Wednesday, 15 June 2011

From Worms to Green Building

green building: from worm composting to sustainable housing, by wobuiltPhoto-Collage: From Worms to Green Building
From Worm Composting to Sustainable Living
2011 @

"Every family needs a pound of worms,"
declares Cathy Nesbitt ...

from Learning to love the magic of worms
by Ellen Moorhouse Special to the Star

Published on Sat Sep 19 2009

I normally don’t write about my private life, but I got new pets, 800 to 1000 to be precise. And I had them for a week and a half and they are still alive!!! They are red wiggler worms (scientific name: Eisenia foetida), they live in a composting bin in my kitchen and they eat my organic kitchen waste.

When I got the little wigglers, I didn’t know anything about vermiculture or vermicomposting. I met Cathy of Cathy’s Crawly Composters a few times over the years and always said I wanted to try. So last week I finally picked up my worms and to my surprise I got two cartons of worms, one bottle of distilled water, one carton of soil/lime mix, bedding of paper shreds and of course the composting bin (size of a blue bin). Not quite assembled as I hoped, but I guess bonding with your pets is a good thing. So when I got home I had to set up their new environment and luckily Cathy provides a manual with the kit. Bedding your worms is quite a science. So is feeding them. I now have a freezer full of worm food, freezing helps to break down the structure, easier to digest.

Anyway I must have done something wrong and for a few days some of the little critters tried to escape. Making me a concerned worm owner. But I finally fluffed their bedding (more oxygen) and all is well in wormland. Pheeew!!!

I got the worms, because I wanted to do my tiny bit for the environment and live more healthy. I started juicing vegetable and fruits to eat the recommended daily 7 portions according to my chart from the My Food Guide at Health Canada, something that is almost impossible otherwise. But I didn’t want to throw away the pulp or the food scraps, so perfect timing for the worms. My own personal commitment to green which of course extends to my professional commitment to green building.

Living healthy, living green or living sustainable is a way of life and it does not have to large scale. The same applies to green buildings. Of course we would like to install all the large scale measures such a solar panels, geothermal and windmills or green roofs, but smaller measures can be as satisfying. A heat recovery unit is affordable at approx $4000, a light pipe to bring daylight into enclosed spaces can be as little as $1000 installed. If you really want, you can even consider composting toilets. If you add an extension to your house it may be possible to design in the environment to achieve an energy effective house. Measures such as orientation, glazing, heat sinks, daylight, natural shading, natural ventilation all play a vital role. For a second storey addition, skylights, light pipes and extra attic insulation are great ways to reduce energy usage. We discussed some of the ideas in our post about the Aboretum.

I am a great believer that we do not have to do without the comforts of modern life to be green or live an sustainable life, I like to live in a well designed, bright, warm or cool comfortable home, but I will encourage all our clients to think about ways how they can be green. The worms are my start, what would be yours?

Martina Ernst
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

PS: Father’s Day is just around the corner. Kids, instead of buying things or making some craft items for Dad, why not persuade him to get a children’s worm kit from Cathy’s Crawly Composting. Caring for the worms can be great fun for the whole family.

links: How to Build an Attractive Worm Bin
by Mindy McIntosh-Shetter, eHow Contributor
updated February 08, 2011

Wormilicious — diary of a worm composting revolution
by Cassandra: the worm coach

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