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How to Buy a Lot or House Using Oasis Concepts
Comments on "Biomimicing" by Janine M. Banyus
Our New Educational Video of Oasis Systems


November 2008
December 2008


How to Buy a Lot or House Using Oasis Concepts
by Pouwel Gelderloos

    This summer I gave regular tours of The Oasis Hybrid House.  It didn’t matter that I live off the beaten path in rural Montana.  Crowds gathered every other week to see this green-smart home and how it interacts with nature to draw all its energy needs from the surrounding environment.

    One of the most frequent comments I hear from visitors was “I wish I had known about this house before I built (or bought) mine.” 

    If you are in the market for building your new house or buying an existing one, then here are some tips that might help you in your search.

Tips for buying or building a new home:

    If you are designing a new home, look for a site with good southern exposure.  Most passive solar is gained from the south, so you’ll be able to take maximum advantage of this free energy source.  But even if you’re buying an existing home, you’ll likely be able to add on a passive solar heat sunroom that will give you daily warmth and light.  It will also allow you to grow some of your own food and add ambiance to your abode.   (Blueprints are available through my website; see products button on the home page.)

    If you’re buying an existing house that doesn’t have a southern exposure, look for a south facing roof surface. You’ll be able to install solar electric panels and solar warm water panels here.

    Have room for a wind turbine?  Look for a lot where you can dedicate a piece of ground with an unobstructed radius of about 100 feet to place the turbine.

The benefits

    Designing your house with a no-cost heat source like the sun and thermal mass for heat storage like stone or concrete floors, can save you significant money during the lifespan of your house—up to $200 a month, sometimes more.  If you were to place that money in an interest accumulating savings account at just 4 %, you would earn $ 13,512. in only 5 years.  If you were to leave it in that account for 30 years, you would generate hundreds of thousands dollars.

How to become water independent

    Almost everyone in America takes water for granted. Yet it is the most important element for our survival and is critical in making our homes run smoothly and efficiently.

    Rather than relying on heavily processed city water, or deep wells that need electricity to run the pumps, think about collecting water from your roof.  You can store the water in underground barrels next to the house. Your storage capacity will depend on your needs and the amount of monthly rainfall in your area.  You’ll need to collect enough in the wet months to get you through the dry ones.  The Oasis Hybrid Home survives on just 19” of annual rainfall in rural Montana (Blueprints are available through this website; see products button on the home page.)  Once filtered, the rainwater I use tests cleaner than my well water from 200 feet below the surface.

    Because access to an independent potable water source is even more important than having an independent electrical system here are a few other tips on the subject...

  • Install a gray water recycling feature that cleans water from showers and taps and reuses it for toilet flushing.  This helps you greatly reduce the overall amount of fresh water you’ll have to collect.

  • Don’t flush your assets down the toilet.  Toilet flushing takes 40% of a household’s water requirements.  Install dual-flush toilets, which can save more than a gallon a flush, further cutting the amount of water you’ll need to collect. (Even Costco sells them now.)

 Comments on "Biomimicing" by Janine M. Benyus

     Many people visiting the Oasis Hybrid Home have a first ever encounter with the natural principles applied in the design but never-the-less recognize immidiately the harmonizing and connecting experience being in the home. This is because the house was designed to do just that; to let the environment in, to erase, as much as possible, the walls that separate us from nature!

     As I am looking for words to describe the change in thinking that was the foundation for the creation of the Oasis, I would be much better off to leave that to a marvelous woman scientist from Montana; Janine M. Benyus. She was first to coin the term "Biomimicry" and wrote a book with the same title, published by William Morrow and Company, Inc.

     After listening to me talking, a friend of mine handed me her book, announcing: "Is this what you mean to say?" Janine outlines how our thinking over the centuries has evolved outside of the bounderies of processes and practices embraced by nature.

     Because of this 'unnatural' thinking and the resulting actions, we now live in a virtual world that is disconnected from nature and the natural laws that even created us and are inspite of that --still supporting us! We are experiencing how we are pulling the rug from  underneath ourselves.

     As we are becoming more and more aware of the major problems facing our world: the polution of the environment, the collapse of the economic house of cards, the corruption in business and politics and on and on, we certainly feel that something fundamental is wrong!  It takes an honest look to see that we have contributed to these problems ourselves and to learn how we are keeping them in place and feeding them through our habits and ways of thinking. ( There is no one to point the finger at and don't count on any politician to save us!) If there was one word to describe the common thread that is at the root of our problems, from the top to the bottom, it would be greed!!

     Our focus on immediate results, gratification and profits, without considering the long term consequences ( may be we could not see them, or may be we did not care) is what is now staring us in the face in so many areas of our lives. To bring this to a more personal level: Did we contribute ourselves to the economic collapse by buying the cheapest products produced overseas, which caused the mere disappearance of good paying middle class jobs?? How are we supporting the pollution of our air and waters by mindless buying practices?? But guess what, there is a way out!  

     The solution can be found in the mimicing of nature (biomimicing) and using her solutions to the challences of our time. Mother Nature, the Grandmother who is billions of years old, has some well seasoned and time proven advice to offer. But as a loving Grandmother, she would never force that on any of her children.

     Janine is showing in her book how some scientist have now ventured on this most magical journey and are applying Grandma's advice to new products and practices! They are studying proteins to make blindingly fast computers, discovering new drugs by observing what animals eat!

      "Biomimicry" is an absorbing account of vision and invention. It also provides the first look at a field that may hold the key to our survival.

     Along these lines and in my field of building I have some good natural ideas to offer you today.

Call for help

     If you are in the market for an existing home or are looking for a lot to build a new one and would like my assistance in evaluating the property for maximum element-gathering capabilities, please contact me at 406-223-1406.  You can also contact me if you would like help with any of the elements explained above, or to build your own oasis hybrid home, which is designed to include all the above considerations and custom-fitted to your site location.

Educational Video of Oasis Systems

     I am Inviting you to an exclusive tour of the Oasis Hybrid Home, also known as the Pouwel Gelderloos family Residence! When you click on the video, you will find out what systems we have installed in this house that keep our busy family supplied with warm and cold domestic water. Learn how the integrated systems keep our toes warm in chilly Montana and how we keep our gadgets running, harvesting it all from NATURE!!

     We will also show you the awesome heat collecting, graywater and heat recycling systems, and share the daily joy and ambiance provided by the attached food-producing GREENHOUSE!!

     Please join me for the tour and fire off your questions for our midmonth frequently asked questions and answers portion of our newsletter to pouwel@oasishybridhomes.com.

Ask A Question

      In upcoming issues, Pouwel will access his 30+ years of experience to answer questions that concern our readers. We encourage you to E-Mail your questions now.



Pouwel Smiling
Pouwel Gelderloos, Designer,
Builder and Founder
of Oasis Hybrid Homes.com






Solar powered and wind captured by Oasis Hybrid HOmes

Capturing the Wind and Sun at
Oasis Hybrid Home






Side view of Oasis Hybrid Home

Notice the Roof, Designed for
Rain Water Capture







Miriam Gelderloos tending her garden in the Sunroom






Oasis Home with renewable energy systems
Renewable energy systems
in front of Oasis Hybrid Home





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