Green designer turns California property into sustainability lab

Most architects have show-houses, Douglas Busch and his colleagues are creating a 20-acre show-community for sustainability technology and design.

Photographer and architect Douglas Busch, founder of the ecoTECH Design Studio, recently received the green light to build a green building and energy technology educational center. It's just the latest addition to the extraordinary community called ecoPARK that Busch and some of his colleagues from the green building community are creating in Malibu, Calif.

EcoPARK boasts all manner of green technologies that are emerging to support the sustainable living movement, such as solar tubes embedded into the driveway and sauna, a fitness center that generates electricity during your workouts based on how much you exercise and use the machines, and an electric shuttle system that will take visitors around the park. The idea, Busch says, is to let people see these technologies in action and let them compare the advantages -- and disadvantages -- of the various options.

"If you're not going to educate people, they aren't going to change their habits," Busch says. Think of this as a show community for what might be possible in the future, through green building design and city planning.

Take a walking tour:

The intention for the new 6,000-foot learning center at ecoPARK is to provide a place for companies and green living experts to hold lectures and retreats that help evangelize the idea that it is possible to live with a neutral carbon footprint. The idea isn't to ask you to give things up -- there are media rooms and spa facilities and other niceties of contemporary living -- it is to rethink the consequences of our habits. Busch is seeking corporate sponsors to help showcase the latest technologies; in exchange, they'll have a living laboratory in which to get feedback from experts in the green building community.

Busch's partners in the ecoPARK property include:

  • Lawrence Gust with the International Institute for Building Biology and Ecology
  • Tracy Huston, co-founder of Menlo Labs, which has its hand in organic farming techniques and is sort of a sustainability think tank
  • Leland Walmsley, founder of evergreen Landscape Architects
  • Wayne Pendrey, whose focus is on affordable green community projects, including the WAV project in Ventura, Calif.

This link offers a photo gallery that shows you some of the buildings already on the property.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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