Hello and Synergistic Living


Confused about dryer sheets
May 1, 2004
Hello and Synergistic Living

This is a great and well-organized place, I am glad I found it. I hope to contribute and learn from this Forum.

I worked days and nights to build a small income property business years ago. It allowed me to retire at 45 in 1985. I immediately packed up my family, wife and two small children and we flew to Amsterdam, bought a used RV and began a year-and-a-half camping trip around Europe. Did some thinking, reading and writing on that trip.

For the past twenty years I have labored on my passion?finding better ways to live than being a slave to a job. In particular I was looking for a comprehensive solution to car-free, stress-free urban living and sustainability beyond cheap oil. In one sentence it is: Synergistic transformation away from unsustainable capitalistic consumerism to social and economic synergism. It?s a mouthful that needs some explanation. However, I don?t want to overload my chances of welcome to this board. So rather than make a long post to explain the movement toward sustainability and the social and economic workings of a proposed synergetic village, I just invite you to look around my website at your leisure.

Nicholas Frank
Los Angeles CA
Welcome to the board, and good luck changing the world!   Your goals seem laudable, but I'd take the same approach I take on any large problem: divide and conquer.   (This from a guy who's been struggling to refinish some cabinets for several weeks now and who has no plans to change the world.)
Remember "Stop the World, I Want to get Off"??
Well, that's me. I believe the world is going to hell
in a hurry and have decided not to go along.
I'm now permanently "on strike", but instead of picketing,
I just bitch from the sidelines.

John Galt
Re:  Just out of curiosity, Nicholas,...

... what cities or suburbs do you feel currently reflect the website's synergistic standards?
Thanks for your welcome

Thanks for your welcome

Wabmester, refinishing cabinets is therapeutic it gives focus and purpose to your day. I have done it, it is good.

John, happy bitching from the sideline. Bitching is important work it keeps us on our toes.

Nords, there is no place that I know that conforms to the synergistic code, though I would like to see one built in my lifetime. Aside of the car-free walkable physical arrangement of the synergetic village, the three-way reciprocal arrangement between individual, companies and community is the essence of the ?C-credit? economy that promises to provide social and job security. See:

Thanks for your comments,

I applaud anyone who embraces the creed of living a more synergistic life. In fact, I just returned from a few days in southern Arizona where I scoped out a place to build a small straw-bale house with a water catchment and solar energy system.

Has anyone out there built such a house? According to everything I've read, the construction costs are lower than conventional building while the insulation factor is far greater.
I suppose a straw house might be okay as long as
there weren't any big bad wolves around.

John Galt
Adobe is getting a little more coverage lately, along with some folks fiddling with straw insulated rammed earth walls.

Only problem with some of these has been local building codes. Many have required a wood frame or steel frame to be constructed and the packed straw/adobe/rammed earth built as an exterior wall.

I've seen several articles on adobe lately. Clearly not something for every part of the country, but here in the southwest its pretty viable.

As far as cheapness, most of these materials are far less expensive, but when you have to do a frame anyhow and then pay a guy extra because he has special building expertise in that material, it washes out.

I'm in the process of a major renovation on my fiancees old house. What a project. After getting fed up with a general contractor who decided my wallet was ripe for a beating, I ended up hiring several local carpenters and laborers and I'm training them in handling some of the newer materials and processes myself. Its eating 2-3 hours of supervisory time a day, and the insurance implications took a little bite out of my cash, but its better than looking at GC bills that double every other week.

We're not doing anything rocket-science-ish, just applying some newer materials like portland cement based fiberboard exterior materials, layered insulation techniques and some polymer backed subfloors since the slab has sunk to a couple of inches below grade. The costs are pretty much in-line with traditional woods and are largely recycled, longer lifed, and the house should be highly insulative from heat, cold and noise.

Nothing as future looking (or in the case of adobe, far past looking), but good baby steps.

New to this board and have been busily reading all I can. Just came upon this topic and realize it's old but thought I would reply anyway.

DH and I built a load-bearing off-grid strawbale house in SoAZ in 1999 and lived there happily for 5years (just sold it in Sept) :( (Nasty developer issues, but that's another story) We are biding our time in suburbia until we can build another SB house. Pluses to SB- we had a conventional furnace (because of code req) but never connected it. We occasionally used our gas fireplace but mostly for looks or to take the chill of on the coldest mornings. The SB house has a different "feel"-there is a very even temperature throughout. In the summer we ran our evap mostly in the afternoon and evening. Keeping the windows shaded during the day helped and mature landscaping would have been a plus. But when it's 110 outside-it's hot everywhere.

The PV system we had was designed for those who LBYM but served us very well-we did not pay an electric bill for 5 years and it felt good to generate our electricity from the sun. Also, no blackouts. Of course for those who have to have all the latest gadgets and appliances PV is not the way to go. Payback takes a long time.

We also harvested water (yes, it does rain in SOAZ) for landscape purposes. It's amazing how much water you can get from a metal roof covering approx 1700 sq feet.

We learned a lot from that whole experience and te other SB houses we have since helped with. Our next house will be even better.
Re. SB houses, I'd watch out for big bad wolves...........
but hay, I know little about such housing. My uncle owned one once but it was blown down and he had to bale fast, huffing and puffing.

John Galt
Why use straw bales anymore?

From Scott Adams' "Dilbert's Ultimate House" website http://www.unitedmedia.com/comics/dilbert/duh/specs/room_desc.html:

"Straw bale and rammed earth: Insulation properties are superb in each of these choices, but the new SIP or aerated concrete insulations can have an amazing R40 insulation value and are more easily built and approved in a normal community."

A lot of thought went into the specs for the home, and a lot of companies volunteered their new building products for review. Straw bales may be going the way of dimensional lumber. It's worth reading the website's details on this home, despite the fact that the house is designed for a bachelor cartoon character. Your next home might be closer to reality than you thought.
John,John,Re: Hello and Synergistic Living


Would have to be a wolf with quite a lung capacity to blow down 200+ bales encased in cement stucco. But with all of CutThroat's Blow Me's maybe he's run into someone who could do it. ::)

Straw bale will never become mainstream but those who are willing to push the envelope and do something a little different (just like the folks of this forum) help those who come behind to look for and develop new technologies/processes which can be applied to the broad population. After living in such a well-insulated house it has been very difficult to live in a stick-built house. Such ineffeciencies!

Another cool thing is that straw is a waste product that is often burned. In the third world this "waste product" can be used to build good (not just decent but GOOD) housing for people who might otherwise live in corrugated metal shacks. If you've ever been to Mexico, you know what I'm talking about.

Thanks for the interesting link.

I'm sorry. It's too Mother Earth Newsy for me.
But hay, if you like it then I am happy. Wouldn't want
one in my neighborhood though.

John Galt
Unless you saw it going up, you wouldn't be able to distinguish it from an adobe (which around these parts people pay dearly for).

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