Clumping Bamboos: The Ones To Grow

by Justin Thomas •

Many people are reluctant to plant bamboo because they are afraid it will spread like wildfire and have the entire neighborhood up in arms against them. But there’s a simple solution to this problem — plant the right kind of bamboo — the “clumping” kind. The invasive kind is the “running” bamboo which probably should never touch foot in your …

Book Review: Natural Capitalism

by Justin Thomas •

Natural Capitalism is a book which dicusses similar ideas to those we present here at MetaEfficient. Written by Paul Hawken and Amory and Hunter Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute, the book starts off by explaining the authors’ theory of “natural capitalism”, but then it really picks up and provides a fascinating and well-referenced examination of the vast inefficiences of …

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Book Review: The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes

by Justin Thomas •

Straw bales are a renewable resource, and they are becoming a widely used construction material in some parts of the U.S. Many localities have specific codes for strawbale construction, and some banks are willing to lend on this technique. Bale walls can be erected quickly, even by amatuer builders. This book, The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes, is lavishly illustrated, …

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Book Review: Earthbag Building

by Justin Thomas •

What is Earthbag Building? Well, plainly enough, it’s a method of building using bags filled with earth. This newly released book, Earthbag Building, is the first comprehensive guide to all the tools, tricks, and techniques for building with earthbags. Having been introduced to sandbag construction by the renowned Nader Khalili in 1993, the authors developed this “Flexible Form Rammed Earth …

Using Urine to Grow Plants

by Justin Thomas •

This book, Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants, by Carol Steinfeld explains how urine can be utilized as a resource! Urine contains most of the nutrients in domestic wastewater and usually carries no disease risk. Starting with a short history of urine use — from ritual to medicinal to even culinary — Liquid Gold …

The Magic of Tents: Transforming Space

by Justin Thomas •

Endlessly flexible, nurturing of creativity, cost — and energy-conscious, tented structures are an ideal means to address many concerns of modern architecture — a creative means to not only define space, but also to transform it into something to meet all sorts of design needs, for projects both grand and small. Recent years have seen an increase in the use …

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Carfree Cities

by Justin Thomas •

Imagine life in a city free from the noise, stench, and danger of cars, trucks, and buses. Imagine that all basic needs, from groceries to child care, lie within a five-minute walk of every doorstep. Imagine that no commute takes more than 35 minutes from door to door, and that service is provided by a fast, cheap, safe, comfortable public …

Book Review: “Transmaterial”

by Justin Thomas •

Transmaterial, a book edited by Blaine Brownell, covers “materials, products and processes that are redefining our physical environment.” The book is filled with surveys of metaeffective materials. The chapters include: ultraperforming materials, multidimensional, recombinant and transformational materials. The entire book is available as a PDF File (11MB). See this review from World Changing for more information.

Book Review: Portable Houses

by Justin Thomas •

When some people vacation, they take their homes with them. Those are the people Irene Rawlings and Mary Abel write about in Portable Houses, a book devoted to all sorts of movable shelters and the people who created or renovated them. The examples featured in the book range in elaborateness from a canvas miner’s tent to a Boeing 737 jet …

Hyper-Optimal: Create an Oasis with Greywater

by Justin Thomas •

The book “Create an Oasis with Greywater” by Art Ludwig is packed with information about how to reuse greywater by diverting it into your garden. What is greywater? It’s all the “waste” water produced in a house besides sewage — e.g. water from showers, sinks and washing machines. This is a key meta-efficient technique because, when done correctly, and combined …