Natural Building Materials Ben Werner

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The Feasibility Project for Permaculture at Devereux


Ben’s vision of Deveraux is a model of a truly sustainable community, with a positive environmental impact that will meet or exceed the needs of the University, the Isla Vista community, and other stakeholders; our mission is to gather community input for a feasibility study on such a possibility.


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The Sustainable Living Research Initiative is working with students from UCSB and our group to create a feasibility study on permacultural development in the Devereux area (shown below). The goal is to reach out to many members in the community to see how they want to see the area developed and whether they would be interested in permaculture.

Ben Werner is our main contact for this side of the project. We are helping them by collecting information on natural building materials and how to work with code to make this project work.

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Some of what they hope to see happen is above contrasted by what the city allows.

Discussing the project in Ben’s yurt.



Barriers to Ben’s Development:

-Developing within the Coastal Zone:

  • California Coastal Commission is strict about environmental impacts being up to par
  • Does offer a reduced permit fee for Green Structures built within the permit zone; however the definition of “green” is the same problem we have been facing– LEED certification is still not the level of permaculture Ben is attempting to create

-In a Skype Discussion with Ben:

  • still gathering information for an Environmental Impact Report
  • facing “discussions” with the powers in the area

Our Goals with this project:

  • work with Ben to set up a working relationship with Cal Poly students (starting with us)
  • Develop a reference set of lessons-learned or best practices from other sustainable living efforts