at Oregon State University concluded that in the United States, the carbon legacy and greenhouse gas impact of an extra child is almost 20 times more important than some of the other environment-friendly practices people might employ during their entire lives — things like driving a high mileage car, recycling, or using energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs.

Hans said...

I think 9:27 has it right.

We should all just jump off a cliff and do the earth a favor.

No more humans equals a MUCH better ecosystem.

Thank you for that insightful comment.

Trees For Kids said...

Associate Professor Barry Walters wrote in a recent issue of Medical Journal of Australia that every couple with more than two children should be taxed to pay for enough trees to offset the carbon emissions generated over each child's lifetime. He also suggested that our government Government get rid of the $4k "baby bonus" and contemplate population controls like those in China and India.

I'm all for planting trees - any excuse to plant trees is good :). But what if people can't afford to plant those trees and have kids anyway? Do we send those children to the salt mines or summarily execute them? Do we send their parents to education camps or castrate/sterilize them so they don't do it again? Ugh. Tough one.

Anonymous said...

These are difficult questions but it is good to get them out in the open. I know it is unsavory to talk about population reduction, but the alternative is roasting in carbon ovens of our own creation.

Hans said...

Work is progressing over at 400 31st. I saw insulation on the concrete when I drove by earlier today. It's exciting to see a new home being built where crime was once a huge problem.

The MURL house on 6th st is also progressing nicely... the construction noise is music to my ears.

Does anybody know when the demonstration garden is going to be finished? I'm interested to see what kind of native plants are going to be available to residents in 2011. I'm hoping they plant some low maintenance grass... watering and mowing can be a huge waste of time and money.

Thank you to everybody who helped make this neighborhood more livable! We are enjoying it more every day.