Started in 1999, North Berkeley’s EcoHouse provides a demonstration of sustainability in a residential neighborhood. Easily accessible by public transportation, the house hosts workshops in permaculture and natural building and provides living examples of permaculture, a graywater system, rainwater catchment, solar energy, and green building.
The front garden contains drought-tolerant, native plants in a pleasing design, while the backyard is devoted to food-growing and an aquaculture pond. A garden shed, built by UC students, includes strawbale and rammed earth technologies and even sports a living roof. Inside the house are natural linoleum floors, salvaged cabinets and flooring, low-energy fluorescents, and such efficient appliances as an on-demand water heater. Solar energy provides all of the home’s electricity.
Almost two years ago, the board of directors of EcoHouse approached the Ecology Center’s board about the possibility of the Ecology Center integrating EcoHouse into its programs. After a year of careful review, the Ecology Center’s board recommended that the membership vote to approve a nonprofit merger. The next step will be to create an EcoHouse advisory committee to help us make decisions about how to support and build this wonderful program. If you are interested in participating, please contact the Ecology Center at 548-2220, ext. 233.