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Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker

Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker



Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker

Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker



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    Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker  Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community; by Achim Ecker Document Transcript

    • Achim Ecker 5,00Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Content:3 Introduction: Life within a Living Organism “Peace and survi-5 Energy Use and Sustainability val of life on earth as we6 A short History of Fossil Fuel know it are threatened by Consumption human activities that lack a commitment to human7 The Protection, Conservation and values. Destruction of Restoration of Soil nature and natural resources is the result of ignorance, greed,9 The Forest as the Matrix of Life and lack of respect for the12 Permaculture earth’s living things. This lack of re- spect extends even to the earth’s hu-13 Spiritual Ecology and Geomancy man descendants, the future generations who will in-14 Cooperation with Animals herit a vastly degraded15 The ZEGG Vegetable Garden plane if world peace does not become a reality and if destructi-17 Awareness in the Kitchen and while on of the natural environ- Shopping ment continues at the18 The Greening of Roofs and Façades present rate”. (Dalai Lama)19 Water – a Living Substance21 Waste Water Cleaning and Composter23 Natural Pond Clarification24 Compost Toilets25 Energy Generation from Renewable Resources Imprint:26 Cars run on Vegetable Oil Publisher and V.i.S.D.P.: Achim Ecker27 Building and Insulating with Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 89 Plant Fibres D-14806 Belzig E-mail: achim.ecker@zegg.de28 Building with Earth Texts: Achim Ecker (Geomancy: Hermann Haring),29 Living Buildings with Willows and Photographs: Achim Ecker, Georg Loh- Other Trees mann, ZEGG-Archive; Cover Photo- graph: A. Ecker30 Mandala Pavilions Layout and typesetting: Hermann Haring, Burkhard Alexander Pranke32 Triangular Huts English translation: Stefani Ross, Niall33 Epilogue: There is no Time Glynn to Waste Print: Joost, D-Kronshagen 1. Edition 200435 What is ZEGG? Reprint of excerpts with indication of source is permitted and welcomed. Please36 Literature send specimen copy.2 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Life within a Living Organism or millions of years, life onF Earth has existed in biologicalbalance: all species co-exist, and new markets. Terrorism would best be fought by the implementation of global justice and by fighting po- Earth, offers the opportunity for a unique and diverse community of beings, (…)all substances are returned in a cy- verty and illiteracy.cle back to nature. There is no was- The prevailing patterns of produc-te. The energy of the sun is the only Sustainable development and tion and consumption cause deva-source of energy which is available worldwide justice require, first of station of the environment, exploi-nearly without limitations. The sun all, a new orientation of our lifesty- tation of natural resources andconstantly feeds this cycle on the les in the industrialized countries massive extinction of species. TheEarth, thereby making it possible as we already consume much more proceeds of the economic develop-for life to exist. than our share. If the entire world’s ment are not spread equally, and population wanted to achieve our the chasm between rich and poor isThe ever more obvious climatic standards of living, we would need getting deeper and deeper. Injusti-changes with all of their accompa- several planets just like the Earth in ce, poverty, ignorance and violentnying “natural” catastrophes show order to supply us with the necessa- conflicts are spreading and areus that this balance is now serious- ry raw materials, such as energy, causing incredible suffering. (…)ly threatened by us humans: if we food and natural resources. Politicswant to survive, we have to change needs to provide a supportive fra- We now have a choice: we eitherour ways of thinking, and we have mework for this change of attitude form a global partnership, in orderto re-learn to live in harmony with and thinking; but most of all it is to care for the Earth and for eachnature. This does not mean a simp- necessary for each and every one of other, or we run the risk of destroy-le movement `back to nature´, but a us to fundamentally change his or ing ourselves and the entire diver-balanced approach both to oursel- her attitude towards the way we use sity of life. Some very decisiveves, and to whatever surrounds us. our shared resources and the pro- changes in our value system, our ducts of this one world. institutions and our way of life areOur planet Earth is a living organ- necessary. We have the knowledgeism. Animals, plants and humans Let me quote from the preamble of and the technology to provide forand the so-called “a-biotic” matter, the Earth-Charta of the B.U.N.D. ourselves, and to reduce negativesuch as water, winds and rocks, are (a big German environmental or- impacts on the environment. Weinterconnected. This connected- ganization), dated March 24th, need to focus on the fact that if ba-ness between us humans and the bi- 2000: “We now stand at a critical sic human needs are provided for,osphere, which was seen as a mat- point in the history of the Earth, at human development is centredter of fact in early cultures, has to- which humanity needs to choose around “being” instead of “ha-day been neglected and disrupted. the way to take into the future. As ving”.Humankind has lost touch with na- the world more and more interla-ture, and can therefore bear to ex- ced and ecologically fragile, the fu- ZEGG (see page 35) has made aploit her by violently disrupting na- ture holds immense dangers and in- commitment to develop a way oftural cycles and relationships. Pro- credible opportunities. If we want life which does not cause any furt-fit-oriented globalisation, subject to advance, we need to acknowled- her damage to this planet andevery life-process to the laws of the ge that, despite or even due to our which contributes to its healing. Amarket, signifies a new apex in hu- many differences in culture and li- communal way of life and joint usemanity’s insanity. The so-called festyles, we are one big family, a of consumer goods are steps in thiswars against terrorism are one ex- global community tied together by direction. Within the past years,pression of this disease. They un- a shared fate (…) the ecological work done at ZEGGmask the underlying mechanisms has undergone some changes: star-of capitalism, always on the move Humanity is part of a constantly ting out with a more classical ap-to secure natural resources and evolving Universe. Our home, the proach towards ecology, it has mo- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 3
    • ved towards a holistic social ecolo- for the entire region, and much was acknowledged as one of Euro-gy. Social ecology connects the ou- more. As more people decide to pe’s foremost experts on hydraulicter, visible nature of the biosphere settle here and to contribute their engineering. His inventions on thewith the inner nature of human energy, the more attractive the re- improvement of water quality re-beings. Ecology in this sense of the gion seems to become. ceived international recognition.word encompasses the healing ofhumans as well as healing the pla- This booklet intends to provide an Viktor Schauberger was one of thenet. And healing processes take overview of the most important first natural scientists who warnedplace whenever human activities ecological projects at ZEGG. The- of the possible results of an intensi-begin to harmonize again with the re is still much to do, but we are on ve exploitation of water and fo-`ways´ of life. Any person incapa- our way. My wish is that, with this rests. Together with his son, Walterble of loving himself, will likewise booklet and its practical examples, Schauberger, he founded the firstbe incapable of loving his human, ZEGG may serve as a model for ot- Austrian ecology-movement, theplant or animal environment. Whe- her developments, far beyond this “Grüne Front”. From the very be-rever the natural functions of life, region. ginning he was an outspoken oppo-such as vibration, flow, pulsation nent of energy generation from nu-and rhythm are inhibited by either The following contributions provi- clear fission. River restoration, fortechnological or ideological force, de substantial background infor- which he was at the time the onlydisruptions or diseases will arise. mation on the topic of sustainabili- proponent, is now being done allAs years went by, more and morepeople were attracted to the regionof Hoher Fläming, the area sur-rounding ZEGG. Meanwhile, therealization of a “Hoher FlämingSustainable Region”, with local re-cycling of materials has turned intothe connecting vision for manypeople who live here. Many of thethings we need in order to liveshould come from this region; andthis region is beginning to change.Since 1991, more than 300 peoplehave settled here, in addition to the70 odd ZEGG inhabitants, all ofthem searching for more commu-nal lifestyles and a more sustaina-ble economy. They form a looselywoven network. Knowledge, cul-ture and goods are exchanged, andin their wake friendship and manyloving relationships have been ge-nerated. ty. Many thoughts are inspired over the world. His maxim of ob-Community members, newcomers from the work of the Austrian rese- serving and emulating nature nowand original residents work toget- archer Viktor Schauberger, whose seems to express a wide range ofher in a variety of projects, projects work during the first half of the what is currently done in the realmswhich in hindsight may turn out to 20th century was far ahead of time. of technology and natural sciences.have been the germ cells of a regi- In his opinion, too, the state of the Many of the impulses Schaubergeron `fit for the future´. There is a world and of nature today is the di- set still reverberate today, and therebartering network, a `Free School´, rect and unavoidable consequence is still a wealth of work to examine.organic farming, an Info-Café as a of the ideological and spiritual con- After many years of obscurity, neg-meeting-place for asylum seekers victions of humanity. ligence and suppression, Schauber-and local residents, an alternative ger´s work is finally starting to re-Health Center, an alternative to of- Schauberger was forester, hydrau- ceive the recognition it deserves.ficial Health insurances based on a lic engineer and inventor who, du-solidarity principle, etc. There are ring the 1920’s, developed his view May you enjoy reading this bookletplans also for an encompassing of water as the “Basis of all life”. and draw inspiration from it!concept for sustainable economy As a bio-technician he put his as- tounding insights into practice and Achim Ecker4 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • ything we do; in the cultivation of Energy Use and fruits and vegetables, the generati- on of energy, the selection of buil- ding and insulation materials, and of consumer goods. Sustainability Another cluster of problems we have so far been unable to handle successfully here, concerns trans- port. The calculated permissible emission of CO2 per person, worldwide, is maximally 1.2 me- uring the past fifty years, the tric tonnes. Every delegate whoD Earth has lost one quarter ofits arable farm land and one third of kind of world will our children in- herit, who will experience the re- sults of our present day activities? flew from Germany to the Sum- mit-Conference on climate controlits forests. At the present rate of de- in Johannesburg in 2002, was al-struction, we will live to see the In the course of one year, the cur- ready causing 7t of CO2 emissions,loss of 70% of all coral reefs, ma- rent annual consumption of crude much more than reasonably justifi-king up the habitat of 25% of the oil is 3.5 million tonnes worldwide able. It is clear that rigid rules willmarine flora and fauna.” (Hawken (numbers from 2001!); an amount not be of any service, but we need2000;22) the Earth took one million years to to become aware of the effects we produce. We drill, mine, dig and cause by choosing to spend our ho-We all consist of sunlight and wa- chop as if there was no limit. The lidays on low-budget trips to fara-ter. Radiant heat, visible light and inhabitants of the wealthy coun- way places.ultraviolet light are the sources of tries, – 20% of humanity – consu-most of the life on this planet. me 80% of the natural resources. The regionalization of the materialEverything we need for nourish- While Europe is currently slowing cycles will go hand in hand with ament, heating, building and for our down its consumption and polluti- regionalization of production, andsustenance can be traced back to on, the U.S.A. for example, is not. therefore of work. Forestry andtrees and other plants. With their It is evident that we cannot go on in agriculture represent two of theability to synthesize matter from this way. To live sustainably inclu- most vital activities in rural areas.sunlight, air and water, by absor- des awareness of the fact that on a The objective is to produce, consu-bing CO2 and transforming it into global level we simply cannot use me, share and recycle as much ascarbon and oxygen, they generous- more energy than what we can possible on a regional level. Thisly provide us with all of our basic catch from the sunlight daily hit- creates the basis for a partial exitrequirements. Without this photo- ting the earth. Here at ZEGG, this from the systems destroying thesynthesis, we would not be able to is a main consideration in ever- Earth and its inhabitants. Thus wesurvive. Our future on can develop models forthis planet totally de- change, which can be fol-pends on oxygen. If we lowed by others. Thesecontinue to cut down new models may also in-trees, we diminish the clude regionally focussedquantity of the water and services, leisure and cul-oxygen available to us. tural programmes. This promotes diversity and in-In everything we do, or terest in each other, inste-refrain from doing today, ad of global uniformity.we need to be aware thatnature operates with a Under no circumstancesbuilt-in time-lag. It can should these visions leadtake 30 to 50 years before to closing off of the regi-we are able to witness the on. “Nothing natural oreffects of our present day alive may ever keep itsbehaviour. Many of the qualities in a closed-off`natural’ disasters we see system, as all natural pro-today, some of which are cesses are open and needdevastating, were caused to be able to interact withby human behaviour 30 their environment” (Cal-to 50 years ago. What lum Coats) 5
    • efore the discovery of fossil B fuel, the energy available to humans was simply what the sun extracted from the earth by hu- mans, these balanced processes will be interrupted. As a result the tions. Finally the single pole, charged groundwater, once it has lost its surface tension due to the gave us every day. For a long outer layer of the earth will cool lack of carbonaceous material time, the planet’s human popula- down and the atmosphere will be- near the surface, will sink deep tion was relatively stable; in 1000 come colder. into the earth where carbonaceous AD it amounted to 500 million matter will still be found. There it people. At that time, a forest was If these essential oxidation pro- will change its boiling point, an important source of energy and cesses within the earth cease, lar- oxidize early and cause powerful building materials, and was pro- ge amounts of water will amass, eruptions. After great catastro- tected and cared for. first in the atmosphere and later in phes that will come in the form of the earth itself, because the water earthquakes, thunderstorms, hur- Around 900 AD, coal was disco- then can not be rebuilt and refined ricanes, floods etc. all of the vege- vered and was soon widely used. any more. tation of the earth will recede as For the first time humans had a source of stored solar energy A short History which had reached the Earth some 900 million years earlier. The population rose to 1 billion in 1800. In 1850, crude oil was discovered in Rumania, and in 1859 the first North American oil well went of Fossil Fuel Consumption into operation. Now there was even more energy available, and humans learned to use it: for ma- chines, for the production of syn- thetic materials, artificial fertili- sers, and many other applications. The water that will sink into the the ground water sinks deeper and The forests, which had hitherto earth or evaporate into the atmo- the vegetation layer freezes again provided energy, food and buil- sphere will be overloaded with in permanent ice.” ding materials, began to dwindle, oxygen. Without the carbonace- until it was possible to believe ous matter with which it could in- During the past 24 hours, more that they were nothing but plea- teract, it will change its freezing than 70,000 hectares of rain forest sant recreational areas, nice to point. This will completely chan- were destroyed on this planet. 13 look at, but otherwise useless. In ge the general climatic condi- tonnes of toxic chemicals were re- 1930, there were 2 billion people; leased into the in 1960, 3 billion; in 1974, 4; in environment. 1987, 5; and in 1999, there were 6 More than billion inhabitants of this planet. 45,000 people starved to de- In 1933 Viktor Schauberger, in ath, 38,000 of his book “Unserer sinnlos Arbeit” them children. (Our Senseless Toil), wrote: “The More than 130 temperature on earth is a product plant and ani- of balancing processes involving mal species carbonaceous matter in the earth were extingu- (note: Schauberger used “carbo- ished by hu- naceous matter” to mean all or- mans (num- ganic and mineral matter like bers published coal, crude oil, natural gas, mine- in 2001!). And rals etc. excluding oxygen and the trend is up- hydrogen) and the oxygen that ward. penetrates the earth dissolved in rainwater. When all this highly organised carbonaceous mater is Source: http://www.grida.no/db/maps/prod/level3/id_1250.htm6 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • orldwide, 24 billion tonnesW The Protection, of fertile soil annually arewashed or blown away, or are sim-ply destroyed. This huge mass ofmaterial would suffice to cover the Conservation andentire agricultural surface of theUnited States. The vast areas threa-tened by desolation are estimatedto encompass 3,6 billion hectares Restoration ofof land by the UNEP, an expanseequivalent to one quarter of the en-tire global land mass. In Africa alo-ne, 900 million hectares areendangered. The root causes areecological (climatic) as well as so-cial (Impoverishment)” (see: DerSpiegel, No 15/2000). Healthy SoilSoil is our only source for healthyfood/nutrition. In addition to air and deep sand soils, interspersed spark can cause a large-scale fire.and water, it is one of the essential by narrow layers of loam several The prevalent dry eastern windsenvironmental systems, which to- hundred metres apart. In the fo- and the pine monocultures are alsogether make up the basis of life for rests, the humus layer is no more contributing to the dryness.us humans, for the flora and the than 2 centimetres deep. In openfauna. Only due to them is it possi- terrain a thin grassy sod covers n order to improve the water stoingble to sustain biodiversity, genetic pure sand. The soil is poor in or- capacity and the fertility of the san-and natural resources. Soil is indis- ganisms and in vitality, and only li- dy soils on our property, we havepensable for the production of mited nutrients are available. steadily increased the humus layerfood, for the storage of water and by mulching with old straw, leavesenergy, as a filter for pollutants and One key problem is the low and hay from the parks and publicas a regulator for global amount of rainfall, amounting to gardens of the Belzig municipality,bio-chemical material cycles. The only 500mm per year, together and with cardboard. Mulchingimprovement and the protection of with the sandy soils and their poor creates a habitat for a multitude ofthe soil layer therefore are very im- capacity to store water. One or two organisms and fungi, which,portant concerns of the ecological days after a summer rain, there is among other things , make nu-work done at the ZEGG. no trace of water to be seen in the trients available to other plants ground, and there is serious danger through their symbiotic relations-The Hoher Fläming region is cha- of forest fires. The meadows are hip with trees. When you mulchracterised by pure, light coloured, withered and dry, and the smallest you initially draw nutrients, such Mulching old straw. 7
    • as nitrogen, from the On some of the mulchedsoil: the mulch layer areas we also spread theneeds them for its own compost from our drydecomposition. But la- toilets, as the nitrogen,ter, the amount of nu- phosphorus, the innu-trients set free is much merable mi-greater than what was cro-organisms, fungithere originally. In or- and compost wormsder to remedy this initi- promote decompositional burden on the soil, of the organic materialone can concurrently into humus. Initially wespread a small amount scattered clay dust,of compost. which forms a mineral compound with humus,Leaf mulch is particu- therefore improving itslarly beneficial in a fo- ability to retain nutrientsrest, as in addition to and water, preventingimproving the soil it their loss by leachingsuppresses the dreaded into the groundwater.Roth (woodsmall-reed) (Calama- In the forests on ourgrostis epigejos) . Leaf grounds we built upmulch also contains so-called Benjes hedgesseeds from a host of ot- from brush-wood, pro-her trees, shrubs and viding habitats for hed-flowers, which all con- gehogs, snakes, toads,tribute to transform a amphibians and birds.forest into a mixed fo- The slow decompositionrest, combining a varie- of organic material byty of fructiferous trees and by improves thewith the typical forest Mulching with leaves. soil. These hedges retainplants. Leaf mulch pro- water and slow downvides these seeds with perfect con- her plants, and permeates the soil winds. Birds settle on them andditions for germination and growth with veins of humus. We use a drop seeds, which can then sprout(cool/damp stratification). mulch mower for cutting, and sub- and grow protected from game. sequently leave the plant materialAnother valuable means of soil res- on the ground, in order to create a Since we began our soil restorationtoration is green manure. This is natural layer of humus. Over a peri- work, vitality has already beenthe sowing of plants, which, due to od of several years we have sown a considerably improved and a largethe nodule bacteria living within large variety of green manure variety of micro-organisms, insectstheir root systems, are capable of plants, which now propagate them- and fungi may be observed. A verybonding atmospheric nitrogen, the- selves. particular healing dynamic hasreby making it available to ecologi- been initiated, which is especiallycal cycles. These so-called legumi- In addition to mulching, we have obvious during dry spells. We werenous plants include peas, beans, constructed several raised beds, in able to reduce watering to an abso-lentils, clover, alfalfa (Medicago which we incorporated entire trees, lute minimum, while the vegetati-sativa), lupins (Lupinus polyphyl- wood scraps and cardboard. After a on remains vibrantly green for alos), broom and black locust (Ro- downpour, the decomposing mate- much longer period.binia pseudoacacia) - all members rial is water-saturated like a spon-of the pea family (fabaceae). ge. These raised beds also introdu- While we strive to improve the soil ce welcome contours into an other- in large parts of our land, other are-Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is able to wise extremely flat landscape. as are left untouched as rough pa-extend its root system down to an Their various microclimatic zones sture, forest biotope, etc. We veryastounding depth of more than 10 offer habitats to many plants, in- rarely enter these enclaves, leavingmetres, enabling it to remain lush sects and animals, all within very them to themselves as much as pos-and green even during the driest of small space. These raised beds sible, so that they remain sanctua-summers. In this way it makes wa- were partially planted, and are still ries for animals on our terrain,ter and minerals from deep levels mulched every year. which is sometimes heavily used.of the ground available to many ot-8 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • The Forest as Matrix of Life“Without forest, there is no water. The life of a forest is – just like all depths up to the surface. The levelWithout water, there is no bread. Life – a unique harmony of conti- of the groundwater is raised andWithout bread, there is no life.” nuity and change joined together in spring water may form. A balanced(Viktor Schauberger) one beautiful organism. In a natu- groundwater level is the result of rally mixed forest, nearly every well-adjusted ground temperatu-“Don’t you know that the forests species has its place without any res, a process safeguarded by trees.are the life of the land?” (Babyloni- need to struggle. Contrary to aan inscription) commonly held doctrine, Nature Without trees, life on Earth would involves much more cooperation be inconceivable. And still, everyTrees form a forest. The life history than competition. Without symbio- day vast areas are deforested.of a tree is also the life history of sis, there would be no life in any fo- About 120,000 to 150,000 squarewater. Trees are the highest and no- rest. There would be no forest at kilometres of virgin forest (an areablest plant form, whose giving is all. three times as large as Switzerland)universal and unconditional. is cut down every year. In order to By dropping their leaves and need- protect the remaining primeval fo-Whatever their colour, shape and les, trees share nutrients with smal- rest on the planet, the world’s de-species, there is one trait they sha- ler plants. Trees make salts, mine- mand for wood needs to be met byre: they play a crucial role in the bi- rals and water from deep in the soil plantation forests only. These plan-osphere of planet Earth. They regu- accessible not only to themselves, tations would need to be managedlate the climate by raising the hu- but also to other plants, animals, in accordance with ecological prin-midity of the air; they slow down and even agricultural areas. The ciples.wind and mitigate the extremes of roots of a tree permeate the soil to aheat, frost, drought, floods and much greater depth than those of Due to a more favourable legal re-storms. They filter the air, store and any other plant, thereby providing gime, European forests are againpurify water, conserve soil fertility with water all plants in and around growing. Worldwide, though, Eu-and inhibit erosion. Trees create a the forest. But by drawing up large ropean demands play a crucial rolemagnetic field around them. A amounts of water, the tree also in the process of forest destruction.whole forest with its many billion draws warmth from the soil. In ac- The German market is the maintrees has an integral part in buil- cordance with the laws of physics, customer for wood and celluloseding and maintaining the Earth’s this cooling of the upper soil levels from countries such as Indonesia,field of gravity. draws warmer water from greater Brazil, and the Cameroon. Europe- 9
    • such as this, wood can be harvested What is the value of a tree? on a sound, ecological basis. During the course of its life, a 100 year-old tree: In 1991, we took on about 4 hecta- res of monocultured forest, mainly • has lifted about 2500 t of water from its roots to its crown – pine and birch. It surrounds our against gravity – and evaporated it; property and its outskirts seamless- • has processed some 18 million cubic metres of air, extracting ly blend with the park-like vegeta- from the carbon-dioxide therein about 2500kg of pure carbon tion on the remaining 10 hectares. (C); On each parcel of land, the pine trees were of nearly the same age. • has photo-chemically converted 9,100kg of CO2 and 3,700 litres In some places new growth, mainly of H2O; of oak (Quercus robur) and black • has stored up some 23 million kilocalories (equivalent to 3,500 locust (Robinia pseudoacacia), had kg of hard pit coal) and has supplied 6,600 kg of oxygen (O2) for arisen. There was also a vibrant un- the respiration of human and beast, ensuring enough air for one der storey, - even some old fruit human being for at least 20 years; trees (apples, pears and sweet cher- • has fixed a mechanical equivalent of heat equal to the calorific ries), mostly hollow. Over the last value of 2,500 tons of coal; 50 years, pine (Pinus sylvestris), birch (Betula pendula) and oak The combustion of 100 litres of petrol consumes 230 kg of O2. That is have moved into the fruit orchard, to say, if a person chooses to breathe for 3 years, or to burn 400 litres and have forced the fruit trees to of petrol or heating oil or 400 kg of coal, then the production through grow higher and higher in the com- photosynthesis of 1 tonne of oxygen is required (Viktor Schauber- petition for light. ger). Since 1993, we have been busyan consumers are responsible for nigra L.), elm (Ulmus glabra creating a forest rich in species.the annual destruction of at least Hudson), yew (Taxus bacata L.), There will be little separation bet-150 square kilometres of primeval whitty pear (Sorbusforest in the European Russia. Yet domestica), wildEurope is not the worst in terms of service-tree (Sorbaglobal forest destruction. This pla- torminalis) alongce is held by the US. with various wild species ofIndustrialised, modern forestry re- fruit-tree.gards old, gnarly trees and deadtrunks as undesirable breeding pla- At ZEGG, we aimces for pests, such as the bark beet- to foster mixed fo-le. But their removal and destructi- rest rich in specieson destroys the habitat and food and habitats, withsupply for a whole range of organ- venerable grandfat-isms. One dead oak tree, for exam- her-trees neighbou-ple, hosts 500 different insects and ring fresh youngmicro-organisms, all of which are saplings, and withimportant for speeding up its de- moss-covered deadcomposition. In Germany, from trunks being swiftly1,350 to 6,000 native beetles breed returned into thein dead wood; 60% of these insects rich, healthy humusare to be found on the so-called by the insects andRed List, as they are threatened by mushrooms thatextinction. Moreover, of the fungi live on them: A fo-that propagate on dead wood, 25% rest providing pro-are considered endangered. tection and food to a wide range of in-The concentration by German habitants, andagroforestry on a few, which at the sameprofit-yielding species of tree has time depends onled to the near-extinction of fir these tenants. From(abies alba), black poplar (Populus a living organism10 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • ween orchard and forest, as we are Since 2002, we have two splendid and yew (Taxus baccata). The un-trying to build up a natural, vibrant work horses, which help us to pull der storey has hazel (Corylus avel-sanctuary where humans can visit, trees from the forest. This is the lana), european mountain ash (Sor-harvest and enjoy. We would like most natural way of harvesting bus aucuparia and intermedia),to show that there is no conflict bet- wood. hawthorn (Crataegus oxyacantha),ween a Nature worth protecting blackberry (Rubus fruticosa ),and the human settlement and use If we include young growth, the raspberry (Rubus Idaeus), red andof its resources, as long as we take ZEGG forest now includes pine black elder (Sambucus racemosaon the responsibility of living in (Pinus sylvestris L.), birch (Betula L. and nigra), currants (Ribes),close harmony with natural cycles. pendula), oak (Quercus robur L.), Oregon grape(Mahonia aquifoli- black locust (Robinia pseudoaca- um), European birdcherry (PrunusIn the beginning, we extensively cia), field maple (Acer pseudopla- padus), hips dog rose (rosa canina,interfered with the existent, unna- tanus L.), aspen (Populus tremula), budleia (Budleia davidii), lilac (Sy-tural forest. Pine and birch were cut cherry (Prunus avium), pear (Pyrus ringa vulgaris), Dwarf Garden Ser-down in order to create clearings communis), apple (Malus domesti- viceberry (Amelanchier ovalis)for the seedlings of other trees and ca and sylvestris), prune (Prunus and even, at some sunny outskirtsplants. Layers of leaves were domestica), lime tree(Tilia platy- of the forest, sea buckthorn (Hip-brought in as mulch and Benjes phyllos and cordata), fir (Abies pophae rhamnoides).hedges were laid. Dead wood was alba), Canadian oak (Querkus ro-left to rot and more brought in. We bur C.), walnut (Juglans nigra), Through discussion with the pro-believe such interference will no chestnut (Castanea vesca), beech prietors of the surrounding forests,longer be necessary in about ten (Betula pendula), larch (Pinus la- we seek to foster support for ecolo-years. Some areas were left for na- rix), whitty pear (Sorbus domestica gically sound forestry, and to crea-tural succession to take place. L.), wild service-tree (sorbus ter- te a network of producers and con- minalis), ash (Fraxinus excelsior) sumers of regionally grown timber. Itnever learntismankindaway seems that has that to take away the trees to take solution and that is to refo- rest this planet on a massive scale – now! specific weight the hydrogen then rises into space, while the oxygen sinks back down. the water. It is the forest co- Worst of all, all that was once ver that is responsible for A further horrific consequen- water has effectively been re- fine-tuning the content of wa- ce is that groundwater is no moved altogether. It has ter vapour in the atmosphere longer recharged; the gone, and gone for good. and for the creation of fresh groundwater table sinks and water itself. Once the forest the supply of nutrients to the This initiates a process, in has been removed, the expo- vegetation from below cea- which the atmosphere is first sed ground heats up rapidly. ses. At the same time, the in- forced to get warmer due to As a result the ground tempe- creased intensity of the overcharge of water va- rature in general is hotter thunderstorms and wind acti- pour, but then, as the water than the falling rain. A hot, vity and the warming of the rises higher, it is dissociated dry ground-surface inhibits ground due to massive defo- and disappears, and the at- infiltration of the soil with restation, raises the water mosphere cools, because the rain water. Until a sufficient vapour levels far higher than amount of heat-retaining wa- number of trees have been normal, even to as much as ter vapour has diminished. planted; not just a billion, but 40 – 80 kilometres above the What follows is a new ice several hundred billions, we planet’s surface Here it rea- age. All this was elaborated will be subjected to the unre- ches altitudes where it is ex- in detail in Viktor Schauber- lenting , merciless cycle of posed to much stronger ger’s writings some 70 years drought, flood, drought, ultra-violet and high-energy ago. flood, particularly in equato- gamma-radiation, which dis- rial and warm temperate zo- sociate the oxygen from the Quoted from: Callum Coats, nes. There is only one hydrogen. Due to its lesser “Living Energies” Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 11
    • and plants. This also includes Permaculture so-called pests, the massive occur- rence of which always indicates a lack of complexity. If examined more closely, these insects support the healing-processes of the Earth, as they serve to rectify human mis- takes, such as mono-cultures. ermaculture means sustainableP agriculture and is a way to sup-port, conceive and to construct du- “An agriculture set up to feed hu- manity long-term needs to meet the following criteria: it may not use We would like to achieve a high le- vel of self-sufficiency in the area ofrable habitats and systems. These more energy than it creates. It healthy food. To walk through aare intended to secure our perma- needs to conserve the integrity of blooming, green and fertile land-nent and fundamental needs – eco- humans, nature and of landscapes, scape, is in itself already healing tologically, socially and without simply transferring diffi- heart, body and soul. It also gene-economically. As a central aspect culties onto other essential realms rates a space for children to growbefore any new design, but also at of life, and it needs to produce qua- up in a variously environment,intervals during later stages of any litatively and quantitatively high which leaves room for discoveries,project, it is necessary to closely yields. In all of this, it is also im- and allows them to experience ani-observe plants, animals and any ot- portant to set limits to the uncon- mals as wild and free, not as depen-her elements involved, in all of trolled explosion of the population dent of humans. They profit fromtheir functions. We also need to in- and of consumerism.” (Rohr, Ja- naturally experiencing diversityclude traditional knowledge into scha: Asking for the roots. Deep and start to understand the naturalour work. This serves as a basis for ecology giving directions out of the complementary character of ever-new models, of how living systems crisis. Hagia Chora, Nr.14, 2002) ything around them.can maintain themselves and rege-nerate. Instead of fighting disrup- This is where social experiments, Another important aspect of per-tions, they are utilized as part of the such as communal lifestyles, may maculture is multifunctionality.solution. take on an important role, as they Each element has several allow in-depth recognition and ear- functions, and each function is ta-First of all, permaculture is a me- ly realisation of basic needs, before ken on by a variety of elements.thod of planning, the aim of which they are channelled into a host of Grapevines, rambler roses and ki-is to build functioning systems, and substitute gratifications. wis, for example are trained aroundto take into consideration the an arbour structure, providing sha-well-being of humanity and of na- The aim of our ecological work is de during hot summers. During theture. These systems could be gar- to build up stable systems in coope- winter, they drop their leaves anddens, or agricultural operations. ration and partnership with animals allow sunlight to come through.But permaculture is also viable inurban situations, it may be appliedin architecture, in community plan-ning, urban planning and the struc-turing of organisations and socialinstitutions, – in short, whereverthere are complex contexts, nee-ding to be connected within anopen, multifaceted structure.Permaculture uses modern techno-logies just as much as ancientknowledge: Feng-Shui or geoman-cy, bio-dynamic gardening or me-thods developed by Fukuoka, pas-sive houses and solar plants, barte-ring networks, car-sharing or vege-table boxes. A central role withinpermaculture is given to the closeobservation and use of natural cy-cles, and the recycling of all mate-rials, – locally wherever possible. Mushrooms break down dead wood and keep the natural cycles alive.12 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • During the fall, they provide us Spiritual Ecologywith plenty of delicious fruit, andduring the summer we delight intheir blossoms. On south-facingwalls, climbing plants profit from and Geomancythe warmth of the sun, while theyshade the building beneath. Thispreserves the plaster and keeps thehouse pleasantly cool. On north-fa-cades, we planted evergreen ivy(Hedera helix), protecting the hou-se against heat-loss during the win-ter. he word `Geomancy is derivedFruit trees and bushes should grow T from the Greek expression for `seeing the Earth , or `perceiving the joyed at the sight of a pristine landscape.wherever people pass, so that Earth’. To `see’, in this sense, me- Very early on, during the foundingeverybody can gather whatever he ans much more than simply looking years of ZEGG we were twice vi-or she needs in passing. The num- at the surface. The geomancer may, sited by the British geomancer,ber of plants should be large for example, feel the vibrations of a Peter Dawkins. His visits were aenough for humans and animals certain location or an area, and may few years apart. He saw an entirealike to take their share. We do not attempt to translate these images system of chacras on our land,have to harvest everything we sow. into definite statements or descrip- which again is part of a much grea-We take what we need, the remain- tions. While doing so, he or she is in ter energetic system of energy cen-der is left for animals, fungi, in- close contact with the Earth. This tres in the Fläming region. To oursects, all joining to maintain a he- type of sensitivity is inherently pre- great surprise, we had intuitivelyalthy biotope. We also plant fruit sent in each one of us, but does re- placed the harmoniously corre-bearing plants specifically for fo- quire practice. sponding facilities on many of the-rest animals. se locations, such as our One research objective set by the restaurant, the reception and theThe ecological work at ZEGG is geomancy group established at reed bed waste water treatment.inspired by Sepp Holzer from ZEGG in the spring of 2002 is to un- During his second visit, DawkinsAustria, and by Masanobu Fukuo- derstand the energetic structures of perceived significant improve-ka from Japan. From this knowled- ZEGG and its natural environment, ment in the total energetic conditi-ge, complemented by our own ob- and to modify these wherever ne- on and revitalisation of theservations and intuition, and influ- cessary. What is required in the be- location.enced by local conditions, we crea- ginning is the willingness to taketed our very own body of methods every inner or outer perception seri- Marko Pogagnik, whose visit du-and knowledge. In this approach, ously, to take note of whatever ari- ring our Summer Camp 2002 in-we also integrate plants, which ses when looking at a piece of land spired the foundation of ourwere not originally native to the or a building, even if your mind dis- Geomancy group, found a spotFläming-region. We do make sure, cards a certain perception as `uns- very vital to ZEGG, which wasthough, that no local species is ous- cientific . After a short while, you highly charged with heart energy.ted by our introduced species. Our realise that there is indeed an inner He had noticed two trees in the di-vision is a “multicultural” one, in answer to the questions such as rect vicinity, which had grownwhich exotic plants may comple- what kind of a feeling characterises around each other as if lost in anment and enrich the “natives”. This a certain place? Is it pleasant to be embrace. Coincidence? Placesis why we decided to plant kiwi here, or does it have `holes in its such as these need care and attenti-(Actinidia deliciosa), figs (Ficus) energetic fabric, which might indi- on in order to recharge and to mo-and medlars (Mespulus germanica) cate that some detrimental event bilise their power, particularly ifat appropriate sites. We do not try took place there, or that trees were their meaning has for a long timeto eradicate Japanese Bird Cherry cut down for no reason or veins of been neglected. Progagnik, who is(Prunus padus) and Black Locust water were sealed off, so that part of from Slovenia and who first beca-(Robinia pseudoacacia), which are its vitality was inhibited. What is me known as a sculptor, has spentimports and have turned into quite the meaning of a landscape, and of considerable time researching thisa plague at some places. We try to the elements characterising it? Each field of knowledge; his healingrestrain them within a certain limit, one of us knows the experience of work is now well known to manyand otherwise enjoy their various taking a walk in a vibrant mixed fo- people in Europe. Among otherqualities and their beauty. rest, and feeling the healing effect activities, he has been busy as an on body and soul, or of feeling over- “energy converter”, reactivating Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 13
    • energy at sites where it has been Air vitalises the encompassing per structures of the land on whichblocked, twisted or buried by hu- landscape. A river kept from vibra- ZEGG has settled, and if so, howman interventions. For this kind of ting naturally by modern river en- can we strengthen them. In the im-work he used to employ energetic gineering, will cause irritation, not mediate neighbourhood of ZEGG,symbols sculpted in stone. These only in the physical sphere. It will there is a medical rehabilitationdays he prefers to use the healing, be paralysing to look at, but also, centre with an adjoining thermalheart power of sounds produced by the energies it radiates in other fre- spa, tapping a thermal water re-people singing together. quency ranges will be inhibiting. source deep down in the Earth. The human master, who would for- Maybe the location at which we’veDuring the 2002 Summer Camp, ce it into a crippling bed therefore decided to live, is particularly wellProgagnik attempted to unblock becomes a victim of is own deeds. suited to receive, to promote and toand cleanse one particular location A vibrant landscape with an unblo- foster new information on healingon our grounds by the “sounding” cked “soul” or essence, will in the social and ecological realms.of 100 people. He advised us to re- strengthen all creatures living in it, We still know so little about thelocate an important ceremonial site and vice versa: if we humans re- connections between “Heaven andto a place nearby, in order to spect the diversity of a landscape Earth” - between the spiritual andstrengthen its vital-energetic ener- and the characteristics of its “or- the material. This is why Geoman-gies. The geomancy group at gans”, we will strengthen its sacred cy is such an exciting field of re-ZEGG will continue to work on spaces which enable it to exist in search for some of us here at thethese issues, in order to find out physical harmony. ZEGG.which sites are best suited to expe-rience inner peace, clear the mind Another interesting geomanticor awaken joy. A natural flow of question is whether there are hea-the energies of Earth, Water and ling powers hidden within the dee- If, during a particular year, butterfly Cooperation with Animals caterpillars had nibbled off the lea- ves of a plant, it very often turned out to benefit this plant later, when it got drier, as the plant suffered a lot e want to learn how to work to- less evaporation loss. W gether with the plants and ani- mals around us, no matter how During guided tours through our small they are. If we include them in gardens, people very often deplore our thoughts and considerations, they the fact that they have too many will cooperate with us in the great slugs in their vegetable patch, ex- challenge of healing the Earth. The pecting us to give a patent remedy. following are just a few examples In our view, slugs serve as a regula- from our experience. Since we started ting measure in nature. They “set the to promote a wider biodiversity on table” for all kinds of other animals, our grounds by taking down large sec- such as toads (Bufo bufo), lizards, tions of the surrounding fences, more frogs, slow worms (Anguis fragilis), deer (Capreolus capreolus) , wild boar hedge hogs (Erinaceus europeus), (Sus scrofa) and hares (Lepus europe- birds and moles. When these ani- ans) from the neighbouring monocul- mals come to feed, we like to welco- ture forests have come to feed and live me them by offering them a comfor- on our grounds. As much as we enjoy table place to settle down - nest bo- their trustful presence, they do have a xes, piles of rocks or tree-cuttings, tendency to eat and damage the newly Butterfly caterpillar wild hedges, small ponds or wate- planted shrubs and trees. We therefo- ring holes. We find that by taking a re protect young trees and single European starlings love cherries. We closer look, by observing natural plants by surrounding them with fen- could keep them from eating all the process and by re-examining our ces while they are too delicate to sur- cherries by spreading large nets over habitual mindsets we can find ways vive game bite. Additionally, we have the trees. We prefer to invite a starling to support Nature in her work. Is it planted some of the animals favourite family to nest in a cherry tree. One really so important that a garden is forage plants in the forest. In our needs only to put a nest box in the so neat and tidy that there is no thoughts, we try to communicate our tree. The `resident family will then room left for any other creature to welcome and our wishes regarding defend the tree against all uninvited live there? what we would like them to eat and guests, but will leave enough cherries not eat. for us to eat.14 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • The ZEGG Vegetable Garden ature doesn t make mistakes.N If paradise does not becomereality in the garden, it’s humans (Zea mays) or tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), we add some of our own compost; otherwise we don t give you an example how nature produces stone meal: in Egypt, the river Nile used to flood the soilwho’ve made the mistake“ (Sepp fertilize at all. All we do is feed the once a year. The sludge depositedHolzer) organisms living in the soil, the by these floods served as fertilizer worms and the bacteria. These will to the Nile valley farmers, and asFelix Matile, the ZEGG gardener, then in turn feed the plants. We sow building material. Now they ve gottalks about his work in this way: leguminous plants, such as beans the Assuan Reservoir, and all of“In our garden, we try to do as (Vicia faba L.), peas (Pisum sati- this stone meal is collected withinmuch as possible the way nature vum L.), lupines (Lupinus poly- the reservoir. The farmers have toherself does it. For example, nature phyllos), clover (Trifolium ..), buy artificial fertilizers and theydoes not know compost heaps. which draw nitrogen from the air are getting poorer and poorer. ForEverything just drops wherever it into the soil, via the bacteria living us, it s important to know thehappened to grow. For crops with within their root systems. We do ph-values of our soil. The soil hereexceptionally high nutrition needs buy and introduce soil for seed- has too little lime. I can balancelike potatoes (Solanum tubero- lings and stone meal, a by-product that by using wood ash, a by-pro-sum), pumpkin (cucurbita), corn product of stone masonry. Just to Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 15
    • duct of our wood-burning heating dise emerges, is rewarded by less wers from our own garden are the-plant.“ work for more bountiful crops refore not only a visual delight and every year! a `soul food , but also an expressionThe ZEGG garden is not intended of our political concerns.as a commercial horticultural en- In 2004 we started to use copperterprise, but as a place for learning gardening tools following the ideas The gardeners also take on the taskabout organic gardening, for expe- of V. Schauberger and we are curi- of passing on their experiencerimenting, for regeneration and for ous to see the results through guided tours and consulta-growing vegetables for our own tions, i.e. for gardens planned el-consumption. There are no In addition to the vegetable garden, sewhere. Preschool children regu-“weeds“ at the ZEGG garden. The- the ZEGG gardeners also care for a larly join the gardeners to partici-re are wild herbs and indicatorplants. Neither are there any `use-less pests or `beneficial creatures;there are only animals and all kindsof insects.On ¾ of a hectare, we produceenough fresh vegetables and fruitto feed our community and ourmany seminar and conference par-ticipants and other guests duringnearly six months of the year, withstill plenty left over to preserve forthe winter. To provide valuable or-ganic produce for ourselves duringthe Summer and Fall means a lot tous: we know how to care for our ve-getable cultures, and we can besure that no herbicides, fungicides,pesticides or artificial fertilizersare used. Meanwhile, the fertilityof the soil and the yield have risenyear after year. We eat the vegetab-les which are grown here, and anyremains are again given back to theland as compost. This comparati-vely small and closed cycle hasgreat political significance to us: itstrengthens our connection to theland we live on. At the same time,we become aware of how depen-dent we are on nature. Any lossesdue to unfavourable weather con- View into the deapth of the vegetable Garden.ditions are painfully felt. We grate-fully accept the gifts nature pre- beautiful flower garden. These flo- pate and to help. In this way theysents us with. wers are given as gifts and are used soak up a lot of knowledge on plant to beautify our seminar spaces, ren- growth and how to cultivate seed-We sow and we harvest vegetable dering us independent of the flower lings and vegetables. We like to of-plants, but we also take note of any producing industry. Most flowers fer them an opportunity to feel theirother little shoot in our garden. All bought at the florist s have not only connection with the land we livewilds herbs are indicators of the travelled considerable distances, on, and to take responsibility earlysoil s needs and condition, telling from Africa or Latin-America, but on for our own nourishment andus what needs to be done in order to have been produced under inhu- the nourishment of the soil.nourish it. Our garden teaches us man conditions, often involvinghow we can improve the soil, and massive exploitation and destructi- We are also committed to suppor-how we can live off and on the land on of natural resources. Cut flo- ting `fledgeling gardeners. Forwithout depleting it. Our willing- wers are treated with even more school classes or groups of at leastness to get out of the way, as Para- chemicals than food crops! Flo- ten visitors, we offer guided tours16 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • all of the residents are tough vege- tarian. At the same time, a growing Awareness in the number of people would like not to eat any animal food at all – to be vegan. Kitchen and while We do not buy eggs produced by factory farming; our suppliers are regional farmers who leave their Shopping chicken to roam as they want. Cof- fee is provided by `Fair Trade’, which guaranties fixed prices to growers, as opposed to multinatio- nal companies who exploit these n addition to ecological and he-I alth aspects, the decisions wemake each day when we shop have our power; every one of us, every day! coffee farmers. Our aim is to redu- ce our “complicity“ in inhuman production of foodstuffs. Where-a political aspect as well. Whom do “The rule of multinational compa- ver possible, we refuse goods who-we support by what and where we nies will collapse if we refuse to se production involves the blood orbuy? Do we support transparent re- buy what they are selling – their pain of animals or humans, or da-gional structures, or do we contri- ideas, their version of history, their mage the environment.bute to the exploitation of people in goods, their weapons, their visionother parts of the world? Do we of inescapability“ (Arundhati Roy; A very high priority is our own pro-foster contamination, erosion or a well-known Indian author and duction of foodstuffs. We grow asthe leaching of valuable soil, or do anti-globalisation activist) much as we can, supplementingwe contribute to care and regenera- this by food we can buy regionally.tion of the soil? Are we able to be To feel good, we do not need a lar- When not available regionally, weresponsible and recycle, preferably ge number of things, but we need buy through `Fair Trade’ and orga-regionally, the goods we´ve goods which last, and which don´t nically grown produce. We refusebought? harm the environment. We do not to buy genetically modified food. need to personally own everythingPower is moving away from the we use from time to time. The joy We try to improve the local availa-hands of elected politicians and of life does not lie in our consu- bility of valuable foodstuffs. Weinto the hands of multinational ming more, or in having more of were able to convince a local bakercompanies. Behind closed doors, our lives commercialized by multi- to bake organic bread for us. Hethe GATS Agreement (General national cooperations. Sustainabi- then offered organic bread also toAgreement on Trades and Servi- lity is intended to counter this everybody else who came to hisces) is used to sell off even the last trend. shop. In 2004 we started to bakebasic goods humans need for their bread and cake ourselves.survival (i.e. water). As consumers One small word on me-we find ourselves in a new role, at-consumption: a large part of the The soil, the garden, the peoplewith quite unexpected influence primary food produced on this pla- working in it or in the kitchen ... alland power. Our political influence net is fed to animals raised for of these are valuable resources.by way of consumer behaviour is slaughtering. Every day more tro- That is why another goal at ZEGGalready much greater than the in- pical rainforest is cut or slashed is to eat or buy only what we reallyfluence we have through the occa- and burnt for meat production. But need. We seek to develop an awa-sional election. But this power is we do not need meat. The greater reness of whether we are reallybased on information on the origin part of humanity adequately lives hungry, or whether our `hunger’ isof the products we choose, and on on a vegetarian diet. Meat con- only a substitute for some otherthe knowledge about the social and sumption in the rich countries is re- need. We’d like to develop a moreecological conditions of their ma- sponsible for hunger and deforesta- satisfying culture in which this fal-nufacture. Millions of people are tion in other parts of the world. We se `hunger’ no longer occurs be-frustrated, sitting in their have an opportunity to satisfy the cause our true needs and desires areone-bedroom flats, feeling power- material needs of humanity wit- fulfilled. Our aim is not renunciati-less , thinking that there´s absolute- hout destroying the planet. on – rather sensual delight. Wely nothing a single person can do. seek not to be morally superior –But by deciding what to shop, we This is one of the reasons why the rather to be more aware of our in-have the power to (s)elect, every ZEGG community kitchen decided terconnectedness.day. It´s we who decide to whom to provide only vegetarian disheswe´d like to give our money and for residents and guests, even not Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 17
    • of temperature, thereby extending their lifetime. The Greening Greening a façade is a lot cheaper and easier to accomplish, as no sea- ling and no substrates are needed. For ivy (Hedera helix), kiwis (Acti- of Roofs and nidia), grapevine (Vitis vinifera), knotweed (Polygonum aviculare), clematis (C. Integrifolia) and ho- neysuckle (Lonicera japonica Façades ‘Halliana’), trellises are all you need. Virginia creeper (Partheno- cissus tricuspidata Veitchii) do- esn’t even need that. Virginia cree- per, ivy, clematis, and honeysuckle prefer walls which do not face the sun, but grapevines and kiwis en- t ZEGG, there are quite a few joy basking in full sunlight, at leastA flat, bitumen-covered roofs -most of them inadequately insula- by one person. The decomposition of the plants takes up the same amount of oxygen: it is therefore a at our latitude. After a period of ac- climatisation, grapevines becometed. We decided to insulate and closed oxygen-cycle. very drought-resistant, due to theirlandscape some of them, as far as extremely long roots (up to 40 me-this was financially feasible andnecessary for the building’s main-tenance. Insulated green roofs im-prove a building’s heat insulationand bind about 500 grams ofair-bound dust per m² per year.This is particularly important forcities. The green roofs filter the nu-trients and pollutants contained inrain, thereby contributing to theclarification of surface and groundwaters.Green roofs also slow down therun-off after heavy downpours.Spread over the entire year, thesubstrate and the vegetation release75% of this moisture directly intothe air via evaporation. For about2000 , it is possible to green about50m² of roof, with a 10cm layer of Grapevines lighten the somewhat massive façade of the ZEGG’s seminar building.substrate, which can store about1.5m³ of water after a heavy rain-fall with 30mm of precipitation(=30l/m²) In order to seal the green roofs we tres). Our grapevines grow to a use an environmentally friendly, height of 8 metres, delighting usAmong those plants particularly recyclable EPDM (Indian rubber) (and the birds) with plenty of deli-suited for growing at these lofty liner. The substrate is a mixture of cious fruit.heights are some robust survival soil and pumice stone, or soil andartists such as sheep’s fescue (Fes- expanded shale, which is much Greening does not only serve to be-tuca ovina L.), English bluegrass lighter than normal soil even when autify a façade, but also protects it(Poa compressa), brome grass thoroughly soaked, but can store from temperature fluctuations and(Bromus tectorum) and a number much more water (an interesting driving rains. Additionally, theof sedum-varieties. As little as fact for any stress analyst!). Gree- plants produce oxygen and provide0.5m² of unmowed grassy vegetati- ning protects roofs from corrosive welcome nesting places for a varie-on generates the oxygen required UV-rays and extreme fluctuations ty of birds and many rare insects.18 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Water - a Living Substance he Upholder of the cycles But how we satisfy this need, plays and landscapes will turn intoT which supports the whole oflife – this is WATER. In every drop a crucial role. Water is not simply water. Drinking water from a swamps.”of water dwells a deity, whom we spring is subtly different from drin- Today (more than 70 years later!),all serve; there also dwells Life, the king that which flows constantly scarcity and pollution of water, inSoul of the First substance – Water from a tap and gurgles, after use, addition to climatic changes which– whose boundaries and banks are down a drain. When we drink from have a disastrous effect on the re-the capillaries that guide it and in a spring our disposition towards generation of water resources, arewhich it circulates. Let me summa- our fellow human beings, to socie- the most pressing worldwide envi-rize: healthy air, healthy nutrition ty and to nature is subtly changed. ronmental problem of this century.and healthy water together supportnot only a healthy body, but a he- As early as 1933, Viktor Schauber- Globally, 97% of water is salt wa-althy, positive human character ger had made it plain that there is ter. A mere 3% is fresh water. Ofalso.” (Viktor Schauberger) something fundamentally wrong in this 3%, as much as 79% is stored the way we treat water. In his book, in the pole caps as glacier and anot-Water is a remarkably complex “Our Senseless Toil”, he wrote: her 20% in the form of groundwa-substance. Its significance as a ”For about a decade the groundwa- ter. The last 1% of fresh water islife-giving element is expressed in ter has been falling so fast in many surface water. These numbers illu-a multitude of myths. The early areas, that we can reckon on our strate the limited availability of ourphilosophers identified water as fingers how soon people will be global fresh water provisions; whi-being one of the fundamental ele- forced to abandon their higher sett- le at the same time, the planet’s po-ments which, together with fire, lements and houses, because the pulation and its need for water issoil and air, make up the whole necessary water can no longer be growing exponentially. Currently,world. Even now, looking upon brought to them, or only at great humans consume 50% of the avai-water with more educated eyes, cost. Along with the falling of lable fresh water, leaving all theand describing it in terms of its che- groundwater levels, springs dry up, plants and animals on the planet tomical characteristics, we are still water ways fall dry and the glebe, share the remaining half.aware of the fact that all life needs which is supposed to give us ourwater. In particular, we humans: daily bred, dies of thirst. At other “The proper ways will themselvesour physiological need is 3 litres places the water will rise above the lead us back to nature, and therefo-per day. earth, rivers will break their banks re to the source of all life, to healt- hy water, which, lifted by inner po- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 19
    • wers, the higher the better, flows lowest point of the curve of the alike. Our very existence isfrom Mother earth when it is matu- specific heat values for water, therefore intimately connectedre enough to do so, that is, when it however. is +37,5°C. It is with the quality of water availablehas achieved its optimal physical remarkable that the lowest specific to us. It is vital for our own livescomposition, and has no choice but heat of this `inorganic substance, and those of our children that weto leave the ground.“ (V. Schauber- at which the greatest amount of become seriously concerned notger) heat or cold is required to change only for the health, vitality and the water’s temperature, lies at quality of the water we drink, butAs a compound made up of the two only 0.5°C above the normal also for its source and the treatmentgases hydrogen and oxygen, water human blood temperature –. This it receives. Apart from ourin its pure form could technically property - of being able to resist consumption of it, this same waterbe described as an oxide of hydro- rapid thermal change - enables us, is also used to grow everything wegen. But water is no isolated sub- with blood composed of up to 90% eat. If we want to live in health andstance, as it possesses a multitude water, together with many other happiness, then the living entity –of characteristics according to the animals and creatures, to survive a water – should be highly reveredmedium or the organism in which it relatively large range of external and the most sensitive care shouldresides and moves. temperature fluctuation and still be taken of it.” (Callum Coats) maintain our own internal bodyAs a molecule, water has an extra- temperature. Pure accident, so we Here at ZEGG, our weed bed waterordinary capacity: it can combine are told, or is it by clever, purification system, with awith more elements and com- symbiotic design? If the blood in capacity adequate for 300pounds than any other molecule. our bodies had a lower specific inhabitants, has been workingThis is why it is sometimes descri- heat, it would mean that in hot since 1992. The water we drawbed as the universal solvent. Water weather it would heat up much from the Earth for our needs isbehaves in a way which is funda- more rapidly to the point where we cleaned and given back to thementally different from other li- would start to decompose , or it natural cycle. After it hasquids. While all fluids become den- would freeze solid, if exposure was nourished, washed and rejuvenatedser with cooling, water does so to the extreme cold.” (Callum us, it seeps back into the groundonly down to +4° Celsius (39.2 Coats) and is returned to the groundwater.Fahrenheit). Below this temperatu-re it once more expands. This is the In contrast to a seepage spring, true In the times of company-domina-so-called “anomaly point”, which spring water has a water ted globalisation, in which water isis decisive in terms of its potency temperature of +4°C. Born in the degraded from being a basicand has a major influence on its cool, diffuse forest light, water human need and a right to a merequality. At +4°C water has its grea- begins its long, life-supporting commodity, access to good water istest density, 0.99996 grams per cu- cycle as a living and translucent increasingly important. We insistbic centimetre, and is virtually in- stream. Naturally flowing water on our right to keep our own watercompressible. always has a tendency to flow in sources, and we try to convince the darkness or in the diffuse light of community of Belzig not to followAt 4°C, water also has its highest forests, avoiding the detrimental the example of many other largerenergy content and is in what effect of direct sunlight. With German cities, which is to sell theirSchauberger called a state of `in- increasing warmth and light, water water works to internationaldifference . In other words, when in gradually loses its vitality, its companies, at cut-throat-condi-its highest natural condition of he- health and its capacity to enliven tions, and then lease it back fromalth, vitality and life-giving poten- and animate its surroundings as it these same companies, which intial, water is in an internal state of passes. As it by and by transforms turn use this water as a speculativeenergetic equilibrium and in a ther- itself into a broad river, it becomes value, - all in order to save taxes onmally and specially neutral conditi- more and more turbid. But even a short-term basis. A sensitive andon. this cloudiness still serves an caring treatment of water is important purpose: it protects the important to us.“A further life-giving property of deeper strata of the river from toowater is its high specific heat and much heat and light from the Sun. We do use rain water occasionally,thermal conductivity, namely the for watering plants during dryability and the rate at which it “Water is the issue most crucial to spells. Its collection and use in ourabsorbs and releases heat. This all life on Earth. Water, flowing as existing building would demand ameans that a large input or sap, lymph or blood, is the large and costly re-construction;extraction of heat energy is life-blood of our planet, the for new buildings we plan to userequired to bring about a change in life-giving fluid of all organisms, rain water for flushing, wateringdensity and temperature. The plants, animals and human beings and laundry purposes.20 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • View at the high growth of the purification plant. Waste Water Treatment and Composter n essential prerequisite for the 3m². Using newer methods weA ecological use of water is a de-centralized system for the purifica- have been able to reduce this requi- rement to only 1m² per person. faecal sludge. They are left to rot, and after about two years may be used to improve the soil as valuab-tion of waste water to a quality le composting material. The nu-which allows it to be reused . The first step is one of mechanical trient cycle is closed. purification and takes place in aSince 1992 all waste water from composter. This is an alternative to The resulting pre-purified wasteZEGG is purified in a treatment the traditional septic tank. In the water is then channelled into a ductplant which uses natural processes. composter the solid matter is filte- for collection and distribution.Minimal technical effort is needed. red out, and the waste water is From here it is brought to the surfa-It needs only 900m² of space and is pre-treated mechanically and, in ce at intervals, and spread on theable to clean the overall waste wa- part, also biologically. Contrary to filter beds of the waste water treat-ter produced by 300 inhabitants. common 3-chamber-pits, this pro- ment plant. Purification takes placeThe required space per person is cess does not turn the solids into in the planted soil filter, which is Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 21
    • Waste Water Treatment Plantvertically permeated. Part of the The output water quality is tested at project. The aim is to optimize itswater flows back into the duct and regular intervals. A very high output levels and reach a qualitygoes through the plant again. This quality is achieved throughout the which would allow widespreadimproves the purification perfor- year, even during the coldest reuse of the water. The water canmance and makes the inclusion of a period when temperatures are for be used to water forest gardens andbuffer tank redundant. The pollu- more than 4 weeks below -15°C. landscapes.tants in the water are broken down The plant reduces concentrationsby micro-organisms living in the of pollutants to levels consistently The research project is part of asoil filter. During the entire pro- below German concentration combinated endeavour of Germancess, the waste water is rich in oxy- limits. The unit at ZEGG is a model and Mexican research facilitiesgen (4-6mg/lO2). This aerobic en- for small communities and for and companies. The projectvironment enhances the cleaning households which are outside of includes different climatic regionspower of the plant and assures ne- towns and off the grid. It and different research questions. Itarly odourless functioning. demonstrates a process for waste is hoped that the results will be water purification which utilizes applicable to a wide range ofIn the treatment plant at ZEGG we well the regenerative powers of climates and regions.mainly used plants producing a lot nature. These units also enrich andof biomass, which can be harvested beautify the environment by Information: ÖKOTEC GmbH,regularly. The plants used are: Ja- adding a wetland biotope, offering Rosa -Luxemburg-Str. 89panese silver grass or Eulalia (Mis- valuable living space to many D - 14806 Belzigcanthus sinesis), a local type of species of plants and animals. Phone: +49-33841/3889–0common reed (Phragmites pseudo- fax: +49-33841/3889-10donax), a local type of willow (Sa- Since November 2000 our E-mail: info@oekotec-gmbh.comlix viminalis “Mötzow”) and chi- purification plant has been the http://www.oekotec-gmbh.com/de.nese poplar (Populus simonii). subject of a three year research Composter22 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Natural Pond Clarification t ZEGG there is a fire fighting proven our water to be of excellent During the summer of 2003, we deci-A water basin containing about 420 m3 of water. We started to super- quality and hygienically in perfect con- dition. ded to continue the efforts already un- der way to clean and maintain the pondficially filter the water through a small with a natural chain of living organ-soil filter planted with aquatic plants, Since 2000, we have also introduced isms. We siphoned off a portion of thepumping the filtered water back into Red-eye Rudd (Scardinius erythropht- mud and spread part of the 2.30m deepthe pond. This soil filter offers a habitat halmus) and Carp (Cyprinus carpio), section of the pond with a layer of was-to many natural pond-dwellers, thereby which so far have thrived without any hed sand 10 cm deep. This offers astrengthening the self purification po- supplementary feeding. Rudd mainly good habitat for the water-filteringwers of the basin. We intend to promo- live off mosquito larvae and insects Goose Barnacle (Anodonta cygnea)te a close-to-natural pond-biotope. which fall into the pond, whereas carp and other sludge-digesting organisms. mainly feed on algae and decomposing A fully matured Goose Barnacle,The method of purification just descri- leaves and grass which settle on the which is an endangered species in Ger-bed is insufficient during the summer, bottom. The Rudd are spawning at a many, can filter up to 2000 litres of wa-when hot temperatures draw residents high rate, so that we have decided to ter per day. They achieve a size of up toand guests to bathe and refresh them- bring in a perch (Perca fluviatilis) in or- 25cm and live for up to 300 years, pla-selves in the pool. As we do not want to der to control their proliferation. cing them among the most long liveduse chlorine, we set out to research ef- animals on this planet. They feed offficient, environmentally friendly me- During the fourth year of our experi- fine floating algae and, in order to buildthods of purifying the water. This se- ment – of no longer exchanging the wa- their shells, draw lime from the water,arch led us to discover the various be- ter - is has become evident that while which in turn lowers the water’s ph-va-neficial effects of the so-called “Effec- the bacteriological condition of the wa- lue. They live in a symbiotic relations-tive Micro-Organisms” (EM) (see ter is excellent, the visual aspects are hip with a small fish, the Bitterlingbox). less than satisfactory. The side walls (Rhodeus sericeus amarus Bloch); are covered with algae, there are lots of each relies on the other for procreation.During our first two years here, we had tiny algae floating in the water and the There is another type of mollusc whichto exchange the water twice a year, as water itself appears murky. The reason can filter water. It is the Painter’s orso much algae were growing due to the is an increased ph-value connected Freshwater mussel (Unio pictorum),many nutrients in the water. At hot with a heightened nutrient content due which is also red-listed. We also intro-spells the ecosystem collapsed at inter- to organic matter introduced into the duced Gudgeon (Gobio gobio), a fishvals. Since 2000, we have employed water. On the bottom of the pond, for feeding on organisms living in theEM in our fire pond and we get a pro- example, a layer of leaves dropped by sludge. The employment of these mol-fessional lab to test the water quality the surrounding trees sometimes be- luscs could help to create a new habitattowards the end of the summer - the gins to ferment during hot spells in the for these animals, and could serve as atime when ponds are normally most summer. basis for their re-introduction into theirpolluted. Every year, these tests have natural biotopes. Effective Micro-Organisms The vertical, side walls of the pond are “grazed” by the River snail (Viviparus viviparus) and Ramshorn snail (Pla- he idea of EM was originally de- med that inoculations of the soil or of a norbis corneus). In one corner of the T veloped by a japanese man Pro- fessor Higa. It consists of a mixtu- plant system with EM raises general soil and plant vitality, as well as im- basin, we plan to install floating beds of water plants to clean the water with re of cultures of micro-organisms na- proving the yield and the quality of their root systems, offer shelter to turally occurring in the environment, crops. EM is completely harmless to spawn and young fish and provide ve- which are used as an inoculation in or- humans, and can also be used external- getable matter to the carp. der to raise the micro-bacterial variety ly for treating skin diseases and inter- in soils and plants. Higa discovered nally for gastro-intestinal complaints. In 2004 the water quality is still good micro-organisms which can co-exist in and we have hundreds of young fish mixed cultures and which are physio- Source of supply for EMs: EMIKO, and even quite a number of Crested logically compatible. When these cul- Reinhard Mau, Gebr.-Burch-Str..9, newts (Triturus cristatus). We have ta- tures are introduced into a natural en- D-53881 Euskirchen-Kirchheim, pho- ken out several hundred small fish and vironment, synergetic effects are acti- ne: +49-2255/950733, fax: quite a number of big ones and brought vated, multiplying the individual bene- +49-2255/950734, or: Gönna Pezely, them to other ponds and lakes in the ficial impacts. EM contains no synthe- Axstetter Str. 1, D-27628 Bramstedt, area. Some of these are on the endange- tic substances. Research in Japan and phone: +49-4746/6998 red species list. in other parts of the world has confir- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 23
    • hit turns into earth which is put S shit turn into 50,000 grams of Compost on the roof. It becomes lawn, forest, garden garbage - poison. Humus toilet: 1,000 grams of Shit turns into gold. It is satisfying shit turn into 50 grams of raw Toilets to grow richer and richer in this way. material - gold. Now why should I give away The cycle is closed. There is no my shit and poison the environ- undertwasser’s explicit state- more waste, the environment reco- ment with it?H ment is today widely acceptedas the truth: the water-closet with vers. Every time I use an English water closet, it gnaws at my cons- I prefer to keep it for myself andwater-borne sewage system has cience, just like when I travel by convert it into gold.turned out to be an ecological dead car or by plane.end, in more ways than one. A very In a humus toilet, shit and kit-valuable raw material for fertili- Water closets are one of the many chen scraps turn into a valuablesing is withdrawn from the natural dangerous dead ends of our civili- resource, only 5% of the origi-cycle, so that nutrient-deficient sation: such a waste of pure drin- nal volume and weight.soils need to be up-graded with king water, just to flush away a bitchemical compounds. One third of of shit and urine. 1kg of a valuable No waste of water, no canalisa-our precious drinking water is used substance is turned into 50 litres of tion, no pathogenic germs, noas the means of conveyance for our toxic waste, polluting the ground- spreading of epidemics, no gar-excrement - approximately 20,000 water, wells, rivers, lakes and oce- bage, no garbage collection, nolitres per person per year. The dilu- ans. latrines, no cesspools, no manu-ted faeces can no longer be used on re transports, no chemicals, che-fields and in gardens. If you consi- Ruthless exploitation is multiplied ap, less waste water treatment,der the cost of a sewerage network as a vital substance is wasted. The odourless, reusable as humus”and a central waste water treatment land is impoverished. Artificialplant, which are operated at ever fertilisers are no adequate substitu- (Friedensreich Hundertwasser,higher expense, with extremely te. Water closet: 1,000 grams of from the shit Manifesto, Viennacomplex technology requiring 1975)more and more energy and chemi-cals, it is possible to speak also of and the eggs of parasitic worms temperatures. The latter may bean economic cul-de-sac. In many (Helminthic ova). The duration of supported by aerobic-thermophiliccases, compost toilets are a real al- the decomposition process, its tem- composting, which reaches tempe-ternative. The great advantage they perature, the ph-value and ratures of up to 70%, together withoffer is their non-reliance on drin- UV-radiation are the most impor- other organic waste. In most sys-king water, but in addition human tant factors for killing off gast- tems, after one or two years of sto-excrement with its inherent nu- ro-intestinal pathogens. In order to rage the resulting compost is safetrients -mainly phosphorus and ni- result in a hygienically safe pro- to use as fertiliser.trogen - is re-introduced into the duct, faeces need to be either keptnutrient cycle. for a longer period at normal tem- At ZEGG, we constructed our dry peratures before deployment , or toilet in 1995. We selected a conti-There are two main systems of dry stored for a shorter period at high nuous system, similar to thetoilets: aerobic and anaerobic com-posting. We have decided on aero-bic decomposition - decompositionwith a supply of air/oxygen. This isbasically the same composting pro-cess as takes place in garden soil orin a forest without any human assi-stance. The process requires thepresence of oxygen, and is for themost part odourless. Anaerobic de-composition (in which air/oxygenis excluded) is actually a putrefac-tion (rotting) process, releasingsmelly gases which can be used asbiogas. Faeces can contain viruses Compost toilet at ZEGG.24 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • well-known Swedish Clivius Mul-trum. For quite a number of yearsnow, it has been transforming largequantities of faeces, kitchen scrapsand cardboard containers into asmall amount of high-quality com-post which we use to fertilise fruittrees. The toilet requires very littlemaintenance. During periods of in-tense usage we sometimes addwood-ash from our wood burner orstone meal in order to control theph-value. Sometimes we use effec-tive micro-organisms (EM) to pro-mote the bacterial conversion pro-cess. The main job is done by fun-gi, micro-organisms and worms.There is no need to turn over thepile at any time. Faeces with theirhigh nitrogen content are wellcomplemented by paper board andwood filings as litter, and kitchen Water purification plant at the time of construction 1992.scraps with their high content ofpotassium.Our toilet is located in the woodsand is sealed off from the ground-water by a layer of water-proof Energy Generation from Renewableconcrete made with a fine aggrega-te. Any excess of seepage water isselectively used as fertiliser. Theupper portion of the toilet is con- Resourcesstructed of wood and cob. Due toits scenic location and its lack ofodour our dry toilet is popular. When we took on the property in 20% of the burden engendered by 1991, the ramshackle and extreme- the previously used brown coal ly polluting heating system (brown central heating boilers. The ashes coal heating plant) was converted. are uncontaminated and are used as Heat generation at the ZEGG is fertiliser in our gardens. now done by an automatic wood chip combustion plant, burning The plant can also be run on bio- wood from our forests. mass, such as elephant grass or ot- her plants from the waste water pu- By using this renewable fuel re- rification system. Since the sum- source, the CO2-cycle is closed, mer of 2002, ZEGG has been coo- that is, the neighbouring forests ab- perating with an engineering office sorb the exhaust generated and to introduce CO2-neutral producti- transform it into oxygen. The hea- on of electricity also. ting station has an output capacity of 875 kW. By employing a heat re- One idea that cropped up during covery system, and due to ener- the process of deciding how to goVertical cut through the body of gy-technical optimisation-measu- forward, was the installation of athe compost toilet. res, the emission of pollutants and new block-type thermal power sta- the environmental burden caused tion based on wood combustion. by the new system amounts to only But as small units using this tech- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 25
    • nology are not yet technically ma-ture we decided to wait before in- Cars run onvesting in a co-generation plant.In order to decrease CO2 emissionsand to cut down on energy-related Vegetable Oilexpenses it seemed most sensibleto invest in heat insulation to save100 to 130 KW. These recommen-dations are being put into practice .As the annual heating requirementis above 70kW, extensive savingsare possible through thermal insu-lation and window and façade im-provements. Some of the cars run by its higher viscosity,. When ZEGG have been converted operating such a vehicle du-To decrease the demand for heating to run on vegetable oil. Gene- ring winter time, it is necessa-is always the best measure to save rally, this can be done on ne- ry to pre-heat the oil. The tankenergy costs, as this energy does arly all diesel engines, which heating system is fed by thenot have to be produced in the first can then be run on rapeseed, cooling circuit of the motor.place. sunflower, soy, corn or any For cold starts, an additional other unprocessed oil. small diesel tank, which canAlso in the planning stage, is a peak be disconnected by a manualload regulator to monitor the de- Vegetable oil is not to be con- switch after 2 to 4km, is fittedmand for electric energy. This will fused with Bio Diesel. Bio into the vehicle’s boot.enable us to save up to 90% of the Diesel requires an energyelectricity costs. The peak load re- consuming process of trans- Conversion may be done bygulator will automatically shut esterification, rendering it a using serial parts only. Thedown electric appliances for short product of questionable eco- motor itself remains unchan-periods of time and at intervals, logical value. The much bet- ged. The TÜV (Germanwhenever peak load is achieved. ter lubricant effect of vege- Technical Inspection Agen- table oils actually benefits cy) controls whether this ad-In order to decentralise the warm many motors: motor perfor- ditional tank is properly in-water supply system, one building mance is raised and consump- stalled. If the car is decom-was equipped with a thermal solar tion is lowered, and there is missioned, nearly all partsplant several years ago, and two much less wear. Vegetable oil may be reused in other vehi-other large systems followed in cleans the fuel injectors and cles. Conversion is therefore2004. We also installed a small, the injection pump, thereby worthwhile - even for older60kW woodchip plant to provide raising combustion efficien- vehicles.warm water in summer. This cy. The sulphur emission isenables us to shut down the big reduced nearly to zero, and Even though conversion is re-plant during the summer, giving it a the emission of soot particles latively easy to do, most aut-break from duty and giving us time and CO2 is decidedly lower. horised workshops have noto take care for it. Vegetable oil is an edible pro- experience, and tend to dis- duct and 100% biodegrada- courage any inquiries. Still,In fall of 2004 we will install 180 ble. Its high ignition point there are by now hundreds ofm² of photovoltaic panels on one makes it safe to store in large vehicles (including tractors,south facing roof, producing quantities, without any speci- trucks, passenger cars as wellaround 24 kW of electricity. al safety precautions. Vege- as ship diesel engines) suc- table oil is not subject to pe- cessfully using this technolo-Recapitulating, CO2 -emissions are troleum tax and is a renewa- gy. At ZEGG, we have beenbalanced by the employment of re- ble resource: driving with ve- operating 4 diesel-run vehi-newable resources. getable oil is therefore chea- cles with vegetable oil, fil- per and CO2-neutral. ling-up at our very own fillingInfo: ingenieure@andreas-schiller.com, station. By now, vegetable oilhttp://www.andreas-schiller.com . The only disadvantage of ve- is available even at some pub- getable oil is that it is less lic filling stations. suitable for cold starts due to26 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Building and Insulating with Plant Fibres paramount task at ZEGG isA the insulation of the existingbuildings, the conservation of tho- lumber mill. In our dry climatic conditions trees grow slowly, re- warding us with wood of excellent which is mostly produced under ecologically questionable and un- social conditions and is transportedse buildings and dealing with inhe- quality. The wood is simply waxed long distances.rited burdens, such as old roof or oiled with natural products; ifcoverings containing cement asbe- left otherwise untreated, wood na- For constructing new buildings westos called “Eternit”. Within our fi- turally protects itself with a we- rely on loam, wood and glass. Wenancial limits we are working our athering layer. aim to confine the use of cement toway from building to building. foundations and moisture-riddenEvery year we manage to replace Wood should not be in contact with areas. For interior renovations also,the cement asbestos on several humid ground, and will become da- we have started to use loam, as itroofs with harmless materials , and maged if sodden. However, if it can contributes to a pleasant interiorto improve heat insulation. dry off again after becoming wet, it climate. Due to its diffusion capa- can tolerate moisture without pro- city, slaked lime finery is a veryIn most cases we use cellulose fi- blems. good alternative to cement finerybres, made from old newspapers. for exteriors.These are blown into the roof and It is important to choose the rightother cavities. The fibre fluffs are kind of wood for the task. Our Many windows in our old buil-fireproofed with more or less newly constructed restaurant tab- dings were glazed only with singleharmless mineral salts, which at the les, which were treated only with panes of glass. As new windowssame time protect them from ani- natural wax, have been able to are very expensive, in many casesmals such as rodents. withstand extreme wear by many we chose simply to fit a second people and children, with only a pane of glass, which has considera-It is possible to insulate using few blemishes to show. For our ter- bly improved insulation efficiency.sheep wool, or rye, flax or hemp fi- race, we have refitted old lawn In 1997 we also decided no longerbres, but these materials are far chairs with black locust (Robinia to paint our window frames, asmore expensive. An inexpensive pseudoacacia). Black locust has paint doesn’t last anyway, and italternative is offered by light loam qualities comparable to teak , doesn’t really comply with ourmixed with wood chips. This is ecological standards. Everyaffordable and offers excellent Insulation with woodchips in clay. year we manage to remove thethermal insulation and humidi- old varnish from quite a num-ty regulation. Walls are rende- ber of window frames and to oilred with loam plaster inside them, - with a lot of help fromand out. If ready-made loam fi- our friends! This type of treat-nery is used, working time may ment is quite time-consuming,be reduced considerably but but it is very simple and in thethe environmental footprint is long term it saves a lot of time.higher due to transport. Theseready-made materials are avai- We employed natural stones tolable at alternative DIY stores. lay new paths, or used stones from the Fläming region, whichFor all types of work on the in- are round gravel stones, in a pa-terior or exterior of buildings ving technique widely used inwe use untreated wood obtai- this area. This paving techniquened, as far as possible, from our is actually an old art, which weregion, or harvested in our own hope to keep alive in the Flä-woods. The latter is cut and ming region.prepared by our own mobile 27
    • Building with EarthOne of the Mandala Pavillons at ZEGG with various artistic ways of building with loam. uilding with loam is an ancientB and time-tested technique withmany facets. Due to the heightened by excellent heat storage capacities and insulation (if combined with organic materials). Loam can be must be locked away, as it cannot be ecologically disposed of, or de- contaminated. On a demolishedawareness of environmental poi- used in baths in order to regulate loam building, on the other hand,sons in our direct vicinity, i.e. in humidity, as well as in green hou- one can safely grow vegetables, orour houses, the technique is expe- ses as an energy-storage agent. reuse the loam for creating a newriencing a well-deserved renais- Loam assures an air moisture of structure. Loam can be used insance. 50%, which is felt as very agreeab- combination with other natural ma- le by humans. If the atmosphere terials such as natural stone, woodLoam, as used in building, consists suddenly becomes more humid, it or straw. But increasingly it is em-mainly of clay minerals mixed with absorbs the excess humidity; if the ployed in combination with glassvarious grain sizes(very fine up to atmosphere becomes drier, the and steel, demonstrating its univer-1mmØ) of sand. Loam is perfectly loam releases water vapour into the sal applicability and its positivesuited to satisfy the requirements room. contribution to a pleasant room cli-of a gentler treatment of nature, and mate. Loam buildings may lookfor energy conservation: it is local- The demolition of modern, well in- pleasantly nostalgic, but the designly accessible, needs little energy sulated buildings leaves behind lar- can also be airy and artistic, andfor processing, and is characterised ge piles of hazardous waste, which28 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • contribute to an enhancement ofmodern architecture.Loam is cheap and ecological butquite time-consuming to use. No-wadays, new processing technolo- Living Buildings with Willows andgies are applied to loam, making iteasy to use and more competitivewith other prefabricated buildingmaterials.As part of a number of loam buil-ding workshops, several loam buil-dings have been constructed on the other TreesZEGG grounds since 1998. It hasalso been used with great successto renovate existing buildings. Thecommunal dining room, a seminarroom and several residential roomshave received a loam refinery. Itliving trees.each build plan- is possible to ted close to They are with other, and Belzig, two outdoor showers were screened from view with fences made of willowSome were painted with li- within a number of years, cuttings. They become veryme-casein paint, others left in the they grow together to compo- dense in springtime and offercolours of the earth ranging fromwhite through all shades of yellow, se a closed wall, with “wind- privacy. The run-off from theocre, orange and red. The walls of ows and doors”; a single cold water showers watersour Mandala-Pavillons were used living organism, able to shel- them and their root systemsas a model for different techniques, ter a human being in its purify the used water.and were built using a variety of midst. Many kinds of treesmethods - rammed earth, loaves, are suitable. Willows (Salix) In order to set up such ar-cob, woodfibre-reinforced light- grow fastest, but they also bours or fences, it suffices toweight loam, loam bricks, infill have the lowest life expec- stick the willow cuttingswith an earth-and-straw mixture, tancy. Willows also thrive 15-20 centimetres deep intoand finished using different rende- when planted as cuttings.” the ground, just before shootsrings etc. However, all is connectedby a harmonising, overall design. (Kirsch “Naturbauten aus le- appear, and to water them re- benden Gehölzen”) gularly. Willows require aThe outdoor dry toilet has humid location, and need tohalf-timbered walls , which are fil- In March 1996, the first wil- be watered during dry spells.led in with light loam. In a second low-dome was planted at Maple is also very suitabledining room, the ceiling was exe- ZEGG, right next to our pub. for easy-to-care-for, livingcuted as a dome, both for reasons of The willows were harvested fences which were commondesign as well as to improve the from our waste water recy- in parts of the UK. They canroom climate. A wood-fired bread cling system. During the become very dense afteroven was built from loam bricks, summer, this living building some years.and next to our “village square”,there is now a well-insulated and is an attractive, shady arbour.beautifully decorated toilet made Due to the low precipitationfrom loam and wood. One seminar The willow shoots can be in our climatic zone, livingroom and a big public bath were braided into the existing buildings have been rare. Ho-plastered with several layers of body, or can be bolted to ot- wever in England, Franceloam rendering, setting a new stan- her stems: the cambium inju- and particularly in Germany,dard for ZEGG renovations. ry and the fixture will cause quite a number of living buil- them to join together perma- dings, grown from a wide va-Every year we organise loam buil- nently. riety of trees, have been crea-ding workshops, during which it is ted since the beginning of thepossible to learn this exciting buil-ding method from experienced tea- In 1997, in cooperation with last century.chers and get hands-on experience. the adult education centre of Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 29
    • Mandala PavillonsMandala Pavillons are circular the centre circle, the number or thebuildings with a self-supporting strength of spars, or the size of theroof, in which all rafters carry the opening in the middle) has an ef-same proportion of the weight. fect on the entire system. In a wayTherefore the load is not passed on this type of construction illustratesto the posts, but is spiralled out- metaphorically some basic aspectsward in an infinite circle. The shear of communal life.rate is negligible, and there is nonecessity for a peripheral tie beam The first three circular lodges withto support the posts from being Mandala-type roof construction atpushed out radially by the rafters. ZEGG were built in 1998. The ideaThe load occurring at any point of caught on, so that now there arethe roof is transferred to all of the many of these lodges all over Ger-rafters of the construction in agree- many and Switzerland. Later on,ment with a dynamic principle. adobe walls were added in order to screen the interiors from view andWith this type of construction, it is as protection against the wind. Inpossible to build self-supporting 2000, we constructed a twin Man-roofs with diameters ranging from dala-lodge, built entirely from3 to 20 metres. round timber harvested on our land. The two interlocking roofs support each other via a connecting rafter. The load-bearing posts of the lodges are embedded 1 metre deep into the sand. A foundati- on is not required for this type of building. The logs were cut on days said to enhance their durability by a traditional far- mers´ almanac. Additionally, the wood is protected by the soot produced by the campfi- res lit in the lodges, and by the adobe and its humidity-regula-Roof construction ting property. During the sum- mer, the lodges serve as kit-The system is very variable in chens for the tent camps.terms of the number of rafters nee-ded; at least three are necessary, In Great Britain, Graham Brownbut any larger number is possible has founded a company and has pa-taking into consideration the tented this type of building. Gra-strength of the rafters and their sha- ham Brown, Out of nowhere, Eas-pe. ter Tearie, Darnaway, Rorres Mor- ray, IV 36 Ost, phone/fax:These Mandala roofs are complex 01309-641650, e-mail:structures, in which each rafter is oon@aol.com, http://www.outof-equally important for the stability nowhere.com.of the whole. Every little modifica-tion, such as at the support point in30 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 31
    • Triangular Huts from Auroville about 1.20 metres above the ground. These huts need no foundation: the construction simply sits on slabs of stone. The design was developed in Auroville - a large, spiritual community in India - and was intended to provide cheap and simple housing for tropical climates. The huts were roo- fed with the traditional cove- ring of palm leafs. In tropical regions, the huts are ideal as, like a hammock, they are sur- rounded by air and therefore pleasantly cool. During the monsoon periods they are high enough above the ground to escape flooding. Since 1998, we have built two such huts on our grounds. The basic construction is made of black locust (robinia pseudoa- cacia) grown here on our land. Adapting to our climatic con- ditions, one of the roofs is co- vered with wood, while the ot- her is protected by tar pastebo- ard shingles. The huts are used for different kinds of meditati- on. The second actually repre- Triangular hut at ZEGG. sents an improved and refined version of the first: it has a he- xagonal roof projecting out- he construction of these is that of the tetrahedron, with T huts is based on the equi- lateral triangle. The triangle is sides measuring about six me- tres. These larger triangles are ward so as to offer protection to the side flaps. Due to its lo- wer floor level it is also more the most stable form; equilate- bisected by smaller ones with spacious. It is covered with ral triangles can be used to side lengths of three metres. wood. construct domes or huts like Half of this again is the height the following. The basic shape of the floor, which is located32 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • Epilogue: There is no time to waste allum Coats writes: „We areC (...) forced to admit that ourpresent ideals and value systems disasters´, blaming Nature for what we ourselves are responsible. For there can be little doubt that we are on needs to be answered on all le- vels, before we can hope for a pea- ceful and more just world.have brought us no utopia. While the true instigators of these cata-there have been tremendous impro- clysmic episodes. These are not From my point of view, we need tovements in many areas of human `Acts of God´, but misdeeds direct- be committed and strong and act onendeavour and compassionate un- ly attributable to the senseless acti- three levels:derstanding, despite the constant vities of humankind.“promises of recovery, the humanworld is still in constant disarray,economically and socially, and fullof conflict. Intolerance is rife withman against woman, sect againstsect, nation against nation, whilethe rich are comfortably bufferedagainst increasing poverty and pri-vation with full bellies just as bul-bous as the bloated bellies of thestarving.Falsity is heaped on falsity and onedeception after another is foistedon us by those who seek to regulateevents for their own benefit, whilecontrolling every aspect of our li-ves by immersing us in irredeema-ble debt.We are not alone in our travails,however, for this state of strife, dis-cord and spiritual instability is alsomirrored in an increasingly disea-sed and sickening Nature who, inher present state of fever shiversbetween record heat and record Glabal reforestation is necessary for the support of life on earth.cold. Mother Earth is now seeking,with all the forces at her command,to re-establish her own equilibrium We need to act fast, if we want to * We need to massively reforest theand health, thrashing about with in- avert the worst. Some steps to- Earth. The reasons have alreadycreasingly violent storms, sweating wards a vision of a globally sustai- been explored within this booklet.in catastrophic floods, parching nable life, can be found in the bookwith devastating droughts, writ- „Subcoma“ by the Swiss Author * We need places at which workhing in all-consuming conflagra- P.M. (see bibliography). What I and research is done on the consci-tions and shivering in rending miss there is a stronger awareness ous dissolution of the potential forearthquakes. Beset from all sides of the human factor. Why have our violence within human beings.by these awesome events, we have ancestors begun to destroy thethe effrontery to call them `natural Earth and themselves? This questi- Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 33
    • * We need people and organisa- ce how few material goods we ac- To me the recent changes in thetions to apply leverage at the cen- tually need for our own happiness area surrounding ZEGG, the areatres of power, where wars are plan- (key idea: reduction of substitute of Hoher Fläming, show a path intoned and prepared. An example of gratifications) That´s why I have li- the future in the sense of regionalthis type of activity is the work ved in a communal setting for more organization and regional provisi-done by innumerable NGOs. Anot- than 20 years. on of basic needs such as housing,her important task is the distributi- water, energy and heating - andon of reliable information. Since the war on Afghanistan, at maybe even of some of the the very latest, we know that war is non-material needs such as securi-Commitment to work on any of by no means the last resort of poli- ty, friendship, contact and love.these levels is essential for our col- tics, but is an integral part of a stra- This could be a place where a kindlective survival. Those working tegy to enforce this politics. Most of regional self-sufficiency couldany of these spheres should also be wars are waged by aggressive, neo- be implemented, which is so ur-aware of what is being done by ot- liberal nations to enforce mar- gently needed for future genera-hers, and should be willing to coo- ket-conforming policies. tions and which at the same time isperate with them. in interaction with the outside. Wars, and their preparation in peo-Reforestation needs to take place ple’s minds rely on this human pro-over the entire planet. For me, pensity for violence. So if we workcommunity and communal ways of on overcoming this we are on aliving are the keys to the second le- good, long term path to deprivevel, the overcoming of humanity’s violence and war of their base. But Achim Ecker, 45, has been apropensity for violence. Communi- we should not forget that politics ZEGG resident ever since it wasties are where people may knows many ways to create a threa- founded in 1991. Previously, he`straighten out´ and, even more im- tening atmosphere and thereby had lived in various preparatoryportantly, where children can grow bolster the propensity for violence. communal projects for many ye-up free and unbroken. This means that it is necessary to ars. At ZEGG, he works as the act on both levels at the same time: resident ecologist and keeps de-Another central topic, which can the long-term dissolution of violen- lighting the community by plan-and must be addressed in commu- ce within ourselves, and resistance ting beautiful shrubs and trees.nal forms of living, is fear. We can against the political po- His vision of a locally adaptedonly act non-violently if we are wers-that-be. permaculture is nurtured by hisaware of and in charge of our own awareness of the natural pro-fear. Fear only breeds violence and The war on Iraq totally violated the cesses occurring on the ZEGGpropensity for violence. People law of nations. It had been decided grounds.who have not yet faced their own on long before in line with mainlyangst are easy to control and to do- US-American desires for hegemo-minate. Their unconscious fears ny and was justified with many liesmakes them easily manipulated that now do not count any more.into submission to criminal re- The impressive world-wide pro-gimes and orders. “Fear needs to be tests against it were seen by manyerased from the face of the Earth“, as a light at the end of a tunnel. It isas Mikhail Gorbachev said before my hope that the anti war proteststhe Berlin Wall fell. develop into positive actions and promote a new way of life. ThisThere are many more reasons for movement’s only chance of longe-this propensity for violence, all of vity and to contribute to more glo-which need to be taken into consi- bal equity, peace, sustainabilityderation; to discuss them all here and trust, is if protest can be turned into compassion, and if the questi- Additionally, he works as awould be go totally beyond the sco- on of a different way of life is rai- FORUM facilitator and grouppe of this booklet. ZEGG is one of sed; a way of life in which war can leader in the human growththose places where the human po- play no part. This work begins in area. His political commitmenttential for violence can be dealt all our relationships and in our in different parts of the worldwith and gradually overcome. every-day lives, when we refuse to strenghtened his realization that buy what is offered by the ruling it is important for our survival toOn an ecological level, many re- powers – their goods or, as Arund- create autonomus, regionalsources could be conserved, and hati Roy said, their visions, con- structures that are both sociallyoverall consumption could be lo- cepts or ideas. and ecologically sustainable.wered, if we could again experien-34 Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community
    • What is ZEGG? grounds. It also runs the seminar and conference business from which, along with the rents, most of ZEGG’s income is generated. All ZEGG members do voluntaryThe acronym ZEGG stands for mainly, the community shares its work at the Conferences andZentrum für Experimentelle Ge- life with many guests and a wealth Camps in order to generate a com-sellschaftsgestaltung (Centre for of seminars and conferences take mon income.Experimental Cultural Design). place. This is seen by the peopleThe centre was initiated in 1991, who live at ZEGG as a political Companies and residents are indi-after many years of preparation by task: to freely share their ideas and vidually responsible for their fi-a group of committed individuals. experience, while at the same time nancial needs. Some residents areIts origins go back to 1978 in the being open to the outside for inspi- employed by ZEGG Ltd.; otherssouth of Germany. It is located 80 ration and exchange. In winter, the work free-lance or run their ownkilometres south-west of Berlin, on community turns its focus inwards businesses located within the15 hectares of land. The objective and concentrates mainly on gro- ZEGG grounds or elsewhere.was - and still is - to create an inter- wing together, on deepening its in-national meeting and research cen- ternal communication, on develo- The community gathers together intre, at which alternative models for ping itsshared vision and on vari- a multitude of forms for various ac-socially and ecologically sustaina- ous other topics of research. tivities and purposes - at “Sundayble ways of life can be developed. Matinees” for mental or spiritualAdditionally, ZEGG has turned out The community has organised its inspiration, at the “Plenary” for ex-to be a very diverse cultural centre, work into separate departments re- changing information and makinga meeting place for the entire regi- sponsible for the kitchen, conferen- decisions, for seasonal festivities,on and a networking centre for ce organisation, childcare, garden, music, and art events, for dancing,communities and people commit- construction work and landsca- sauna, and philosophical excur-ted to peace, ecology and the se- ping. To a large extent, these de- sions, shared kitchen and mealsarch for solutions for human co- partments operate independently and for working together. A mostexistence. of each other. Decisions relevant to important form of meeting each ot- the entire community are prepared her is the Forum - a ritualised andToday, the community comprises by a “council of 13" - a panel in highly creative form of communi-80 adults and children, and has un- which all of the separate depart- cation practised by our community.dergone many changes: from an ments are represented. The recom- The Forum provides a space inoriginally very homogeneous, pio- mendations of this council are con- which thoughts, emotions and mo-neering group to a network of peo- sidered approved if no other mem- tivations may be shown and shared.ple engaged in a wide range of in- ber of the community disagrees, or It promotes transparency in the are-itiatives, spiritually and politically if they are passed by the Plenary - as of love and relationship, and in-active groups, enterprises, artists the assembly of all community sight into the power and decisi-and lateral thinkers. What they all members. The Plenary is the hig- on-making structures presently atshare is the desire to find new soci- hest decision making organ of the work. For us, the Forum is an ess-al forms for intimacy and love free community and it makes decisions ential component in the develop-of jealousy and fear and for the only when consensus is achieved. ment of self-knowledge, and inrealization of inner and outer pea- creating trust and confidence in ace. To acquire its land and buildings community. the community set up a registeredAt the core is an intentional com- company - ZEGG Ltd. This is the Contact: ZEGG,munity working to run the confe- legal entity which bought and owns Rosa-Luxemburg-Str. 89,rence centre and to foster commu- the grounds and buildings. ZEGG 14806 Belzignity life. These two goals determi- Ltd. then rents dwellings to the re- Phone: +49 -33841 - 59510ne how we use our land and how sidents, and rents accommodation email: empfang@zegg.dewe structure our year. In summer, to other enterprises located on the http:/www.zegg.de Sustainability and Ecology at the ZEGG Community 35
    • Literature: Compost-Toilets: Permaculture: Sustainability: One Straw Revolution, The Humanure Handbook, JC Lovelock, J. E.:Gaia: a New Masanobu Fukuoka, Rodale Jenkins, 1994 Look at Life on Earth", OUP, Jenkins Publishing, PO Box An Introduction to 607, Grove City, Pa 16127 Oxford, ISBN: 0192862189 Permaculture, Bill Mollison P.M.; Subcoma, ISBN The Toilet Papers, Sim Van Permaculture Designer´s der Ryn 3-907522-19-2 Manual, Bill Mollison The Composting Toilet System Forest, Trees: A Western Permaculture Book, Carol Steinfeld Thoma, Ludwig: Dich sah dich Manual, David Browned wachsen..., ISBN Gardening for the Future of the Building with Earth: 3-901727-00-0 Earth, Howard Shapiro Neues Bauen mit Lehm, Julius, Frits H.: Bäume und Anne-Louise Huber, 1997, Robert Hart, Forest Garden, Planeten, ISBN 3-7725-0843-X Ökobuchverlag, D-Staufen Paperback, 24 pages, 1991 Hageneder, Fred; Geist der Publisher: Inst.for Social Der Lehmbau, Richard Bäume, ISBN 3-89060-449-8 Inventions, ISBN: 0948826231 Niemeyer, 1946, Ökobuchverlag, D-Staufen Eggmann, Verena/ Steiner, Videos about Sepp Holzer, Bernd; Baumzeit, ISBN Masanobu Fukuoka etc: Lehmbaufibel, 3-85932-171-4 Müller/Frigutsch/Schultze, Crystal Lake Video, Dorfstr.19, 1947, Hochschule Weimar, Olof Alexandersson: Living D - 14806 Hagelberg, D-Weimar Water; Gill & Macmillan http://www.crystal-lake- (Gateway Books), Dublin, video.de Lehm-Fachwerk, Irland; 1982, ISBN Leszner/Stein, 1987, R. Müller 0-946551-57-X Effective GmbH D-Köln Microorganisms: Lehmbau-Handbuch, Minke, Callum Coats: Living Energies; For a Sustainable Agriculture Gill & Macmillan (Gateway 1994, Ökobuchverlag, and Environment, Dr. Teruo D-Staufen Books), Dublin, Irland; 1996, Higa, Dr. James F. Parr, ISBN 0-7171-3307-9; International Nature Farming Naturbaustoff Lehm, Schauberger, Viktor; Unsere Research Center, Atami, Japan, Schillberg/Knieriemen, 1993, Sinnlose Aubeit; ISBN 1994 AT-Verlag, CH-Aarau 3-902262-00-1 Lehmbau für Architekten und Ingenieure, Schneider/Schwimmann/Bruck ner, 1996, Werner-Verlag, D-Düsseldorf Living Buildings: Das Weidenbaubuch - Kalberer/Remann, AT Verlag, Switzerland 1999 Naturbauten aus lebenden Gehölzen - Kirsch, OLV, A-Xanten 1996 Ecovillages: Global Ecovillage Network-Europe (GEN-Europe); http://www.gen-europe.org Important information about coorperate globalization: GATSwatch: www.gatswatch.org36
    • New Energy Plan for ZEGGA new energy plan is being implemented by ZEGG GmbH after it decommissioned the old biomass heatingsystem which had served the community well for its first 20 years on the Bad Belzig site. The new plan is basedaround a new solar-assisted biomass heating plant with the following components: 240m² thermal solar plant a new woodchip storage hall a new woodchip-fired boiler with 500kW heat output a log-fired boiler with 350kW heat output 3 combined heat and power (cogeneration) plants, which have already been installed in the basement of the Restaurant building, delivering both heat and electricityIn addition to the CHPs, some ZEGG residents have joined forces to install and operate a photovoltaic solar powerplant with a rating of c. 29 kWp.This energy mix means that 86% of ZEGG’s thermal energy requirements will be met from regenerativesources.The combined heat and power plants produce electrical energy in a CO2-friendly way because the excess thermalenergy produced by the power generation is used directly for heating water and buildings. This leads to CO2savings of 66,000 kg per year!The combination of CHP and PV power plants meets more than 87% of ZEGG’s electricity demand.ZEGG GmbH is also completely renewing the site heating network. The deteriorating condition of the pipes hadled to heat losses of up to 15% (c. 150kW), which will now be reduced to around 4%. Reducing energy lossesthrough insulation and renewal is as important as building new plants and converting to regional regenerativesources: after all, the energy lost could be used to heat around 20 modern detached houses. For this reason, theexisting buildings on the ZEGG site are also being insulated. At the rate of one building per year, full thermalinstallation is applied, including work on the facades, windows, roofs and floors. The measures being taken toimplement the energy plan make significant construction and groundwork necessary around the site. In spite of this,the community is making every effort to ensure that its guests still have an enjoyable and comfortable stay, forexample, by building bridges over any open pipe trenches. However, we do apologise for any unavoidableinconveniences and thank you for your patience.These investments ensure that ZEGG GmbH continues to be a trailblazer when it comes to the use ofrenewable and regional energy sources. The previous woodchip-fired boiler had an output of 850kW, so it isbeing fully replaced by the new boilers. It had been visited by some 1000 people from universities and otherinstitutes of higher education as well as politicians since it was a pioneering example of its kind – the first woodchipboiler in its output class (over 100kW) to be installed in the German federal state of Brandenburg.The implementation of the new energy plan is being supported by the promotional bank of the state of BrandenburgILB and the German development bank KfW. The financing bank is the Berliner Volksbank.The consulting engineers are IG Schiller & Drobka mbH from Bad Belzig. They are active throughout Germany asspecialists for regenerative energy systems and water recycling systems.