HomePermacultureDesigning The Eco-lodge and Learning Center

by Elke Cole

What’s the best place to learn Permaculture? I believe that it is a place where Permaculture is practiced and visible.
Ndanifor Permaculture Eco-village is on it’s way to being such a site for Cameroon and Central Africa.  Already the farm is practicing Permaculture and growing beautiful organic vegetables.
Our next big step is to build a facility- the Eco-Lodge and  Learning Center– to host training programs both for local groups and international events like our annual Summer Youth Camp and Permaculture Design Courses.

The concept for the buildings:

We take a phased approach for the construction of a

  • Small cabin
  • Meeting Hall
  • Kitchen and Showers building
  • Dormitory attached to the Kitchen
  • Dining Hall and Entry Section as final phase [newsletter_lock]
eco-lodge and learning center layout

Layout of all buildings of the Eco-Lodge and learning center

Energy efficiency through passive solar orientation

The design is based on the location: we orient the buildings for good natural ventilation, daylight in all rooms and ease of moving around.  Sleeping rooms are separated from group rooms such as the meeting hall and dining room, so they can be restful while programs are in progress.

Local materials and skill

It is important to us to use local crafts and skills throughout. They will demonstrate the beauty of raffia bamboo, of earth, of handmade lampshades, locally built furniture and of every day items like cups and plates.

local Bafut crafts

All buildings will be built with local materials as much as possible . This means using the earth from the site, stones from a quarry in the neighborhood, locally harvested wood and raffia palm harvested on the land.

Appropriate sustainable Systems

We will make sure that our systems are set up in sustainable ways: water from the spring will be used for cooking and drinking.  We will collect rainwater in tanks for showers and laundry use. The grey water from Showers and laundry will be filtered and then used for irrigation of the landscape close to the buildings. Kitchen water will be directed to a  biogas system.

Toilets are set up as composting toilets to start. Once we build our biogas system, we will construct toilets that feed directly into the system, along with kitchen waste and animal manure. The biogas system will then produce gas to use for cooking stoves in our kitchen. What is left at the end is fertilizer for the gardens.

Our Electricity will be provided by Solar Panels. We will also use solar energy to heat water for the kitchen and showers.

Check out “Permaculture in the design of buildings“- a recent article on Elke’s blog for more info on design.

We invite your participation! :
We are beginning construction of the meeting hall and small cabin early 2014.
If you have expertise to share please contact Elke at elke@elkecole.com , so we can see how to fit your ideas into the planning.
If you are far away and wish to make a financial contribution we will be grateful for your support. Please contact us.

Elke Cole is a Natural Builder and Architect and volunteer for Better World.

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