Livin’ large with a small footprint

[image from NYT article]

I recently learned about a group in Oakland that embraces our water scarcity more than any other I have seen. They are the Greywater Guerrillas. Beside from being a brilliant name they do some amazing DIY projects. Ever wonder how you could collect and treat your own greywater, or even have a composting toilet in an urban setting. They can teach you in one of their many events.

Read an article about them in the NYT. Here is an excerpt:

Not even the Greywater Guerrillas would now condone the first system they built, in 1999. Back then, they were living with six housemates in a rented house in a rundown part of Oakland. After receiving a water bill showing that the house was using 241 gallons a day despite their conservation efforts (the figure was actually less than half the national average of 70 gallons per person per day), the two headed to the basement with little more than a hacksaw and righteous enthusiasm.


[image from Dwell]

Another small footprint concept is from an award winning architect, Casey Brown‘s self-styled shackitecture.   It is a 3×3 meter prefab.  Check it out via Dwell.

One way to compare Brown to the Greywater Guerrillas is where they choose to site their projects.  For Brown siting his building in nature is a statement that his uber-sustainable building is doing the least harm that a structure can do.  This appears to be the challenge at least.  In Oakland, most areas are already built out and so the Guerrillas have to work with what is available– and by mitigating their water and waste the Guerillas try to improve upon their environment.  There is a place for both types of projects, but honestly I’ve seen a lot of SIB (small is beautiful) houses and would like to see more people embrace a “reuse is more” rather than a “less is more” mentality.


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