Designing Your Sustainable Home 101

The other half of the permaculture lifestyle

Meet Kristina Monroe. Some time back, she purchased a C-Head (which at that time was for land based purposes called a BoonJon) and incorporated it into her incredible home design. She has even written a book about how her new home came into existence, including the dream, the design and the final outcome. The name of the book is “Twisted Oak” and in it she devotes almost a complete chapter to the advantages of my toilet design and how it has worked with respect to her permaculture lifestyle. In her book she lays out in story form why she and her family decided to take the plunge and build the house of their dreams. She describes how they take maximum advantage of the property and its assets and construction techniques to create an environmentally friendly, beautiful, warm and cozy home with results that are fantastic.

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Houseboat Installations

The C-Head toilet works especially well in houseboats. The larger holding tanks and the existing flushing toilet with it’s through the floor toilet flange, give the houseboat owners an advantage over other type boats. Specifically, they can use the BEX kit (bottom exit kit) to take advantage of the existing plumbing and make life easier. The BEX kit, allows you to drain the urine into the holding tank directly through the bottom of the toilet using the existing flange. Since you are only using concentrated urine with a little flush water occasionally, the capacity of the holding tank is increased greatly, which reduces the need to find a pump out station. You can spend an extended time, weeks or months even, on the water and hold the liquid waste until you return to your marina to have it pumped out. No special trips or going off the hook to find a marina so that you can empty the tank. The C-Head is unique in this regard since there is no other composting toilet on the market that has this capacity.

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Making a Simple Solid Waste Dehydrating System

How Dry I Am . . . How Dry I Am . . .

With a bucket and chuck it system, you can simply pour the mixed pee and poop waste contents of your toilet onto a pile of compostable material and then cover it with more material and let nature do its thing. This is a common method of composting your waste in a permaculture way. Joe Jenkins has a nice system for doing just that. It is, however, impractical for use on a 1/4 acre residential lot, simply because of the size and the amount of compostable material needed to create thermophilic composting in the winter time. It also doesn’t have a means to sort out and manage any waste that may be suspected of being unhealthy, that is to say, waste that comes from a person who is demonstrably ill or suspected of being so. You need a processor that allows you to separate and process unhealthy waste more aggressively and cleanly as well as one that allows you to take advantage of the useful properties of your poop and pee separately.

Joe Jenkins’ well designed waste management compost system
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The Wishing Well Compost Tower

I wish I might, I wish I may, I wish my poop would go away!

I finally finished one of my pet projects that has been in the making for a couple of years. People have asked me again and again, what do you do with the poop once you empty it out the toilet. For most travelers who use my toilet (boaters and recreational vehicles owners), the waste winds up in the trash. That has created a lot of discussion on whether it is legal or proper to do that. Actually it is both if the user uses minimal common sense. I foresee an issue in the future for boaters if emptying the contents into a marina dumpster becomes a common practice. If the waste is sealed in a 5-gallon plastic bucket as I advocate, then it shouldn’t be a problem, but some people can be more careless and create issues for everybody. So I have always thought; why not have a nice compost tower at home or on the facility where you can dump your waste and let nature do what nature does best. Put it to its intended use as fertilizer.

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A Squirrely Situation

What to do?

Think of them as cuddly, cute creatures or as the more deservedly descriptive title of “tree rats”, squirrels are a hazard to gardening among other things but especially gardening. My first negative encounter with the furry little guys was when one day Nancy came up to me while I was working in the garden shed and said, “There is a squirrel living inside the sail cover.” Immediately, I suspected the worst and sure enough the little bugger had made a nest inside our mainsail cover using the finest dacron she could find and turning it into a fluffy, comfy, show white bed for her and her soon to arrive family. She had eaten holes in every panel of my $2400 mainsail. AAAHH!

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The Problem with Toilet Paper

Can you put it in the toilet?

We come from a magical world where you simply flip a handle or pull a chain or push a button and all your nastiness simply swirls away down a hole off to some other place that is far, far away. Not one person in a thousand has any idea where it went. With that mind set, the issue of toilet paper becomes a non-issue. Using toilet paper is without doubt the crudest ritual that people of European heritage practice. The toilet paper business is a well entrenched industry with jobs and fortunes at stake. Vast amounts of money are spent every day advertising its existence, so much so that no other method of cleaning one’s bum is given any serious consideration. Hold that thought and read on.

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