Next meeting:
Sunday, October 2, 2005, at the S&L's community room

A free-form meeting!—we haven't had one in a while—wherein we discuss whatever we wish. One suggestion is the broad topic of land use: everything from permaculture to intentional communities (including the possibility of forming a sub-group for those of us who are looking for land).

Tad Montgomery, the ecological engineer who gave an excellent presentation on alternative septic systems presentation at the August meeting, will be on hand. He'll be part of an official permaculture presentation sometime in the future.

We could also compare notes on the different things we'll have seen the day before. The Green Buildings Open House includes more places than one person can get to between 10 and 4...

Head over to the back door of the Brattleboro Savings & Loan, at 221 Main St., on Sunday, October 2 (the first Sunday of the month), and join us! Feel free to come at 4:30 for introductions and chitchat; we'll try to get hardcore around 5:00. We have the room until 8:00 for anybody else who likes to straggle as much as some of us do.

The bank wants the outside doors kept locked. Ring the bell at the back door and someone will come up and let you in. Then it's your turn: go up and let the next person in when the bell rings´┐Żand ask them to do the same for the person after them. Arriving by 5:00 so that nobody has to miss any of the juicy stuff is an act of kindness.

A very special treat is coming on Monday, October 17th!
In a thought provoking and entertaining presentation, David Eisenberg, co-founder and Director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology (DCAT), will explore the larger context for design, construction, development, and regulation in a time when the need for fundamental change in all human systems becomes ever more obvious and urgent. Ranging from the use of alternative materials and appropriate technology to issues of security and the health of communities, this talk weaves together many crucial elements, developing the foundation for an emerging set of criteria for our decision-making processes.

David Eisenberg is the co-founder and Director of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology in Tucson, Arizona. His twenty-plus years of construction experience includes troubleshooting construction of the steel and glass cover of Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Arizona, building a $2 million structural concrete house, a hypo-allergenic structural steel house, and building masonry, wood, adobe, rammed earth, and straw bale structures. He devotes much of his time to developing awareness and relationships among members of the building, development, design, building science, and building regulatory communities seeking to create a sustainable context for building regulation. He is a popular speaker in the U.S. and abroad on issues of sustainability and building codes, alternative building technologies and addressing institutional barriers to sustainable building and development.

David is also a two-term member of the Board of Directors of the U.S. Green Building Council, serves on the Advisory Board of Environmental Building News, and is a member of the Tucson/Pima County Joint Building Code Committee. He is widely published including his regular column, "Building Codes for a Small Planet" in Building Safety Journal (the magazine of the International Code Council), is co-author of The Straw Bale House book, and helped write the first load-bearing straw bale construction building code in the US.
Specific time-and-place details will be resolved soon...

From the comments section for the previous meeting:
Thanks to everyone who attended / participated in the Sept 11 meeting. I had a great time presenting - and am inspired and excited that there is such an interesting group of nat building folks right in our local backyard...

Mike Beganyi
Sep 12, '05; 10:55 AM

Dan Hoskins of Brattleboro is looking for some hands-on natural-building experience—any aspect of the building process. Email him at

Tad Montgomery (remember Tad?) is organizing a Permaculture Home Tour on Oct. 1st to coincide with the National Green Buildings Open House. The homestead incorporates features such as:
  • integrated permaculture orchard with fruit & nut trees & kiwis
  • innovative composting toilet & greywater systems
  • rainwater catchment
  • super-insulated home heated by a wood cookstove
  • innovative low-energy refrigeration system
  • solar & wood heater hot water system
  • greenhouse that incorporates both heating & food growing
  • innovative pest control & soil building strategies
  • a pretty impressive garden
  • anti-gravity construction techniques
  • Lots More
The homesteaders are part of the Gap Mountain (permaculture) land trust that was formed in the '80s. Tad is planning the tour for the afternoon... and the number of people may need to be limited, so it's important to RSVP. And even with that, there may be a waiting list. Email Tad at

This homestead is not a part of the National Green Buildings Open House.

At this writing, there are ten locations listed in southern Vermont on the National Green Buildings Open House. Find them here. There's some good ones! Note that four of the stops are only available on the guided tours; self-guided drop-ins are not welcome. Two of those, however, are the Omega Optical campus and the Putney School. Important, yes, but not as inspiring and informing for the owner-builder set as some of the others.

Sarah and Mark went on the Dan Snow stonework tour on the 25th. All of the following are dry-stacked—no mortar. He's a rock star...

photos by Mark Piepkorn
and Sarah Machtey