As we enter the New Earth Reality and open our Hearts, it is inevitable that we will become aware that we need to bring our lives and the way that we live into alignment with the ideals of sustaining and caring for our Planetary home. The recent environmental damage caused by the Tsunami in Japan and the subsequent damage to the Nuclear Power facility has created greater awareness of the need to pay attention to the way in which we are structuring our lives and our society around the need for energy.
One of the ways that we can shift our energy consumption is in the way in which we live our daily lives in the homes that we build. The indigo first wave generation, those that were born in the 1970s, are leading the way in the awareness of this need, and more practically, in exploring the development and construction of alternate ways of building sustainable housing.
This week I was invited to visit an innovative project that is under way just blocks from where I live in Noordhoek in Cape Town, South Africa. The project is the brain child of Tony Budden, who is the owner of the "Hemporium" in Capr Town. Tony has pioneered the use of Hemp as a sustainable material for clothing, and now is showing how this product can be used to construct a sustainable and earth friendly home that is also attractive to live in.....I call it "growing a house". This is a picture of Tony in his home as he shows us around in the final stages of construction.
Let me say at the outset that the Hemp plant is not the same as the stuff that people smoke...Marijuana. It is of the same family, but it doe not have the narcotic qualities of Marijuana and cannot be used as a drug. It was used in the past for its strong fibres in the making of rope, and it is for the fibre that it is of use now in many different applications, including food, medicine, clothing and more recently, building applications.
The Hemp House Project consists of a Wooden Frame house that is completed by adding Modules of Hempboard with Hemp insulation. The floors are covered with cork tiles and hemp carpeting, and the stone surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom are made from reconstituted stone, which is made from recycled concrete and stone products. Here is a view of the house from the rear that shows the modular and contemporary form of the design.
This is the hemp board, that is made with a thin veneer of wood and filled with hemp fibres.
This is the hemp insulation fibre that is placed between the boards as filling to provide insulation.
The inside of the house is warm and spacious, and has a Scandinavian feeling with its modular design and wooden finishes.
The woven hemp matting that is used as floor covering is completely natural and made without any toxic chemicals. This is my German South African friend, Verena, who is involved in sustainable building projects.
It is surprisingly soft and has an almost velvety feeling under the feet.
Bathroom finishes made with wooden veneer and reconstituted stone surfaces. The taps are specially designed to conserve water, which is a big issue in South Africa.
The kitchen features a gas oven and hob, which is more energy efficient than electrical appliances. The finishes on the kitchen drawers are recycled floor boards.
This is the view out towards the ocean ...and my own home is in this area.....
The Hemp House garden area is still being laid, but will feature a vegetable garden and an 80 percent indigenous garden. Tony also intends to plant the roof, so that the "footprint" of the house will be minimized. In our suburb we live surrounded by the Table Mountain National Park, and so living in harmony with nature is a big issue for us. Our community is made up of people who love nature and make an effort to ensure that our beautiful surroundings stay that way, and we care for the birds and animals who share our space with us.
Living in this way is not just a gesture towards sustainability, or to make us feel more virtuous. It actually feels different on the energetic level. The frequency of the houses, the garden and the environment is so much higher when life is lived in harmony with nature and with respect for the principles of nurturing life rather than destroying it with no regard.
This is something that we have forgotten in our 21st century lifestyle of consumerism and disconnection from the Earth. As we move through the Earth Changes and climate shifts that are now occurring, we are being led back to an awareness of how rich and beautiful life can be when we make the effort to work with nature rather than against her.
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