San Diego Sustainability Network at work
by Skip Fralick
Is sustainability sustainable? Two projects are a providing positive
goal of the San Diego Sustainability Network is to spark
development of multiple approaches demonstrating the economic benefits of
sustainable technologies in the San Diego/northern Baja bioregion. Two promising
movements are emerging in San Diego: the formation of a strawbale home support
network, and the formation of a non-profit organization seeking to demonstrate
sustainable community technologies.
The strawbale home movement has received a boost by
the recent formation of The California Strawbale Association and the passage
of AB1314, which provides a model code to assist permitting agencies in
approving strawbale construction. The formal kickoff of CASBA occurred in
June at Shenoa, a beautiful retreat and sustainability learning center in
the California redwoods. The meeting, held in a strawbale home featured
in Sunset Magazine, was attended by experienced strawbale professionals
from as far away as Texas. Thanks to careful steps and cooperation from
enthusiastic building officials, plus the natural appeal of these homes,
the founders are very optimistic that the revolution in home-building has
CASBA will hold its next meeting in San Diego on October
19 and 20. On October 19 there will be a business meeting open to members
and supporters. It will be held at the strawbale home of Laurie Roberts
and Dale McLelland in Descanso.
A seminar of interest to all potential strawbalers and
building officials will be on Sunday, October 20 at U.S. International University.
Some of the nation's most qualified strawbale experts will address the major
theme: the permitting process. Results of significant engineering progress
in this field will be presented with the objective of informing local building
officials and walking would-be strawbale builders through the process. Professor
David Bainbridge, author of the already classic book, The Strawbale House,
will co-host the event, along with CASBA and the Sustainability Network.
Contact Skip Fralick, 565-2603 for information.
John Pace trues up a new strawbale wall at a Rosarito building site.
Two current strawbale projects are in need of volunteers.
The first project involves the construction of community center buildings
at Valle de las Palmas (15 miles south of Tecate). For information about
this project, call Bob Bolles at 486-6949.
The second, a 40-home Habitat for Humanity site in Tecate.
About 100 Lutheran students from Seattle & Oakland raised $8,000 for
the Tecate center. The strawbale walls are up (as of Aug 17), and Saturday
volunteers are invited to help with the roof and stuccoeing. For information,
please call Skip Fralick, 565-2603.
Seminars and workshops sponsored by the Sustainability
Network have elicited several sustainable community plans in various stages
of development. These sessions, hosted by Carolyn Chase, Skip Fralick, and
David Bainbridge (USIU), have generated a "critical mass" of active
participants. Marguerite Hampton, Manny Aguilar and Jim Bell are spearheading
the formation a non-profit organization called CRANE. This organization
will raise funds for technology demonstrations, such as appropriate housing
construction, wastewater treatment and water reuse, and sustainable agriculture.
Open workshops for developing CRANE or other promising programs will be
held the last Saturday of each month, either at Skip Fralick's Carlsbad
office or at USIU. Persons interested in learning more about co-housing,
intentional communities and sustainable community efforts should contact
Skip at 565-2603.
Sustainable communities offer great hope to conservatives
and liberals alike, who seek peaceful small-community environments that
are built and governed by the homeowners. The San Diego/ Tijuana bioregion
provides unique opportunities to demonstrate the great promise of these
"new" types of communities.
Skip Fralick is a Solar and Mechanical Engineer, President of the
the San Diego Association of Energy Engineers, member of Habitat for Humanity
Board of Directors and catalyst/coordinator of many sustainability initiatives
in our bioregion.