Friday, November 28, 2008

Almost Green: book reading

Friend of Shedworking Fiona Gilsenan went to a reading by friend of Shedworking James Glave and sent us this review:
I'm sorry to say I drove my car the ridiculous distance of .8km to the Fernwood Community Association where eco-writer and Shedworker James Glave was addressing the Annual General Meeting of the Victoria Car Share Co-op on Monday night. But I think he would understand. James is the first to acknowledge the challenges faced by well-intentioned but frazzled parents (and freelance writers) as they take baby steps to greener lifestyles. He was at the meeting to read from his very funny book, Almost Green, in which he chronicles building an environmentally sensitive writing studio on Bowen Island near Vancouver.

As part of his own "half-hearted fumbling toward sustainability" the Eco-Shed represented a pretty steep learning curve, but James can now speak confidently about the relative soft costs of cob or straw-bale versus rammed-earth construction and advise on a method for storing harvested rainwater from the roof of a 280-square-foot building. (That method involves hitching a 250lb plastic cistern to a Lexus SUV, but it represents an impressive if potentially lethal commitment to sustainable shedworking.)

The Eco-Shed , featured in the September issue of Oprah's Winfrey's O at Home magazine, is now complete, although it serves only part-time as a shedworking venue. James reckons it is built to a Gold LEED standard, with its passive-solar design, salvaged and reclaimed lumber, Danish wood stove, and super-efficient ventilation and insulation systems. Meanwhile, it has to earn back its advance (approximately $100,000 Canadian dollars), so at weekends it doubles as a guest suite for visiting city dwellers seeking a green getaway.
You can read excerpts from the book at James' site and also at Salon where some of the comments have become a little heated.

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