I’ll start by being honest: I, myself, am pursuing my Living Future Accreditation (LFA). So, yes, this blog is why individuals like me should be employed by architecture, design, project engineering, and construction teams. Those who are passionate about something would obviously love to spread that passion…and getting paid for it is of course a bonus.
With the admittance that this blog can simultaneously act as a cover letter out of the way, let’s begin.
Why you need an LFA Professional:
What started as a rather appealing shrubbery in the late 1800’s, is now recognized as a Lyme harboring, nitrogen inducing, overall native tree and plant murderer.
Extreme, dramatic wording? Maybe. But still accurate? From what I can find, and see…yes.
The Japanese Barberry was first introduced to the United States as an ornamental plant in 1857. And it looks like this…
They can now be found from Maine to North Carolina. This one is in Pennsylvania, and as you can see, they have the potential to get huge…
While pretty with their winding tendrils and red oval-shaped berries…their danger lies in their vast greediness. Because of their overwhelming volume, they will literally suppress and smother native competing plants and little trees.
Japanese Barberry also have the ability to change the pH of the soil. Their leaves…their leaf litter…breaks down quickly in the soil and raises the level of nitrogen. The change in soil further eliminates native plants…so, not only does the Japanese Barberry smother…it poisons!!
And if smothering and poisoning native plants isn’t bad enough, Japanese Barberry also harbors and helps propagate the spread of Lyme disease. Beneath their voluminous tendrils, they create their own micro-climates by “…buffering extreme temperature and humidity fluctuations…” Which ticks love. And Lyme disease sure does love ticks. Research done by the University of Connecticut found that areas where Japanese Barberry bushes grew rampant had 120 Lyme infected ticks per acre. In comparison, areas where there were no Japanese Barberry had only 10 Lyme infected ticks per acre.
I think this is Round III of our plan to harvest and treat all of our water on-site…it may actually be round IV…or V. In truth, what version of the ideal we have bounding about in our brains does not matter. What matters, is this is what we have officially just shipped off for interpretation by code!
The goal we have set for ourselves is to meet the Water Petal as set by the Living Building Challenge, while also meeting PA Code. We want to not only maintain, but enhance, the safety and health of our surrounding natural environment and communities.
What you are about to read is essentially how we explained our system to the DEP. However, when I had some loved ones proof-read our email, they said it was overwhelming and boring.
So, I still sent our extensive email away to code.
While it is still certainly overwhelming, code does not care if it is boring. They just want to do their job and make sure we don’t jeopardize the health or integrity of our environment or neighbors.
But, to make it interesting for those who do find this overwhelming and boring, I am going to explain it in the context that you are a little, adorable, droplet of water. While small in stature, you are incredibly significant to our family’s, and the Land of the Laurel’s, survival.
My dear little droplet, your life has no real beginning or end. You just are. You belong to, and are a cycle that determines the life or death of every living being on this planet. For our story, we will begin with one of your many falls.
All excited and condensed with so many other droplets, it is now the time for you to let the weight of your condensation be pulled by gravity to the earth. Like a sneeze that has just built up for way too long, you finally let it go!
William and I recently presented The Seed to an incredible group of experienced sustainable building enthusiasts, the Pittsburgh Living Future Collaborative. They were wonderfully welcoming and had some great insights and feedback on our future home. We are very thankful, and humbled, that we had the opportunity to show and tell our project!
We have decided to present to you, dear readers, our presentation for two reasons. One, it condenses our seven Living Building Challenge blogs into a 29-slide presentation as to how our home is currently attempting to meet those seven petals. Two, it gives a great visual update on our current home’s design.
So, without further ado: Welcome, to The Seed in Brief!…as of February 2021.
Our presentation goes over our home as it corelates to the Living Building Challenge’s seven petals. But before we delve into the petals, we would like to express our overall intent with The Seed.
We intend for our home to be more than just a home…we want it to be a prototype for a future endeavor.
So, if you glanced over last week’s blog, then you know that our hope, only a little less than a week ago, was this……