Friday, February 12, 2010

Eco Hut at Makarora

This week is all about going to the outer edges of my district. Fully inspired and motivated by Glenorchy I now find myself heading off to Makarora to spend some time with those guys working on their Eco-Hut.

We had a couple of sessions last year, as regular readers will remember. We came up with some pretty cool ideas and also built some models to see how different shape structures determine their strength. During this process Ti came up with a fantastic idea of building a hut around the concrete pipe buried in the pile of earth around the back of the school.

As we all spoke about this hut idea, it seemed like the perfect solution to this design would be to find an old water tank to form most of the structure of the hut. Low and behold, the day I got back from Makarora, what had turned up in our yard at Wastebusters? Yip, two water tanks. With one of them now delivered to Makarora school the time has come to really shift up a gear.

We started the day with a good old reflection on what had been done last year. Once up to speed it was time to go and survey the tank and the proposed area.

We soon found out how big the tank was. Drawings were made and measurements were indicated.

As we were looking at the site we soon realised that if we were to get a really good idea about what the hut would look like it needed clearing. With all hands on deck this didn't take long at all. We were mostly clearing a few years worth of fallen leaves. Gorgeous material for the compost heap. And well done everyone for remembering about the brown and green layers we need to put in the compost for it to work well.

With the ground clear we could peg out some string to show the width of the tunnel through the earth and also how wide the water tank would be if it was placed at the end of the tunnel furthest away from the school.

Back inside the classroom we all worked on a list of actions that needed to be done. The first is to enlist some help from Gwilym. A local guy who has worked on designing a fair few sustainable structures and all round industrial design guru.

As we speak questions are being typed, photographs gathered and a package created to send to him. We want to know about strength of the structure, what we could do to make a good escape hatch, what could we support it with, how successful would it be to lay turf on top......
Great work everyone, this is going to be an amazing place to hang out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hey Simon,
3 of our schools in the Wellington region ended up doing the ecohut challenge. They have just had skype conferences and are awarding each other an award. Was just looking at your Makarora post. (being an ex Wanaka teacher and Southland native I know the place well !) How did they get on with completing their ecohut ? Did you have any other schools participate ? Would love to share them with my 1 school in the Wairarapa - the students who have worked on this challenge have got so much out of it and I am sure would love to see other projects. Cheers, Gill - Wairarapa Enviroschool Facilitator