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GEI Village: Reaching for The Green Utopia

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Want to live in a "GreenTopia" ? ??

This will be the central thread of a new concept that I am developing.

For want of a better name, I call it "GreenTopia" the GEI village:




(as TLM puts it):

"My ultimate aim has always been to have a few acres of land around me, whilst at the same time being part of a larger community, e.g. popping down to the local for a friendly chat in the evening, etc. Views across rolling countryside or over brooding seascapes would be a bonus"


My own initial thought was:

I am at the early stage of hatching an idea, which at this stage I will call "The Green Energy Village". It is too early to say much, but think about a village of prefabricated homes which use, perhaps on an experimental basis, Renewable forms of energy in the village: a wind turbine or two, solar cells, a community centre with live experiments into new forms of renewable power. Electric cars and bicyles operating between the community and a nearby train station. With a river passing by, with floating homes on the water, and narrow boat moorings. The village would breathe in fresh air, and create little carbon, and recycle as much of its waste as feasible.




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Other threads worth checking:

The Pre-Fab thread

The Grand Designs thread





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The EcoVillage Network....... : http://www.evnuk.org.uk/

EREC Sustainable community: http://www.erec-renewables.org/projects/pr...Communities.htm

Romero's LVL Prefab Home.. : http://www.rocioromero.com/homelvl.htm

Barker on Land Use Planning: http://www.landaspirations.com/Reviewofpla...seonUKland1.htm

Dexigner Forums (on DX) ....: http://www.dexigner.com/forum/

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GREAT QUESTIONS & COMMENTS (from TLM see post#16, My Reaction follows):



"How large would you envisage 'Bubbsville' being?"


Well, I cannot call it Bubbsville, since almost no one would want to live in a place with that name, myself include. (I understand you meant that tongue-in-cheek.)


It would be small to start, maybe space for up to one dozen dwellings. Part of the early focus would be on testing what alternative technologies can work in a small community scale. A nuclear power plant would not work for a small community, but a wind turbine (if there is enough wind), and solar would. Perhaps hydro and bioenergy, if there is enough resource in the area for it.


Perhaps a dam with some hydro-generation could be a focal part of the community. Many people like being around moving water



"social hurdles may be greater than the technical ones, as it would be a sort of commune, reliant on people working to a common goal. Getting people with the right skill mix and attitude may be tricky"


Exactly. Much thought would need to be given to the community set up, so that people can cooperate easily, but that the community is not endangered by those who may be attracted to the vision, but have nothing to contribute. The "one-of enthusiasts" once in, may become a possible roadblock to future initiatives of the community AFTER they have joined it. To minimize this risk: I suspect that the community need a minimum financial involvement, some rules, and a democratic process for changing them. I am aware of such a small community (with a different focus) in Bulgaria, and i am watching to see how it develops. So far, it looks like a benevolent dictatorship - which is not my preferred way seeing a community run.


One idea that I may want to borrow from: thumbnail

(I have already changed some details like colors, from this)



Financial independence would be a huge benefit, others may be able to afford the initial buy in, but then may still have to do a day job to survive and contribute to the project on a part time basis. Maybe you'd have to prove financial independence (or produce a suitcase with £1m in notes!) to 'buy in', or obviously bring skills in a green energy/housing, or other useful area into the settlement


Yes, I agree. One creative way would be to establish a hedge fund, that I might manage. If the returns exceed some "excess return benchmark" (like say 25% per annum), then some percentage (50-65%?) of the excess might go towards purchasing shares to develop the GreenTopia concept. Just a thought, but that might make the early financial contributions seem less painful, since they would only come when the returns of the fund are truly high, and the holder is doing well anyway.



How self sufficient would it have to be? Energy may be feasible, but may need backup from generators or grid, at least initially. Would food be sourced from local producers/supermarkets? Would need a lot of land for crops/animals, etc if it were to be self-sufficient for food, so that may not be possible. Water supply and treatment would have to be factored in, as would sewage treatment, so maybe hydro exploitation would kill a couple of birds with one stone

I believe an "experimental" approach would be necessary at first. A grid connection to start, but an objective of becoming self-sufficient over a period of time, as alternative technologies are tested and adopted by the community.

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Slightly off-topic, or maybe not...




I followed some Google links on Kevin McCloud to find this:


"If McCloud were to take over Ms Kelly’s housing responsibilities for a day, what would be his first policy? He immediately replies: “I would see whether the Stirling house would work as social housing.”


The Stirling house is one of McCloud’s favourite projects in the Grand Designs series; it featured in the third week of the present run. The light-filled, three-storey, cedar-clad home is a little bit of the Netherlands with its building techniques transported to a Scottish glen. But McCloud does not think the property out of place: “It’s a beautiful little wooden box: it’s contemporary, but still looks as though it is belongs where it is, there is a deference to the context. It would be interesting to see how it could it be done on a budget.”


McCloud, as Secretary of State at the DCLG for the day, would also be eager to ensure the imposition of the World Wildlife Fund’s sustainable homes codes. These set new energy and water efficiency standards, above present regulations, to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from housing, which account for 30 per cent of the UK’s total. This year, the ODPM pledged that the codes would become mandatory for all new homes. But, although it is now fashionable for politicians to state their unswerving commitment to greenness, McCloud still frets over the dilution of all environmental policies. He fears that they will be fatally weakened under the assault of lobbyists. "


@: http://property.timesonline.co.uk/article/...29-2193975.html

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This is so weird - last week my partner and I were talking about our future plans, wnd we came up with this exact same idea - setting up some kind of "towards self sufficiency" community.


The main conclusion we reached was that the greatest hurdle would be people getting along in such a situation - one can easily envisage huge personality clashes leading to quite an unpleasant existence.


I believe the technical challenges are actually quite easily overcome. We got quite a lot of details down on paper re. the overall power model, and it all looks quite doable.


I'll be watching this thread with much interest.

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I am fascinated with this concept as well, as my partner and I are eventually aiming for a self sufficient lifestyle (at least in the terms of basic needs such as shelter, food, water, energy) That is once we have enough savings and investments behind us. One hidden disadvantages of modern day life is the extreme dependency we have on others for our basic needs, such as food, water and energy. It amazed me during the fuel blockades how quickly shops emptied from food. Around where I lived, cars were having their fuel pipes cut to drain the fuel tanks. :lol: The saying that society we are just three meals away from anarchy is definitely true.


Anyway back to the eco village concept


There are many tradeoffs involved in complex problems and some decisions taken often force others to be made. So I have done a quick brainstorm of various issues to hopefull see the bigger picture.




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A sort-of mind-map?

Very interesting. Thnx, Gen-X

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Local Generation, local power storage, and prudent usage are Keys to a successful Green community


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The Following was posted by Dom, on the "Electricity storage" thread:



The community in Spain where my father-in-law lives has no grid connection. The dwellings have home made electricity generating systems. Most of these have been done on a budget, utilising batteries from institutional back up systems or fork lift trucks (traction batteries). Energy is harnessed using PV and wind turbines.

Now, my FIL system has 800AH battery capacity. Without batteries the whole system would be virtually useless. For over half the day the generating output is less than demand and often zero. However, the batteries will keep his modest consumers powered up through the night. He has an excellent monitoring system on the wall with an audible alarm to warn if maximum discharge limit is imminent.


There are only four low energy bulbs in the house. No TV, no computer, no electric fridge. He has a tiny washing machine which is filled with water by hand, no spin, just an agitator. Even this consumes too much energy to be used at times where output is less than peak. This is the crux IMO.


The attitude of the community is to not use the energy in the first place, thus avoiding all the problems of generation and storage. Their lives are comfortable and healthy.


Most people in the UK have never seen such lifestyles in practice. Our emphasis, when discussing alternative energy, is based around meeting current and projected demand, a futile exercise IMO.

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  • 1 year later...

Looks interesting, given the hpc talk of building a retreat / utopian community, especially as it has an online community element.


BBC iplayer 'watch again' link





Telegraph TV pick: Paradise or Bust (BBC2)




The long history of utopias – from Puritan New England to Jonestown – hasn’t been a very happy one. Luckily, though, nobody involved with the venture featured in Paradise or Bust (BBC2) seems to know anything about it. “This is a unique, never-been-done-before global project,” claimed one. “Every single person wants this to succeed,” said another. “How can it fail?”


The project in question is the brainchild of Ben Keene and Mark Bowness, two British blokes in their twenties, who in 2006 set up a website with the aim of establishing “a perfect eco-village” on the Fijian island of Vorovoro. For a membership fee, anyone in the world can have the right to vote for what happens on the island – and to visit it.


Last night’s first episode followed the early days of the scheme, when youthful idealism was touchingly to the fore. Ben had already arrived on Vorovoro, where he was joined by his brother Dan and an actress called Becky. “I think she’s making a massive mistake,” said Becky’s dad as he waved her off at the airport, sounding an authentic note of middle-aged pessimism – which, as it turned out, Becky had to fight hard to ignore. (“To hear my dad saying that really crushed me,” she later reported.)


Meanwhile, if the founders’ claims for the uniqueness of the project were perhaps exaggerated, then so were the makers’ for the uniqueness of the programme. As the trio battled against the clock and their budget to have something for the first visitors to visit, the result proved a familiar if fairly interesting mix of Castaway, Grand Designs and Ground Force.


More influential still were all those shows in which plucky Brits try to build a new life abroad despite the best efforts of the local workmen to frustrate them at every turn. To a less trusting bunch, it might have seemed as if their Fijian partners were slightly taking the mickey here. (Before any building could begin, for instance, they demanded the traditional gifts of a whale’s tooth and an envelope full of cash.) Fortunately, Ben saw only the beauty of different people coming together to set an example to the world.


As ever, the cycle of alternating hope and despair ended with everything ready just in time. When the first members arrived, they found compost toilets and basic accommodation that had been in place for 12 hours. Their arrival on the beach, mind you, also appeared to make Ben suddenly realise how odd the whole business was. “They saw a webpage and they came,” he said wonderingly. “Why would they do that?”

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thnx, Member100


I saw that HPC thread too:



And I found the link to the project's own website:


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