The Alaimo Echo Village is both a standard and a service. Inspired by Norman Nadeau and co-developed by both Greg Alaimo and the late Dr. Martin Fox; Electrical Engineering professor from the University of Connecticut.
The spelling utilizes the word Echo not Eco. The word Echo is used to evoke inspiration, that the standard will be adopted world wide, like an echo bouncing across the walls of a global village
The idea of an Alaimo Echo village is to provide not just affordable housing to everyone but affordable housing that is sustainable and yet is far less expensive to live in.
Housing in CT has become increasingly expensive, while maintenance, food and utility bills continue to rise. Not just specific to CT, in other parts of our globe, such as third world nations, housing, let alone shelter, is a distant dream for too many
The Echo village is a concept designed to promote an affordable green community, that is sustainable, safe and can be built to accommodate several needs including; affordable retirement living, survival shelters (both temporary and permanent), low income housing, affordable office space, homeless shelters, modular green schools and or education centers and community rehabilitation.
The echo village brings together several critical elements; affordable housing that is also sustainable and yet is incredibly safe, utilizing housing structures(or living units) that are constructed from shipping containers and are able to withstand the worst that mother nature can dish out including; hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes and is even EMP resistant. In addition each housing unit is also resistant to termites and carpenter ants.
The Alaimo Echo village is the first of its kind, combining affordability with sustainable design while being flexible enough to meet a plethora of needs. In addition, the echo village is designed to lower the long term cost of living by offering residents the ability to nearly or completely eliminate their electric bills, water bills, sewage bills and heat and cool their homes for less than a traditional home. In addition residents share a garden and as a result spend less for produce. Many echo villages will also want to have chickens or livestock for fresh eggs and meat, promoting a healthy sustainable source of food that is also more affordable.
The Echo village standard has several parts;
Community based and community owned
Individual families or occupants are also known as stakeholders.
Stakeholders own an equal percentage of the land and responsibility in community land and property management as well as any community determined necessities such as garden and/or livestock care and management.
Insulation is eco friendly and non toxic
All LED lighting for efficiency, and cost effectiveness
Electricity provided by solar and or wind , optimized according to location, solar panels and or wind turbines may be placed on individual dwellings or centrally located.
Village may be grid tied or completely independent of the grid using battery backup.
Villages may be built by professional contractors or the stakeholders themselves, depending on project goals and needs. Villages built completely or in part by the stakeholders will obviously reap the benefits of lower construction costs. Echo villages built by inhabitants otherwise known as stakeholders can also be used as a means of community rehabilitation and or education for individuals or groups.
Heat provided by geothermal, pellet stoves, recovered sewage biogas and or any combination depending on stakeholder needs.
Hot water provided by solar thermal panels
Individual units vary in size from 675 sq ft to 1400 sq feet
Individual units are made from shipping containers, this achieves two goals, keeping the cost low and providing a very safe, robust, long lasting structure to build from.
Central community center and garden, provides community interaction/socialization and local inexpensive food.
Villages may be located either on shore or offshore. Floating offshore villages are conceivable and will certainly be considered as needed.
Community compost pile
Tool sharing, car sharing and bike sharing
Community free to air satellite and individual units utilize digital antennas
Every echo village utilizes well water
Every echo village utilizes either composting toilets or a septic system
Every echo village utilizes recycling and composting to a degree that allows for zero waste disposal so no landfill disposal is needed
Clothes hanging in place of dryers where ever practical
The basic design is simple; each unit is made from a shipping container and customized/sized according to need.
All the units are organized in a circular fashion and joined by foot paths to the center of the village which features an appropriately sized (per population) dome or geodesic shaped green house and community center. If livestock are utilized, the design can be altered to accommodate those needs. Yet every Alaimo Echo village utilizes a centrally located green house and meeting/community center.
The Alaimo Echo Village Service encompasses the following;
The complete project management of an echo village project from conception to completion. This includes; finding and bringing together the stakeholders, determining the right location, determine the goals of a particular echo village, taking those goals and turning them into a viable village design, complete with timetable for design, building and completion, filing of all permits, purchase of land and all needed materials and components, hiring contractors, communication and management of all project goals and timetables and coordination and adhering to project timetables and completion dates between all parties and finally managing all move ins.
Each Alaimo Echo Village is unique, different villages have different goals; one Echo village may be focused on elderly housing, another may be survival, another may simply be affordable green housing etc. With each project comes a unique set of needs and the project management will be focused on achieving and meeting those needs.
To build an Alaimo Echo Village, the process can be started by any of the interested stakeholders, whether they be a financial backer for an Alaimo Echo Village in Haiti or the founding stakeholders who are interested in establishing and being a part of an affordable green community.
The first step is determining the type of Echo Village to be built. Next, the initial stakeholders will want to get more parties interested in the project to gather a community of similar minded stakeholders together. For example, say a group of 5 or ten families are interested in building an affordable green community. Once the size and type of the village is determined, the stakeholders will hire myself as project manager. Together we will work out the size and type of each living unit to be built from shipping containers, the plans for each unit will be found and or designed. Once the individual units are designed and or finalized, the stakeholders will work with the project manager to determine how much land the stakeholders need and can afford.
Each stakeholder owns the land. The property is divided according to and by the number of stakeholders. As a basic example; if there are ten stakeholders and they determine they can afford and need 10 acres, each stakeholder will own 1/10 of the land and is therefore responsible for the purchasing of one acre.
Next, the project manager will begin finding a suitable or compatible town and land to build that echo village. Not every town will be interested in hosting a village comprising of houses built from shipping containers and using solar and or wind for power. Careful research and communication is needed to insure there are no mid project or early project show stopping surprises. Once a suitable town or towns have been found and agreed upon by all parties or stakeholders, and a suitable piece of land located and purchased,the project manager will handle the entire building process from ground breaking to final move in.
Third World Alaimo Echo Village; Echo villages can replace slums in places like Haiti and other impoverished nations. Shipping containers can be utilized as very safe homes utilizing solar to provide power and light. Each unit utilizes composting toilets for improved sanitation. For more info click on Contact to get your Alaimo Echo Village started today.
Image Courtesy of architecturendesign.net