Biophilic Design: In simple terms, it is an attempt to bring the natural, outdoor environment, into a home or other indoor space. For example, the usage of raw wood (cross laminated timber!), windows giving views of the outdoors, and moss walls!
For fellow country woodland dwellers, biophilic design may seem unnecessary. All we have to do is walk out our back door, and BAM!
Moss, trees, leaves, ferns, birds, deer, foxes, streams, the occasional goat-eating bear…take a deep breath of earthy air..
…and continue with your day. For more urban-ish inhabitants, their world is less of the natural and untamed…and more of the ‘constructed.’ Especially for those trapped in certain urban areas by economic and social constraints, they walk out onto the street to man-made lights, blacktop, concrete, controlled lawns, sirens, fences, litter, the smell of people and vehicles…
Biophilic design is a way to bring the natural, the color green, back into manipulated, human controlled, environments. This design element improves the overall physical, mental, and emotional health of inhabitants of constructed spaces.
While biophilic design may be more critical to urban environments due to their lack of easy access to the natural, it can still be instilled and valued in rural homes and buildings as well.
For example, just because William and I have both grown up in the middle of the woods, and because we want to build our home and raise our family in the middle of the woods, does not mean we cannot also incorporate biophilic design into our home.
In my parents’ house, I sometimes intentionally leave all the doors open, walk from the outside to inside barefoot, and allow all of the moss, leaves, bugs, and sticks that my bare feet, the wind, and the dogs carry in to remain strewn on our cork floors.
My mom doesn’t appreciate this interpretation of biophilic design…So, William and I are investigating more, ‘less messy,’ ways of having ‘biophilic design’ in our home. As I have mentioned the word probably three times by now, one way is ‘moss.’
Welcome to our third Home Building Curiosity, Ecocor! As with the first two Home Building Curiosities, Ecocor is not only a curiosity, but an inspiration in the field of sustainable building. Ecocor is exceptional in how it actually meets all five of William and I’s foundational principles in our mission. Based in Searsmont, Maine, Ecocor designs and manufactures prefabricated, Passive House (PHI) certified, net zero ready, small footprint, healthy living building components and homes.
Ecocor is very proud of their wall panels, and they rightly should be! Their walls are prefabricated at their Searsmont location, allowing for a climate-controlled build of each panel. Every wall panel meets Passive House standards, and has a specific assembly structure that is even being patented.
The manufacturing of individual wall panels allows Ecocor, the architect, and the buyer to get creative, while still achieving a quickly and quality built home. They promote the motto of “If it can be drawn, we can build it.” Think of their walls as super insulated, airtight, lego blocks, that allow you to build your own unique passive home.
While their wall panels are prefabricated and allow custom builds, Ecocor does have a sector devoted to prefabricated, Passive House certified, modular homes. This branch is called Solsken, which means “sunshine” in Swedish. All of the homes in their Solsken Ecocor collection are named after flowers, which William and I love (because we were actually thinking of naming our potential pipe-dream homes after trees)!
The Clivus Multrum composting toilet is kinda cool in that its name gives the bases of how it works in two words. ‘Clivus’ is Latin for ‘incline,’ and ‘multrum’ is Swedish for ‘compost room.’ And, in essence, the Clivus Multrum composting toilet is a toilet (basically a hole) that lets waste fall into an inclined composting room. Bam. Boom. Blog is basically done.
Ha! Kidding. To give justice to the simplistic yet holistically functional toilet system, it deserves a slightly more in-depth explanation. I promise, this will be simpler than the blog about wastewater treatment facilities…
Their toilets are much more sophisticated looking than a dark, deep hole you squat or stand over. They actually look like a real toilet! Some even use a small amount of foamy, soapy water (no more than 6 ounces) to clean the bowl when you use the flush mechanism…it’s like you would never know that you just sat on top of, and contributed to, compost.
When you donate your waste as tribute to earth fertilizer, it falls down into that inclined chamber. This incline is super important: it is what keeps the urine and the poop from being one, large, smelly, conglomeration. Gravity forces the urine to filtrate downward through the solid wastes, allowing the solid waste to remain dry (and unsmelly). However, when the urine gets to the bottom of the chamber…it is no longer urine…like a butterfly, the caterpillar has gone through metamorphosis!
Wanna know the secret to changing your urine to something else (maybe not necessarily as pretty as a butterfly…)? I sure did…
Our bodies need nutrients to survive. As we consume, we produce waste. This waste is processed. Occasionally, the processed poop ends up as fertilizer and provides nutrients to our nutrients. We then consume said fertilized nutrients…and set them free again! ‘Tis more than the Cycle of Poop. In truth (a deeper more philosophical existential sense…), it is the cycle of life~ where every living being, plant to animal, has a purpose…and even its demise results in a form of rebirth and a giving of life to another. Poop has a Purpose.
In a much more scientific and detailed manner, I am now going to explain to you, dear readers, the step by step processes for how city people take care of their waste (Centralized Wastewater Collection and Treatment) and how country folk take care of their waste (Decentralized Wastewater Collection and Treatment). I will attempt to keep it concise and organized (and all existential crises excluded)…as cleaning poop can be a messy endeavor.