Comparative Study of Ecological Developments From a Domestic to an Urban Level Projects

Subject: Environment
Pages: 27
Words: 11979
Reading time:
43 min
Study level: College


General Analysis Research about Ecological Issues

Human society is inconsistent in interaction with its environs through the daily activities it engages in. In the process, there is a distortion in the naturalness of the environment where these interactions occur. The bracing of the environment, preservation of its organs, ensuring continuity of life of humans and organisms are often met with issues straining against the bid to retain natural environments and has therefore necessitated the study called Ecology. Laugh has defined Ecology as follow:

“…the interdisciplinary scientific study of the distributions, abundance, and relations of organisms and their interactions with the environment. Ecology is also the study of ecosystems” (Laugh, 2003).

Similarly, Wright (2004) has considered ecology as follow:

“…the environment as it relates to living organisms” (Wright, 2004).

In brief, the definitions suggest that the environment structures a vital component of the existence of life on the earth; and an environment that is healthy/clean supposes an indispensable requirement for healthy living. Yet, it is better to define ecology from a way defined position such as ecological footprints, ecological economics, ecological stability, and so on. Some fundamental ecological issues present in society include:

  • Acid Rain: This is a deposit of acidic elements in precipitated snow forms. This is resultant of atmospheric reactions of pollutant moistures which form precipitations in rain forms;
  • Air Pollution: This constitutes harmful-chemical-substance introduction into the atmosphere; and
  • Climate Change: This is a fundamental alternation in weather’s average state within a geographical region.

Other fundamental ecological issues or factors include Coral reefs; earthquakes; ecological footprints; energy conservations; energy crisis; environmental ethics; environmental pollutions; E-waste; endangered species; forestry; fossil fuel; fuel economy; genetic erosion; global warming; greenhouse effect; hurricanes; hydroelectricity; landslides; melting glaciers; noise pollution; nuclear energy; ocean dumping; oil spills; overpopulation; ozone depletion; recycling; soil conservation; solar energy; tornadoes; tsunamis; volcanoes; water pollutions; wildfires; wildlife conservation; and wind energy. Ecology is a vast field.

Even though these mentioned issues are fundamental to ecology, it is not in the scope of the paper to discuss them in detail. The paper will rather be inclined to structural designs in their various compositions as relating to ecology (and the naturalness of the environment) and how these are effective in the control of the ecological issue. This will be achieved through an articulated study of several ecology-friendly constructions and adequate knowledge of integrated energy. Krebs (2001) has stressed that:

“The integrated approach to energy begins with multiple strategies of conservation (insulation, passive solar heating, shading, natural ventilation, daylighting and energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and controls) which reduce the energy demand by 40%” (Krebs, 2001).

The writer further notes that: (Krebs, 2001).

The remainder of the load is provided by: 1) building-integrated, vertical axis wind machines on the tops of the tall buildings (50%), 2) building integrated photovoltaic panels on the roofs and as shading devices (35%), 3) building-integrated solar domestic hot water panels (5%), and 4) a 2-phase anaerobic biogas digester which powers back-up electric turbines (10%). The digester uses food waste (garbage), green waste from the landscape, and sewage sludge from primary sewage treatment as the biomass supply (Krebs, 2001).


The fundamental aim of the paper is to prove that designing ecologically on large scale and not individually in buildings is more sufficient in terms of cost, energy efficiencies and generally for environmental benefits. This will be actualized through consideration of projects in the outline above.

ZEDFactory MMC Housing System

Cost Estimation

The ZEDFactory MMC Housing System is typical of easily constructed houses that combine micro-generations, small-biomass technologies, and impressive zero-carbon affordability. The construction materials in the housing system are traditional and offer much architectural sustainability which has the concrete aspiration of aesthetics such as BedZED. Krebs notes that in the United Kingdom:

BedZED is the largest mixed-use, carbon-neutral development. When it was built in 2002, it set new standards for sustainable building. BedZED comprises 82 affordable dwellings in a mixture of flats, maisonettes, and townhouses, and approximately 2500 m2 of workspace/office, and is built on a brownfield site (Krebs, 2001).

Groombridge and Jenkins further noted that:

“The BedZED urban system reconciles high-density with amenity, providing each dwelling with a sky garden or terrace. A combination of passive measures and proven, cost-effective active technologies form the strategy of an integrated, sustainable” (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

In Upton, Northampton, houses made from this system have been accredited with a 6-certification code as One-Earth-Homes: they are the first of a commercial kind to have such accreditation. The housing system emerged resultant of a set competition won by English-Partnership in conjunction with MHT who developed the houses. Currently, the scheme has spanned into nearly 350 house units. According to Blewitt:

“The ZEDfactory is both ‘sustainable construction’ constant for the whole site and designed 25% of the units [around 90]” (Blewitt, 2008).

The rest of the houses were designed by local architects who made use of ZED standards and the constructions were done with the use of Modern-Methods-of-Construction [MMC] (Daly and Farley, 2004). These MMC structures were made from RuralZED-timber-frame-System (as shown in Plate 1a and b).

RuralZED timber frame system Homes in Upton.
Plate 1: RuralZED timber frame system Homes in Upton, Northampton: (a: RuralZED consisting of a trace of 6 south facing 3 bedroom houses; b: A glazed sunspaces utilizing solar heat to provide winter-space heating).

Nearly fifty of these ZEDfactory designed MMC units were completed in December 2007 and are for use by families and mews-dwellings- the rest are 1-and-2-bedroom flats.

The cost estimation of ZEDFactory MMC Housing may be said to be quite friendly. For example, designed Bill-Dunster-Architect-ZEDfactory units have been known to have a combination of reduced construction-cost as may be weighed against rural-living; and incorporation of space, light, and air (Daly, 1999). It is architecturally accepted that detached-houses-for-the-country or terraced-urban blocks should be constructed to a unified specification. And adhere to recommended tools. Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002 noted:

“For BedZED, these tools are needed to show that normal home heating might be omitted. Super-insulated homes with extensive areas of exposed high thermal capacity materials could thus match heating needs against naturally occurring passive internal and solar heat gains” (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

Further discussion by Groombridge and Jenkins identified several varying ‘design-worst’ cases. It is the prime responsibility of the architect to ensure effective utilization of recommendations to cut the cost of producing the units and at the same time actualize appropriate housing systems.

Daly and Cobb defined ZEDFactory MMC Housing System as follow:

RuralZED house types are based on a timber-frame kit. Buildings are super-insulated and have an internal lining of dense concrete for thermal mass, giving low-carbon, low-energy performance without the need for mechanical cooling. There is a south-facing version with double-height conservatory ‘sunspace’, or an East-West version with or without a sunspace (Daly and Cobb, 1989).

In instances whereby house-units do not meet these specifications, there could be an upgrade such that it attains a complete Zero-(or fossil)-Energy-Development (ZED) specifications and would have an additionally appropriated micro-generation-technology (such as PV, solar-collectors, and wind-turbines); this could either be done at the period of constructing the housing-units or it may be done afterward (Diamond, 2005). Figure 1 shows a sampled orientation of the Terraces, Detached homes, Basic-Gluelam-frame kit, optimized south-facing homes, the RuralZED-services kit, or a general conceptual setting of ZEDFactory MMC Housing System.

Orientation of ZEDFactory MMC Housing System.
Figure 1. Orientation of ZEDFactory MMC Housing System.

The cost for constructing these houses is low due to the following points:

  • “The designs make use of Modern Method of Construction which minimizes construction cost, time, and maximizes building’s quality;
  • “The density of the units is usually 50 homes/ha for 2 –or 3-story terrace;
  • “Wood pellet boilers are made use of in providing heat and hot water; this helps in reduction of the prices;
  • “All units have built-in connection points to make upgrades to a full ZED specification;
  • “Units have a natural ventilation system using wind-driven cowls with heat recovery supplied with water-saving and energy-saving white goods and fittings;
  • “The indicative ‘built cost’ for a mid-terrace unit is approximately £1100/sq.m. or £ 120,000+VAT;
  • “The timber frame kit is available separately for £DIY at 65K+VAT; and
  • “The cost friendliness of the units may be further enhanced by the possibility of recovering VAT over ‘new builds” (Fuad-Luke, 2006).

In general terms, the ZEDFactory MMC Housing System offers affordable and cost-friendly units (Abbey, 1968).

Energy Efficiencies

The ZEDFactory-MMC-Housing System has been designed with the utilization of “fabric first” approaches which in most cases do have a target of reducing the emission of carbon by at least forty-four percent (Brower and Leon, 1999). To achieve this, the architect makes use of specified building materials and specified systems and components that are capable of enhancing the houses’ energy efficiency in the entirety of their lifespan (Emden and Peakall, 1996). For example, Cohen (2006) noted the following factors for the choice of tools for usage on the houses.

“The very coldest outdoor air temperatures usually relate to clear night skies, which in turn most often relate to daytime solar heat gain. Extended periods of overcast skies are critical, although they normally relate to higher outdoor air temperatures” (Cohen, 2006).

It was noted in addition that:

Different occupant lifestyles are also factors; for example, how much top-up heating makes for the comfort of a newborn child? Then there is the prolonged absence of occupants from home, with their consequent lack of contribution to heat gains. Ensuring room temperatures do not fall when this happens is another critical design case, given the absence of a large heating system to recover temperatures when the occupants return (Scott-Cato, 2009).

The architect has to put together some commonsense about inexpressively energy-saving methods most times utilizing the following as suggested by Dalal-Clayton and Sadler:

  • “Roof insulation to budget;
  • “Window insulation to cut energy loss at least by half;
  • “The glassing-in of windy, underused community walkways under the units to create community, block access greenhouses, each with a composting unit;
  • “Moving the garbage collection points away from the entrances of housing units and introducing recycling facility on-site;
  • “Creating large, bright, communal laundries which utilize solar water heating
  • “Solar heated water is used to pre-heat domestic hot water; and
  • “Installation of glass balconies that fold away in summer” (Dalal-Clayton and Sadler, 2009).

From the specifications suggested by Dalal-Clayton and Sadler based on ZEDFactory MMC Housing System, a ZED-in-a-Box would be produced to drive home a clearer illustration of how energy-effective the units could be. A ZED-in-a-Box house is a kind of designed unit that is supposed to be in a highly populated urban setting, mostly having quite a good green spacing for the various units (Bookchin, 2007).

It could be designed for blocks as well as for bricks and has to have superior insulation as well as an airtight-thermal mass (Daly, 2007). For the design in view, the house is to be designed for a gain of solar energy, which is to be from the south-faced conservation of ‘sunspace’ (Diamond, 1997). Equally, the ZED design is structured with photovoltaic panels, nonartificial ventilation, sedum-roofs, as well as rainwater harvesting devices as shown in Figure 2 below. Refer to Appendix A for details on the energy efficiency of the ZEDFacotory MMC Housing System.

A conceptual design of a housing unit to illustrate the energy efficiency of the ZEDFactory MMC Housing System
Figure 2. A conceptual design of a housing unit to illustrate the energy efficiency of the ZEDFactory MMC Housing System (Adams and Jeanrenaud, 2008).


The Basic benefit of the ZEDFactory MMC Housing System is the realization of the best housing by achieving energy, water efficiency, best sanitation methods, and less production of hazardous gasses in households and the construction industry. In other to actualize the benefits, the construction stage has to involve coordinating builders; this is achievable through materials-procurement and management, quality control, monitoring, and technical supports (Daly, 2007).

CO2 Footprint

Typically, a family in Britain emits carbon annually in three ways: one-third of the emission is a product of heating/powering of a home; a third of the emission is generated from transportation through using personal cars and through commuting, and a third is from food-miles. Scott-Cato (2009) has noted:

“The average meal in Britain travels over 2,000 miles (3,200 kilometers) from farm to dinner plate” (Scott-Cato, 2009).

A combination of these makes it nearly impossible for one is in Britain not to be engaged in practices that would promote the generation of carbon- there have continually been environmental costs where one finds him or herself. Architecturally, BedZED is a deliberate attempt of ensuring the most acceptable carbon-neutral practices through the construction of eco-friendly solutions which are in zero-carbon-housing-development forms. In the view of Scott-Cato:

“BedZED provides the ingredients for a new kind of solar urbanism, with housing facing south, and commercial space facing north” (Scott-Cato, 2009).

The houses through articulate architectural designing afford residents the privilege to make use of sunlight through tripled roof-lights over stair-voids. Otherwise, the ground floor of the units is raised to 1200 mm beyond pavements and workspaces which allows occupants of the houses to gaze around into the streets. Scott-Cato (2009) further notes:

“Terraces are never longer than six units – allowing the development to be porous to pedestrians and cyclists, whilst parking is flung to the perimeter of the site” (Scott-Cato, 2009).

The incorporation of these facilities to ZEDFactory MMC Houses is, therefore, a highly integrated practice for the reduction or management of CO2 Footprint.

Orientation/ Lighting

The Orientation of a house is majorly functional of the end-use for which it is meant. In considering an orientation for ZEDFactory MMC Housing System, recommendations for orientation of housing units vary as to whether the houses are for workspace or a home (Refer to Appendix B). According to studies:

“The latter has potentially high occupancy levels and office machine heat gains which, added to solar gain,[and] can at times give too high a room temperature and prompt a need for summer supplementary mechanical cooling” (Dalal-Clayton and Sadler, 2009).

An upstairs building with a sun-facing orientation
Figure 3. An upstairs building with a sun-facing orientation: (a) in the diagram (b) in final constructed form (Clarke and King, 2006)
House-Light orientation.
Figure 4. House-Light orientation.

Figures 3 and 4 are illustrations of appropriate orientations under the system. Figure 3 present a diagram (in a) and a plate (in b) which illustrate sun-facing orientation. Figure 4 goes a step further by illustrating how the distribution of light from a properly sun-facing orientation (or spaces) could be beneficial to inhabitants of such way-oriented houses. Clark affirms:

These spaces are best orientated north; maximizing natural daylight, reducing the need for daytime artificial lighting, and avoiding excess solar heat gain. The high thermal inertia room surfaces mean that workspaces can easily accept institutional standards of office equipment heat gain, and maintain peak summer comfort conditions using only passive cooling plus cool night natural ventilation. Homes, on the other hand, have less occupancy density and less internal heat gains, so by facing south, gain useful benefit from supplementary solar heat gain (Clark, 2006).

Joint with thermal inertia, ventilation during cool nights could reduce the temperature of ZEDFactory MMC houses so low that the rooms would be colder when compared to appropriately insulated mechanically cooled houses; which may rather be struggling to prevent overheating (Porritt, 2006).

Leicester Abbey Park Road Solar Urban Blocks

Cost Estimation

The Leicester Abbey Park Solar Urban Block is an eco-home sustainable housing scheme whereby the designing of the houses is aimed at achieving environmentally-friendly housing units. In the construction of 5 solar-urban units, Wilson noted the following:

“Five “solar urban blocks” were due to be built on the £10 million riverside development” (Wilson, 2002).

In an infilling project for developing ten acres, a certain landed property which was not adequately utilized at St. Paul’s College-Campus at Forth-Street in NE, the cost was trice that recorded by Wilson (Hilgenkamp, 2005). Scott-Cato reacting to the units at St. Paul’s College also noted that:

The development will include 250 single-family townhouses architecturally designed to be compatible with both the college and existing townhouses in the area. [this would be achieved] through the provision of additional housing at an increased density near the Metro station, the development will help support transit as well as enhance the mixture of uses in the area, which is expecting substantial new retail development (Scott-Cato, M., 2009).

Only recently, a multimillion-pound west bridge was enlisted for development in Leicester under the scheme in the discussion. The prices for raising a total of one thousand two hundred units have been figured out by Laugh as follow:

Up to £80 million could be spent on 1,200 homes, a park, and a promenade on the BUSM factory site, Belgrave. Work has begun on £65 million flats at Abbey Park and Leicester Regeneration Company has £300 million plans to transform Abbey Meadows into a science park. Work is underway on the £50 million performing arts center, in Rutland Street (Laugh, 2003).

The estimated cost of Leicester Abbey Park Road Solar Urban Blocks is an incorporation of the whole system’s method which is utilized in the proof of existent technologies. This modernism is a functionality of the total workability of systems (Brower and Leon, 1999). The sustainable stem is a concept that has added at least five to ten percent of the total cost to the ordinary development and has as well presented a six to the ten-year refunding package which is dependent on policies of the city’s regulation.

This concept is capable of generating several opportunities in business that would turn in appreciable profits for developers. In an instance whereby the dependence of the system is not reliant on a particular homeownership operational changes as well as maintenances, there is a generation of enhanced environmental responsive homes for operating (Fuad-Luke, 2006).

“If the Qingdao EcoBlock’s whole-systems approach works as well as the pre-feasibility study indicates, it will be the first (almost) self-sustaining neighborhood in the world and could help lead China to a more sustainable future” (Blewitt, 2008).

Energy Efficiencies

To foster a resource-efficient and sustainable environment, energy consumption under the Leicester-Abbey-Park-Road-Solar-Urban-Blocks needs to be greatly reduced from the current norm. The existing standards and legislations appear

Leicester Abbey Road.
Figure 5. Leicester Abbey Road.

Around half of each flat, annual energy demand has been met by solar electric panels, with a communal wood pellet boiler providing low carbon heat. This project will meet the UK government target of a 60 % CO2 reduction by 2050 on the day it is completed (Laugh, 2003).

to be functionally obsolete since technological innovation progresses more rapidly due to the lag of time for public approval of programs (Hargroves and Smith, 2005). As such, the legislation is several years behind the technology. Since current developmental practices involve being the least-cost producer of real estate, many projects default to the norms to reduce up to front and financing costs (Hak, 2007). This is an ongoing mistake conventional developers make since the integration of green development practices can significantly reduce future operating costs and, when discounted, are far more than the perceived saving of adhering to the current standards (Goodall, 2007).

Studies by Wright (2004) reviewed that to enhance the energy efficiency of Leicester Abbey Park Road Solar Urban Blocks, the following must be maximized:

There should be no other heating devices except the solar heater and the heating period is not to exceed 2 hours per day of one towel rail, run off the hot water system. At the equinoxes when neither the solar systems nor the Woodburner, are producing reliably (the rooms could get too hot!), the immersion heater is used for top-up purposes (Wright, 2004).

There is a call for the government to further promote green development and help move technological innovations in the next century. However, the pubic sector needs to call upon private organizations to assist in the implementation of green development strategies Hassall (1990).

Considering Curitiba in Brazil, for instance, the implementation of a mass transit system and stringent development regulation has resulted in vast improvements to the overall economy of the city while minimizing pollution and waste, encouraging the efficient use of resources, and improving numerous social programs Krebs (2001). With an efficient transportation system, Curitiba’s fuel consumption is fifty percent the national average, and approximately twenty-seven million car trips are saved each year (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).


One clear benefit of this development is that it would generate several employment opportunities in the business sector. Kobtzeff (2000) has placed the figure of jobs in anticipation at six hundred to nine hundred and has also noted that there may be several opportunities for restaurants, as well. At Bede Island/Hammerson, a thousand extended homes at The-Shires are already on the ground for £350 million. Wright has also noted that:

“Apartments are on the market at Westbridge Wharf, in Bath Lane, and the Metropolitan Housing Trust is advanced, with 350 homes at Leicester Square, Sanvey Gate. Leicester City Council has also begun work on its £19 million” (Laugh, 2003).

CO2 Footprint

A fifty percent reduction in the cost of Utility-bill has been reported by homeowners. The dependence on wooden products is reduced with the use of Eco-blocks which are recyclable materials; which help to conserve forest resources, analysts have projected that about one hundred homes will make use of the insulation-concrete-form systems. Insulating-concrete-form system is fast becoming the most preferred among the majority of construction projects.


The fundamental significance of orientation in this consideration is meant for the prioritization of local business economies.

Comparative Study between Eco-Houses and Eco-Block Projects

Comparison of the Cost Estimations

Twenty eco-energy efficient houses were constructed with the full beneficiary involvement and 20 households formerly living in informal houses were provided with a secure house and land to bring about the construction of Eco-Houses in the UK. This enabled the twenty households to start leading a healthy decent life. The beneficiaries also learned the benefits of living in an eco-house. They, therefore, produced an eco-operative guideline document and training material for future communities (Blewitt, 2008). A guideline document was produced that informs housing practitioners and government institutions on how to develop energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable low-cost housing. The material is continuously shared with beneficiaries so that they practice healthy ways of living (Cohen, 2006).

Twelve people were trained in eco-design construction, of which the training provided knowledge in the use of environmentally acceptable building material. The use of such building material and eco-design contributes to the bigger picture of “climate change”. A multipurpose hall was constructed in a form of a shelter; this has provided the beneficiaries with a place to convene public functions like mass meetings, hawkers’ places, and in the future it will provide a child care center for mothers who have employment (Blewitt, 2008).

It is hoped that all the above will showcase to and influence government institutions, all housing practitioners, and stakeholders in conforming to acceptable practices that would lead to environmentally sustainable housing development while creating and providing decent settlements for lower-income communities. Therefore the overall objective is to practice the best housing by achieving energy, water efficiency, best sanitation methods, and less production of hazardous gasses in households and the construction industry, the construction stage, which involved coordinating builders, materials’ procurement and management, quality control, monitoring, and technical support.

Generally speaking, Eco-Block usually is made use of in load-carrying wall configurations (Bell and Morse, 2008). Joint with foundations and floor-slabs, they form structural boxes that ride ‘waves’ which are generated from rolling moments of earthquakes in planes where measurements could be achieved through the Fujita scale. According to Bookchin:

This is much preferable to a post and beam configuration where points may cause one part of the structure to rise and fall differently than others. Builders use these because they can meet earthquake code requirements and still get the style they like [eg large window openings] (Bookchin, 2004).

Because improved Fujita scales cannot give effective values, as a result, it is not a good device for compilations of building constructions. Eco-houses do have the capability to withstand attacks of tornadoes and hurricanes whereas the stick-built neighbor cannot do the same. Adams and Jeanrenaud in the studies have noted that:

“Single store might result in an EF5 to a wood house but only an EF1 to an Eco-Block house. There are evidence pictures of an Eco-Block house hit by Hurricane Katrina that was the only one standing when the winds stopped” (Adams and Jeanrenaud).

Differences in the Energy Accumulation

Based on the fact that Eco-Blocks are made to bear load-carrying wall configurations and joint with foundations and floor-slabs, they form structural boxes that ride ‘waves’ which are generated from rolling moments of earthquakes in planes, thus offering better energy accumulations as compared to Eco-Houses (Cohen, 2006).

Experience shows that concrete structures are far more likely to remain standing through fire than are structures built of other materials. Concrete does not break down until it is exposed to thousands of degrees Fahrenheit — far hotter than a typical house fire (Cohen, 2006).

During some firewall tests, Cohen (2006) subjected several Eco-block walls to a continual frame from gases which are temperature rated as much as 20000F for a period of 4 hrs. Cohen (2006) realized:

“None of the ICF walls ever failed structurally, in contrast to wood-frame walls, which typically collapse in one hour or less” (Cohen, 2006).

Eco-blocks have demonstrated a high potential in terms of Energy Accumulation. The use of Eco-blocks’ insulation-concrete-form products produces super insulation, with massive concrete walls that consume less energy, are quieter, and an improved air quality (Dalal-Clayton and Sadler, 2009).theEco-blocks can withstand heavy fire-out breaks, strong winds, and extreme weather conditions, making buildings made of Eco-blocks long-lasting and most of all safe compared to those made from conventional building methods.

A fifty percent reduction in the cost of Utility-bill has been reported by homeowners. The dependence on wooden products is reduced with the use of Eco-blocks which are recyclable materials, which help to conserve forest resources. With analysts projecting about one hundred homes will make use of the insulation-concrete-form system. Insulating-concrete-form system is fast becoming the most preferred among the majority of construction projects.

Orientation and Lighting

With regards to the use of wood, steps such as; sheathing and the insulation for wall exteriors are essential in wood-frame construction is eliminated. The expenses associated with the use of concrete with wood are competitively high, experienced crews have reported that insulating concrete form (ICF) requires little amount of work-time. Eco-blocks buildings have long-term benefits to homeowners, as the cost of utility bills is reduced by 50%.

Eco-blocks are earth-friendly and can withstand as high as 200 miles-per-hour of wind speed which provides increased protection in extremely harsh weather conditions. Appreciated by the homeowner for its outstanding insulating value and produces a reduction in noise of about eight times. Locked in-place similar to LEGO, Eco-blocks are made with expanded-polystyrene, insulating concrete form stacks (Bookchin, 2007).

A lesser amount of period is required to be trained in Eco-blocks installation compared to other types of insulation-concrete-form technology. Eco blocks LLC is a company with the image of being innovative driven and experienced which provides high ICF technologies products. Eco-blocks (based in Florida) are manufacturers and suppliers of the most- versatile, easy-to-install, and most advanced insulation-concert-form technology for private and commercial building purposes.


A lot of benefits could be derived from the use of Eco-blocks. Executive-level detached-villas are offered to interested consumers by Lyons-Housing-Corporation, thereby placing herself as the exclusive- builder for Villagio. A vast number of houses in houses in Florida constitute concrete which is designed to meet traditional constructional approaches. In the view of Krebs:

“ECO-Block’s easy-to-use product design makes building concrete homes both simpler faster, which broadens the pool of workers who can build with concrete” (Krebs, 2001)

CO2 Footprint Differences

The expenses associated with the use of concrete with wood are competitively high, experienced crews have reported that insulating concrete form (ICF) requires little amount of work-time. Eco-blocks buildings have long-term benefits to homeowners, as the cost of utility bills is reduced by 50%. Eco-blocks are earth-friendly and can withstand as high as 200 miles-per-hour of wind speed which provides increased protection in extremely harsh weather conditions.

Bedzed a Showcase Ecological Neighborhood

Cost Estimation

Presently, there is a good indication that Bedzed has a good grip of society’s acceptance. For example, scholarly studies have reviewed:

In the southern suburbs of London, near Sutton, one will find Bedzed (Beddington Zero Energy Development), a 100% ecological neighborhood experiment, and a veritable real-time laboratory in sustainable development. Ever since it began in 2002, observers from around the world have been analyzing the global ecological benchmark (Blewitt, 2008).

Blewitt further noted the point of attraction to BedZED as:

Colored vents, recycling containers, a composting shed, planted roofs equipped with mini wind turbines, photovoltaic solar panels on front windows — all tested and proven in real-time. The roofs are covered with plants and the walls are as thick as those in a medieval castle, made of sheep’s wool and brick to improve insulation and reduce heating bills (Blewitt, 2008).

A sort of item which is not found in this instance is the availability of heating. With appropriate sun exposure, appropriate insulations, as well as recovery-heat, are distinguished with BedZED.

Energy Efficiencies

It is extremely rare for individuals to choose to use heated water during winters. The other needed energy, electricity, in particular, is made available for BedZED from the start through solar panels which are usually mounted on the roofs as well as on a testing power plant that was close by. BedZED facilities are deprived of power generation plants based on reasons related to technicalities.


Based on the fact that an ordinary Brit generates approximately twelve equivalent tons of carbon annually, there has been a reduction of the volume by forty percent by a resident of Bedzed. There is also a distinct connection between the public transport system and the neighborhood whereby 2 stations have provided a straight forty-five minutes connection between Victoria-Station and Sutton in London. However, the battle with transport is only slightly overcome based on the fact that at least half the persons dwelling in the region have continued to make the best use of their cars.

CO2 Footprint

Based on the fact that an ordinary Brit generates approximately twelve equivalent tons of carbon annually, there has been a reduction of the volume by forty percent by a resident of Bedzed. There is also a distinct connection between the public transport system and the neighborhood whereby 2 stations have provided a straight forty-five minutes connection between Victoria-Station and Sutton in London. However, the battle with transport is only slightly overcome based on the fact that at least half the persons dwelling in the region have continued to make the best use of their cars. Comparatively, 50 individuals do make use of the City-Car club or draw the three (3) vehicles that have been provided.

In the present time, studies have noted:

…this is one of the first virtually carbon-neutral urban communities and is the model for a comprehensive housing construction program in the United Kingdom to be deployed over the next ten years. The Zedsquared project (2,000 housing units) on the banks of the Thames, for example, is heavily indebted to it (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

It has been the promise of London-2012 of offering the very first hundred percent Green-Olympic-Games that has been adequately evaluated by Bio-Regional. In the event, there is a spur of ideas in other countries/cities. In conjunction with WWF, Bio-Regional presented the One-Planet-Living approach to aid in the development of a sustainable lifestyle. Wright stressed:

“A flurry of similar projects will soon be on the agenda in France, Portugal, South Africa, and North America” (Wright, 2004).

Orientation/ Lighting

The orientation of these houses is shown in figure 5 below:

View of Dongtan.
Figure 5. View of Dongtan.

Comparative Study between Eco-Blocks and Eco-Neighborhoods

Comparison of the Cost Estimations

Eco-blocks for the generation for onsite-renewable energy, to get the entire water in the system recycled and also more than eighty percent of its waste for on-site use. This is achieved through flexibility and adaptability to different local weather conditions and as it is largely replicable all over china.

Forty percent drop in the consumption of energy is achieved through an integrated approach that starts with numerous scheme of conservation which includes; insulation, passive-solar heating, shading, natural ventilation, daylighting, and energy-efficient lighting, appliances, and controls. Load rate is given; firstly building-integrated is maximized, secondly, buildings integrated-photo-voltaic-panels are on building-roofs and as shading-devices (thirty-five percent), thirdly the building-integrated-solar domestic hot-water panels (fifty percent) and finally a Two-phase anaerobic-biogas digester with a backup power system of electric-turbines (ten percent)

Differences in the Energy Accumulation

Waste from the landscape, food, and sewage sludge are used as biomass supplies for anaerobic biogas digester. Water from kitchens and bathrooms, gray water obtained from laundry machines, and black water from toilets is stored in a primary-treatment settling tank. Water is recycled through a dual system made up of fifty percent gray water, fifty percent potable water. Sludge is pumped into the Biogas-digester.

With the leftover effluent supplied for secondary treatment through man-made wetlands. Half of the secondary treated water is stored and serves as gray-water supplies for toilets and laundry uses, after undergoing another round of treatment. With remaining fifty percent combined with harvested rainwater, undergoes further treatment through reverse osmosis and ultra-violet process of disinfection and is then recycled as potable water.

Orientation and Lighting Benefits

Treatment of stormwater through the use of “bio-swales” is stored and recycled for agricultural purposes. Waste streams exerted from wastewater collected by a neighborhood vacuum system are moved to a central plant to be processed and recycled. Waste like garbage and green waste is pumped into a biogas digester for the generation of energy. With solid waste materials recycled. Vacuum systems help prevent the problem of onsite garbage collection and have recorded successes in many different applications across the globe.

CO2 Footprint Differences

This concept for the structures has been effective in the control of CO2 through thermal inertia, ventilation during cool nights that could reduce the temperature so low that the rooms would be colder when compared to appropriately insulated mechanically cooled houses; which may rather be struggling to prevent overheating.

Costa Navarino Hotel Eco-Village Project

Cost Estimation

The Costa-Navarino is an ecologically friendly resort located in Messina in Greece with a mystical-Mediterranean-dream ground appearance. The resort, a sort of village boasts of three hundred and twenty-one rooms which are strategically located on a range of a kilometer with a befitting beachfront and several swimming pools. It has an amazingly beautiful eighteen-hole championship golf course. Groombridge and Jenkins (2002) have also noted other inclusions in the resort to include:

“…a landscape of diverse surroundings with spectacular sea and river views” (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

The Costa-Navarino which is designed with a high sense of esthetic is located within the reach Ionian-sea and stretches to the Pylos where according to Groombridge and Jenkins (2002):

“There is a beacon of sophistication blending Messinia’s rich history with the contemporary amenities of Navarino Dunes” (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

The entirety of the constituents of the elegant array of facilities suggest a bit of cost in constructing the Costa-Navarino; but when compared to regular resorts which have not been designed with an eco-friendly sense, the cost estimate for the Costa-Navarino is relatively cheap. Figure 6 presents several images from the resort.

Images from Costa-Navarino resort.
Figure 6. Images from Costa-Navarino resort.

Energy Efficiencies

Energy efficiency in the resort is achieved through a design that sympathies with the locality’s geography. Groombridge and Jenkins (2002) note that rather than having dining sections that are mechanical and artificial, the resort offers people the opportunity to dine under the nose of the sea in the warmth of sunlight. Apart from these, it has been noted:

“Privacy reigns in 289 exquisitely appointed rooms and 32 suites with private infinity pools. Traditional Greek design with contemporary touches sets the tone in each space, where the sparkling blue of the Mediterranean is the preferred hue” (Groombridge and Jenkins, 2002).

In a few simple words, the resort is an amazing ecologically friendly five-star village designed to effectively support the utilization of natural energy.


The benefits of the Costa-Navarion numerously include tourist attractions; whereby the hotel gives opportunity to people to be involved in mountain-bike trips under the guild of instructors. People also watch waterfalls among others.

CO2 Footprint

The Costa-Navarino is designed to a commitment of protecting the environment; in the construction, the footprints have been kept to a percentage which is lower than ten out of the entire land area (Krebs, 2001).

Orientation/ Lighting

The Costa-Navarion could be described as highly insulated against abnormal environmental hazards. It also makes good use of natural cooling-system utilizes effectively a good solar orientation. Studies from Krebs (2001) reviewed that Costa-Navarion utilizes a good combination of evacuated-tube solar-heating grey/rainwater harvesting, grey-water biomass-boiler, as well as green housing native-sea-thrift. In the view of Krebs:

“…the true environmental success of Costa-Navarion is the way it harmonizes with its surroundings” (Krebs, 2001).

Comparative Study between Eco-Neighborhoods and Eco-Villages

Comparison of the Cost Estimations

By definition, Eco-villages are prototypes of expected living-community which would meet up with the implementation of optional ecological/social standards. Studies by Blewitt (2008) pointed out that:

In 1991, Robert Gilman set out a definition of an ecovillage that was to become a standard. Gilman defined an ecovillage as a human-scale full-featured settlement in which human activities are harmlessly integrated into the natural world in a way that is supportive of healthy human development, and can be successfully continued into the indefinite future (Blewitt, 2008).

This definition is acceptable to a much extent because it identifies an ecologically friendly nature of the eco-village. The only exception is that it fails to identify the pattern of interaction between occupants in an eco-community and the surrounding world.

On the other hand, eco-Neighborhoods encourage a healthy-living for occupants in a small community. According to Blewitt (2008):

“These burgs boast communities involve; shopping, libraries, and schools within a walkable area; public transportation; and locally owned businesses” (Blewitt, 2008).

Based on the fact that eco-villages are bigger than eco-Neighborhoods, they usually require more finance to put them together to accommodate all the facilities it contains. Several eco-villages are however more affordable as compared to others; even though several of them constitute a mixture of income-housings and are equally diversely populated. The cost estimates for eco-villages are further stepped up against eco-Neighborhood because:

“They encompass environmental and/or social programs; parks, green spaces and neighborhood gathering spaces; farmer’s markets and community gardens; and sometimes alternative-energy programs and green building practices” (Laugh, 2003).

An example of an ecological village that presents the instances noted by Laugh is the LA Eco-Village which has a reduced impact on the environment whereas it enhances neighborhood-life’s quality (refer to Appendix C).

Differences in the Energy Accumulation

Several ecovillages emerge from well-planned most of the time and utilize organic energy to power the local community thereby reducing the accumulation of mechanically generated power. Considering the LA Eco-Village, for example, the strategy has been very effective in the reduction of impact on environments and hence raise neighborhood-living quality.

Orientation and Lighting Benefits

The design of several eco-Villages and neighborhoods is structured in a fashion that interacts with the green environment and solar light. The design of the houses is in such an orientation that the buildings are close to each other to permit an easy movement of humans but not cars.

CO2 Footprint Differences

A significant component of the plan was meant for the prioritization of local-business-economies through the provision of two thousand five hundred space-meters for construction of service station as well as shops company with several health cares, day-care centers, and sporting complexes. The availability is to the most extent still a function of carbon footprint.

DongtanEco-City, Shanghai

Cost Estimation

The eco-city of Dongtan’s construction was planned for the island-of-Chongming off-Shanghai and expressed an ambitious vision of sustainable design and urban planning, including an entirely self-sufficient energy system. The consumptive- energy as made use of by the city is specified for the minimization of energy-wastage through zero-energy-buildings, whereby the generation of household-used-energy is achieved through solar panels, wind turbines, and biofuels (Fuad-Luke, 2006). The visions for this eco-friendly city have continued to be specified; there has been a slowdown in the project due to an indication that the city is a solitary wind turbine farm (Refer to Figure 4).

The Eco-City of Dongtan.
Figure 6. The Eco-City of Dongtan.

Energy Efficiencies

During the year 2005, the Shanghai-Industrial-Investment-Corporation (SIIC) in china acquired the consultancy services of Arup for designing an exclusively use-sustainable-energy city that would self-sufficiently trim down the energy-consumption rate by sixty-six percent as relating its Shanghai neighborhood (Fuad-Luke, 2006). The fundamental intention for the Dongtan facility was a target to provide five hundred thousand housing units for the rural populace. This was necessitated by the demand for China to address its energy confrontations., Laugh noted the necessity for the facility as follow:

Migration from the land to the cities means it will be necessary to build some 400 cities by 2020 to house 300 million people from rural areas. To meet their increasing energy consumption, they will have to focus more sharply on energy-efficient design and technology, on the quality of urban planning strategies, and to increase the degree of sustainable development (Laugh, 2003).

A few years after the construction of the city, the requirement to meet up with the provision of energy has been partly actualized through effective utilization of Solar-Panels, Wind-turbines as well as through effective usage of biomass-dependent energy. A majority of the housing units are produced in such a way that their roofs do carry photovoltaic –cell arrays. At least, twenty percent of the needed energy in Dongtan is achieved using wind power. Much of this is generated from wind-turbine farms which are located away from the town and from modified micro-wind turbines located on top of the houses and by the roadside (Bookchin, 2007).

View of Dongtan.
Figure 7. View of Dongtan.

At least eighty percent of garbage/refuse in the city is reprocessed through recycling; several organic wastes such as rice husks are made use of in the generation of energy for providing heat/power. Bookchin in a study noted:

“Rice husks and other organic waste is loaded into large bioreactors which gasify the waste to produce electricity and heat” (Bookchin, 2007).


The numerous house units in Dongtan are zero energy or they are either passive-structure. The establishment of vegetations on top of roofs makes available a facility for filtration collection of rainwater; this helps in the reduction of the total consumed energy. The provision of natural ventilation is achieved by adaptation of locally available micro-climate and through proper orientation of the various housing units (Daly, 2007).

The structure for window-system for the house-units, emphatically those that face the north are designed to utilize thermal glasses for minimization of demand for heat and hence bring about a reduction in the energy-consumptive rate. This is meant to actualize the reduction of Dongtan’s ecological footprints to approximately two point two hectares per individual through behavioral change/energy efficiency combinations. Cohen (2006) has reported that:

“1.9 ha is the limit for sustainability. By way of comparison, Shanghai has an eco-footprint three times the size” (Cohen, 2006).

Comparative Study between Eco-Villages and Eco-Towns

Comparison of the Cost Estimations

Eco-blocks for the generation for onsite-renewable energy, to get the entire water in the system recycled and also more than eighty percent of its waste for on-site use. This is achieved through flexibility and adaptability to different local weather conditions and as it is largely replicable all over china.

Differences in the Energy Accumulation

Eco-blocks can withstand heavy fire-out breaks, strong winds, and extreme weather conditions, making buildings made of Eco-blocks long-lasting and most of all safe compared to those made from conventional building methods. A fifty percent reduction in the cost of Utility-bill has been reported by homeowners. The dependence on wooden products is reduced with the use of Eco-blocks which are recyclable materials, which help to conserve forest resources.

Orientation and Lighting Benefits

A lesser amount of period is required to be trained in Eco-blocks installation compared to other types of insulation-concrete-form technology. Eco blocks LLC is a company with the image of being innovative driven and experienced which provides high ICF technologies products. Eco-blocks (based in Florida) are manufacturers and suppliers of the most- versatile, easy-to-install, and most advanced insulation-concert-form technology for private and commercial building purposes.

CO2 Footprint differences

Eco-Blocks are made to bear load-carrying wall configurations and joint with foundations and floor-slabs, they form structural boxes that ride ‘waves’ which are generated from rolling moments of earthquakes in planes, thus offering better energy accumulations as compared to Eco-Houses (Cohen, 2006)


The paper discusses ecological development through environmentally friendly housing schemes with an opinion that all physical development should be planned and pursued in an integrated manner to achieve sustainable settlements. Not anyone parts of the development concept should be carried out in isolation. The involvement of communities is crucial as it is one part that mainly forms social sustainability in any one development. For that matter, in most cases, development is seen to take longer than usually anticipated. The paper has also proved that designing ecologically on large scale and not individually in buildings is more sufficient in terms of cost, energy efficiencies and generally for environmental benefits.

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Appendix A: Energy Efficiencies (Laugh, 2003)

Home energy use is responsible for 27 percent of the UK carbon dioxide emissions which contribute to climate change. By following the Energy Saving Trust’s best practice standards, new build and refurbished housing will be more energy efficient – reducing these emissions and saving energy, money, and the environment. Energy efficiency is an important issue for self-builders. Here are some of the questions that come up regularly.

Which is the best construction method for new houses?

Timber frame, brick-and-block, modern methods of construction (MMC) – all are perfectly acceptable and durable provided they are used correctly. If a building is not properly designed and well-built, there are likely to be problems whatever construction method is used.

Timber frame

As insulation is normally located between the studs, virtually any depth can be accommodated simply by increasing the stud size. This construction method is becoming increasingly popular in England and Wales and this type of house can be quicker to erect than those employing brick-and-block.

Brick-and-block (masonry)

Insulation is usually installed in the wall cavity although it can be fitted externally. Differing types and thicknesses of insulation can be accommodated in a variety of cavity depths. The insulation can either completely or partially fill the cavity. It is wise to avoid filled cavities in very exposed locations, as high winds can force rain through tiny cracks in the outer wall, across the cavity, and into the inner wall, causing dampness.

Masonry construction is particularly well-suited to passive solar designs (where south-facing windows are used to contribute towards lighting and heating by using the sun, and main living spaces are located accordingly to benefit), providing thermal mass to first absorb solar heat on a sunny winter’s day and then release the stored heat later.

This type of construction also reduces the risk of overheating in summer.


Building elements are fabricated in state-of-the-art factories, which can save time-on-site and reduce wastage. Structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete formwork are two examples. Selecting MMC options may require detailed research.

For more information on this subject, please see: Building energy-efficient buildings using modern methods of construction (CE139).

What are the best insulation materials?

Rigid foam, mineral wool, loose-fill, and sprayed insulation are all generally available and will perform well. Foam-based products generally have higher performance and so do not need to be as thick – but they tend to cost more. Materials such as cork, wool, flax, and cellulose (recycled paper) are renewable natural resources that can be used as insulation in homes. They may not all be as readily available as the more commonly used materials and they may need greater thicknesses to achieve the same thermal performance. All the exposed elements of the home (roof, walls, and floor) need a high level of insulation and even distribution. Avoid gaps, particularly at junctions, as these create weak spots known as thermal bridges.

Appendix B

BedZED scheme

Above: The section through the BedZED scheme underpins the whole ZED approach – Solar orientation with homes facing south & workspaces north with sky gardens on their roofs. All upper roofs are green sedum and there is a full range of unit types and tenures

BedZED scheme

Clockwise from above: A winter evening at Hope House – A second-floor internal balcony in the sunspace allows year-round use – A spiral staircase links all three floors and provides an interesting focal point in the main living room – Bridge walkway from the road level leads into the main entrance, next to the sunspace.

Appendix C

Villages Going Carbon Neutral

Ashton Hayes
The Cheshire village of Ashton Hayes (pop. 1000 approx.) is aiming to become the first small community in England to achieve carbon-neutral status.
Mount Alexander
Working towards a thriving, creative and resilient community based on energy-efficient systems and abundant renewable resources. Their initial focus is on reducing our carbon emissions through improving energy efficiency and increasing the supply of renewable energy.

Eco Villages Consultancy, Support, and Education

Ionia Ionia is a small-scale multi-generational village environment located on 100 acres of spruce forest on the Kenai Peninsula in Alaska. Ionia is a guide and model for fundamental and sustainable change in our approach to mental health, well-being, agriculture, family, community, and environmental awareness.
Milagro Using co-housing and ecological principles, the members of Milagro are committed to providing a people and earth-friendly neighborhood. The group has purchased a 43-acre undisturbed desert site located in the Tucson mountains – just twelve minutes west of downtown Tucson, Arizona.
Manzanita Village Manzanita Village is a resident-developed, cooperative neighborhood, modeled after the Cohousing communities of Denmark. Residents take an active part in planning and designing our village. We are united by mutual desires to know our neighbors, live an environmentally friendly lifestyle and enjoy a safe, friendly atmosphere for ourselves and our families.
Los Angeles Eco-Village Eco-Villagers demonstrate the processes for creating a healthy neighborhood ecologically, socially, and economically. We try to reduce our environmental impacts while raising the quality of neighborhood life. We are a public demonstration of sustainable community development sharing our processes, strategies, and techniques with others through tours, talks, workshops, conferences, public advocacy, and the media.
Tierra Nueva CoHousing
Tierra – Nueva CoHousing is a 27 unit complex consisting of passive solar homes, clustered on five acres in Oceano, adjacent to Halcyon. Our project was finished in February 1999 and includes a shared Common House, gardens, and organic avocado orchard. We are a community that operates on consensus.
San Mateo Cooperative
San Francisco Bay
Intentional community/urban retrofit co-housing/mini-ecovillage.
EarthArt Village The scope envisioned for EarthArt Village is that of a small-scale homesteading project that embodies the principles and demonstrates the practices of sustainable “village” life to the benefit of its members and others locally, regionally, and beyond. 480 acres, located in the Northeast San Luis Valley. INFORMATIVE STAGES.
Hearthstone Cohousing This co-housing project utilizes a very successful architectural model, with houses designed and built near the street with front porches and use of the interior area for common facilities. This project has been E-Star rated and is Green Built Certified by the HBA.
(Beginning stage)
A group of people who are converting from nursery business into an eco-farm.
East Lake Commons We aim for a continually evolving high quality of life for each resident, high quality of interaction with one another, and ecologically responsible, harmonious relation with our natural environment.
Cypress Villages Cypress Villages is innovative sustainable development with a focus on green homes, permaculture landscaping, and community.
Sirius “In 1978 former members of the Findhorn Community in Scotland set out to start a new community in the U.S. – a “Center of Light” – a community of spiritual renewal grounded in ecological living.”
Sunward Cohousing We are a group of people dedicated to creating a place where resources are shared, lives are simplified, the Earth is respected, diversity is welcomed, children play together in safety, and living in a community with neighbors comes naturally.
Dancing Rabbit While Dancing Rabbit is still a small community in the pioneering stage, we call ourselves an ecovillage because our vision is of something much more than what we currently are. We intend to grow to be a small locally self-reliant town of 500 to 1000 residents, committed to radical environmental sustainability. We will be housed in a variety of living arrangements, eat a variety of foods, and work on varied projects. It will be a society flexible enough to include egalitarian communities, co-housing, and individual households.
EastWind Community East Wind is a community, owned, operated, and governed by its members. All income and expenses are shared in common. We are located on 1045 acres of land in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of southern Missouri. Our bylaws commit us to create an ecologically sound lifestyle. Sharing resources, and living and working in the same place means trash and composting our human waste. Some of our heating needs are met with wood and solar energy, but most of the energy we now use comes from conventional sources.
Sandhill Farm A small, closely-knit, supportive family of friends who work and play together, Sandhill Farm was started in 1974. We highly value growing most of our food through organic and biodynamic methods and have developed a spiritual connection with the land and each other.
New Mexico
Pinon EcoVillage Piñon Ecovillage is a small, new intentional community working towards environmental and social sustainability.
The Greater World Earthship Community This community is 95% independent of the cost and global effects of municipal utilities. They produce their energy, harvest their water, contain and treat their sewage, manufacture their bio-diesel fuel, grow much of their food. Their buildings heat and cool themselves and are made utilizing discarded materials of modern society.
New York
Ithaca An intentional community dedicated to exploring and modeling innovative approaches to ecological and social sustainability. We’re creating a unique habitat that includes co-housing, organic agriculture, cottage industries, an education center, and natural areas, preserving and restoring over 80% of the land as green space.
North Carolina
Mountain Mission Farms We have begun a process that encompasses sustainable agriculture, permaculture, land use planning, green building, community planning, and alternative energy resources. We invite you to live with us, learn with us, and explore new ways of living in harmony with the Earth and each other. We invite you to become a part of Mountain Mission Farms.
Cincinnati Ecovillage Cincinnati Ecovillage is a group of people who have come together because we have a strong desire to create a residential community based on the social principles of cohousing and the environmental principles of sustainable living that characterize an ecovillage.
Cleveland Ecovillage EcoCity Cleveland is a nonprofit environmental planning organization that promotes the design of cities in balance with nature in Northeast Ohio.
Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village
A community of people fostering a sustainable urban neighborhood that promotes social, economic, and fun-filled lives contributing to preserving the planet.
Sustainable Lake County Oregon
We are looking for people and businesses to relocate. We are building a renewable energy-based community in Oregon.
Camphill Village Kimberton Camphill Village Kimberton Hills is a vibrant farming and handcrafting community that includes adults with developmental disabilities living and working side by side, to create a dynamic and caring community for people of all ages and varied abilities.
The Farm “A whole systems immersion experience of ecovillage living, together with classes of instruction, access to information, tools and resources, and on-site and off-site consulting and outreach experiences.”
Cobb Hill CoHousing Cobb Hill is an intentional community of people who want to explore the challenge of living in ways that are materially sufficient, socially and ecologically responsible, and satisfying to the soul. As a rural community, we try to practice sustainable land management—organic farming, ecological forestry, minimization of waste.
Twin Oaks Community Twin Oaks is an intentional community of around 85 adults and 15 children living on 465 acres of farm and forest land in rural Virginia, USA. Since the community’s beginning in 1967, our way of life has reflected our values of cooperation, sharing, nonviolence, equality, and ecology.
GreenWay A 41 acre, 20-lot conservation subdivision only 5 miles to downtown Lexington, Virginia, and 6 miles to downtown Buean Vista. Its design is based on the principles of permaculture and EcoVillage design.
Blue Berry Hill A co-housing community with geothermal heating and cooling and local organic farming resources.
Abundant Dawn Community Abundant Dawn intends to be a large community (possibly 40-60) made up of four or five smaller subgroups, which we call pods. Pods are small enough for all the members to sit in a room together and make a decision. Decisions regarding such important matters as membership, children, housing, and level of economic cooperation are decided at the pod level, with input from the wider community when appropriate.
Acorn Community A rural community of people living on the same plot of land and managing business together.
Eco-Village of Loudoun County A residential community under development in the Northern Virginia countryside, 9 miles north of Leesburg and 5 miles from the Point of Rocks commuter rail station serving points in MD and Washington, D.C. We are sited on 180 organically certified acres of beautiful rolling hills.
The Quarries Ecovillage The Quarries eco Village. Practicing the Principles of responsible Environmental Design, Building, and Sustainable Community Development.
West Virginia
Broomgrass Welcome to one of America’s most unique residential communities, dedicated to quality residential living and land preservation. Broomgrass features 16 one-acre home sites.
Washington, D.C.
Takoma Village Cohousing An urban community that fosters mutual support and cooperation while respecting privacy. We welcome diversity, encourage ecologically responsible living, and value active participation in the larger world. Located in Takoma, a neighborhood in the northwest area of Washington, DC. A diverse group of 43 households, singles, and families, who are committed to community life and environmental responsibility.
Dragon Belly Farm A Project to develop a Bioregional Intentional Community, a Rural Cohousing Development…
Canada BC
O.U.R. Ecovillage We are dedicated to researching and modeling sustainable ways of living which are rooted in social, economic, cultural, and ecological well-being. O.U.R. Eco Village offers a healthy and supportive learning environment for people of all walks of life wishing to share information and inspiration around living in the community and living lightly on the land.
Central America – Mexico
Huehue Coyotl Huehuecoyotl Eco-village A.C. is the project of a group of people of various nationalities dedicated to the modeling and research of lifestyles based on ecology, the arts, true democracy, and the practice of holistic health methods which address the well being of individuals and communities in a sustainable ecological balance.
The Bosque Village
We are a community striving to live sustainably. We host eco-friendly retreats and visitors interested in eco-tourism. Photos and info on the website.
South America – Argentina
Proyecto Eco-Villas – Asociación Gaia “This is why these Eco-Villages will not be either place to run away from society or set up small Edens. They will be places that will function as living laboratories (Lavoie et ore). Eco-Villages do not intend to be a closed and self-sufficient system. Each Eco-Village aspires to be an Eco-Spiritual center for our transformation.”
South America – Columbia
Gaviotas For three decades, Gaviotans – peasants, scientists, artists, and former street kids – have struggled to build an oasis of imagination and sustainability in the remote, barren savannas of eastern Colombia, an area ravaged by political terror. They have planted millions of trees, thus regenerating an indigenous rainforest. They farm organically and use wind and solar power. Every family enjoys free housing, community meals, and schooling.
Europe – UK
Centre for Alternative Energy (CAT)
“We are an educational charity striving to achieve the best cooperation between the natural, technological and human worlds. We test, live with and display strategies and tools for doing this. CAT has a holistic approach to its work, integrating ideas and practice relating to land use, shelter, energy conservation, and use, diet and health, waste management, and recycling.”
Spiritual community with strong environmental commitment. Lots of workshops host an annual ecovillage education program.
Wales, Pembrokeshire
Combines the traditional smallholding model with the latest innovations in environmental design, green technology, and permaculture.
Europe – Ireland
The Village A project dedicated to building a rural clustered housing development to the best standards of social, environmental, and economic sustainability. We have identified a site for this innovative development. Members of the company have selected this site through a process of consensus decision-making.
Europe – Spain
EcoForest Garden The project at present is only in an embryonic stage. We have started by purchasing a beautiful one hectare (3 acres) piece of land 8km from Coin in the south of Spain. Ten resident voluntary project workers are living on the site and developing the land into the garden paradise we are aiming for.
La Gomera
Argayall liegt in einer eigenen Bucht, umgeben von Felsen, direkt am Atlantik auf der Kanareninsel La Gomera. Eine alte Finca inmitten einer Obstplantage ist seit 1986 der Lebensraum für unsere rund 20 köpfige Gemeinschaft, die man sich als Kreis aus drei größer werdenden Kreisen vorstellen kann.
Falcon Blanco
Spiritual eco-village with emphasis on meditation.
Europe – Portugal
Tamera, Center for Humane Ecology “Tamera is a cooperative of people who work for the future to build a model for a nonviolent culture. Our goal is to build a research settlement where the most important themes of a new, sustainable culture concept are developed. “
Europe – Denmark
EcoVillage The Co-operative Community is about 15 km northwest of Aarhus in the outskirts of Hjortshøj with detached houses and residential areas on one side and a view of Aarhus Bay on the other.
Europe – Germany
Lebensgarten Der Verein hat 70 aktive Mitglieder und etliche Fördermitglieder. Grundlage unseres Zusammenlebens an diesem Ort ist der Wunsch, ein harmonisches Zusammenleben miteinander und mit der umgebenden Natur zu entwickeln.
Europe – Ireland
Irish Eco-Village Initial members came together in 1999 with a common vision of creating Ireland’s first ecological village. Since then membership has grown to almost 40 households which vary from single people to families with both young children and teenagers.
Asia – India
Auroville A lot of information on the website of this spiritual community with strong environmental commitment which planted more than 1 million trees to reforest their once-arid land. They also produce eco-friendly products.
Aldinga Arts Ecovillage The “Terraces @ Culture Walk” is the final stage of the Aldinga Arts EcoVillage, promising a unique lifestyle in this environmentally award-winning development.
Kookaburra EcoVillage Park A development of co-ownership of surrounding lands and application of permaculture.
Whyalla Whyalla is South Australia’s second-largest city and is now diversifying into exciting new industries such as aquaculture, sustainable development, and renewable energy technologies. The project includes clean energy, stormwater retention, water recycling,…
Illabunda is a unique residential housing project which brings ecologically sustainable living into urban Sydney.
New Zealand
EarthSong Construction is well advanced on New Zealand’s first sustainable Eco-Neighborhood project, incorporating the principles of Cohousing and Permaculture. Located in Waitakere City Auckland New Zealand, this innovative non-profit development combines beautiful Rammed Earth walls, eco-technologies, healthy non-toxic materials, and neighbors who care!

Simple life and sustainable communities

Alternative Technology Association
A non-profit community group that aims to use and promote environmentally friendly technology. We are interested in renewable energy sources such as the sun, wind, and water; building with natural materials and conserving energy. The ATA has around two thousand members across Australia, conducts regular meetings, workshops and courses, and produces a range of educational publications.
USA, Ohio
“Take a journey through the past…In Ohio’s Amish Country. The Schrock family, cordially invites you to be our guests. Whether you’re interested in learning about the Amish ways, touring an Amish home, eating an Amish meal, quilts, woodcrafts, unique & specialty shops, or a night in the beautiful hills of Amish country. We’ve got just what you’re looking for. Located in Berlin, Ohio-In the Heart of Amish Country! Take a look at what awaits…”

Eco Villages Networks

Global Eco-village Network
Worldwide network
“Founded in 1994 to: support the development of sustainable human settlements, facilitate the exchange of information amongst the settlements, make information available about eco-village concepts and demonstration sites. ‘Gen Resource Database’ is an extensive collection (> 500 records) of relevant Books, Magazines, Newsletters, Web links, etc.”
Urban Ecovillage Network The purpose of the Urban Ecovillage Network is to engage urban neighborhoods throughout the world in the process of reinventing how we live in cities, to be more ecologically, economically, and culturally sustainable.
Utopian Eco Village Network A pilot model demonstration of how to live in a real New World consciousness of sharing on all levels: spiritually, mentally, emotionally, and physically. Features: A few growing climates for agriculture, you name it we are growing it organically, two pure water year-round springs with exclusive water rights, irrigated fields, nearby natural forests, improved/natural pastureland, wild/cultivated fruit, private road access, and wideband Internet access.

Intentional Communities and Co-Housing

Intentional Communities Directory of intentional communities in the USA.
The Cohousing Network Is an organization whose purpose is to promote and encourage the cohousing concept, support both individuals and groups in creating communities, provide assistance to completed groups for improving their systems for living together in community, and provide networking opportunities for those involved or interested in cohousing.
The Federation of Egalitarian Communities A network of communal groups spread across North America. We range in size and emphasis from small agricultural homesteads to village-like communities similar to the Israeli kibbutzim.
Northwest Intentional Communities Association To coordinate the exchange of information and resources between NW intentional Communities and others.
Coalition for Self-Learning The Coalition for Self-Learning is a collective of autonomous individuals and groups each working independently but in mutual aid to help one another promote ideas and actions for creating learning communities and their relevance to social change.
Communities Directory
The book Communities Directory: A Guide to Intentional Communities and Cooperative Living is the essential reference tool for those interested in finding or creating a community. Compiled once every 4 to 5 years by the nonprofit organization the Fellowship for Intentional Community (FIC), this is the eagerly awaited successor to earlier editions, which sold over 36,000 copies.
The UK Cohousing Network
This site will help you understand: What exactly cohousing is and how it differs from other forms of intentional community. Developing your cohousing community is a big challenge: it’s been compared to getting married or having a baby! So informed realism is an essential need for prospective cohousers.
Diggers & Dreamers
The main source of information on communal living in Britain – intentional communities, cohousing projects, housing co-operatives, eco-villages, and utopian lifestyles.
Canadian Cohousing Network
Promotes the creation of cohousing communities as a model for sustainable development by raising public awareness about cohousing and by bringing people together to form communities.

Consultancy, Support, and Education for Eco Villages

Living Routes Living Routes is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop and support college-level, ecovillage-based educational programs that empower participants to help build a sustainable future.
Ecovillage Training Center at The Farm A whole systems immersion experience of ecovillage living, together with classes of instruction, access to information, tools, and resources, and on-site and off-site consulting and outreach experiences.
EcoSystems, Inc. For EcoVillages development, EcoSystems, Inc. provides master planning, capital formation, properties acquisition, ecological/economic technologies, approvals, project management, construction, and marketing services.
Wonderland Hill Development Co. Wonderland Hill Development Company specializes in the creation of cohousing communities and is the leading developer of cohousing neighborhoods in the United States. Having worked with over 17 communities, Wonderland supports this growing trend by bringing cohousing into the mainstream through a streamlined development model we have created.
The CoHousing Company Architecture and development consulting firm that creates communities that cluster private homes around extensive common facilities.
Findhorn Ecovillage Training The training is based at the Findhorn Foundation’s demonstration ecovillage is in 8 separate modules, which may be attended as a whole or separately. It is a capacity-building program, designed to make optimum use of the information available from the Foundation’s Ecovillage Project and to provide a practical forum for learning, and for developing action plans.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance Nonprofit research and educational organization that provides technical assistance and information on environmentally sound economic development strategies. Since 1974, ILSR has worked with citizen groups, governments, and private businesses in developing policies that extract the maximum value from local resources.
Catalyst Collective Worker and housing co-op registration and support.
Ecological Solutions
Australia, Queensland
EcoLogical Solutions consultancy and education. We provide design consultancy and education in the disciplines of sustainable living.
Earth House Center
California, Oakland
Build healthy, just, and sustainable communities through education, training, and multi-media communication tools.

Eco Communities – Free Listings

New Earth Pioneers
A platform for ecovillages and sustainable projects and communities. Global map of ecovillages, videos, articles, and green companies directory.
A social network – share through a blog ideas/questions about recycling. The website consists of a database that stores items for sale, trade, donation, and recycling.
Ecovillage Musings
Un unofficial peek into Dancing Rabbit ecovillage.
Gaia Education
UK, Scotland, Findhorn
Offers sustainable development education by developing curricula on sustainable design, working within and drawing from ecovillages, and creating online courses.
Bellbunya Community
Australia, Queensland
Bellbunya Community is an ecological and consciously evolving community, established to model ways to create a relocalized and sustainable future.



The section through the BedZED scheme underpins the whole ZED approach – Solar orientation with homes facing south & workspaces north with Sky gardens on their roofs. All upper roofs are green sedum and there is a full range of unit types and tenures


Above: BedZED as it looks today after 4 years of occupation. The pallet of natural materials was chosen to age gracefully with minimal maintenance.


All ZED schemes fuse good urban spaces with communal uses and solar orientated buildings.