What have I discovered on my quest in Belize for better building materials? As a long time environmentalist and eager eco developer, green building material selection has become a big part of my passion purpose and leadership lifestyle. It has become a passion project to investigate, research and understand various building materials and styles to determine what will best serve our homes and projects in our Belize Eco Village. Building materials that are clean, green, renewable, safe and sustainable will definitely play a prominent role in our master planned community and mind map. We are committed to creating an aesthetically appealing, environmentally friendly, financially solid and sensibly sustainable Belize Eco Village community on the 149 acres of land.
Belize Building Materials Red List
Belize is a fairly well known Caribbean destination for it’s barrier reef, beautiful beaches, Mayan ruins and tropical rainforest. Belize is blessed with a refreshing and relaxed attitude about life and living. It was formerly British Honduras a British commonwealth and in the past there were limited building codes, inspections or standards to deal with. Most people could build with any design, material or style they desired. That changed with the creation of the Central Building Authority (CBA) and revised regulations in 2005 and 20011 for enforcing and setting reliable and safe construction standards. Now there are clearly outlined architect designs, building codes, construction material, engineering standards ad waste water guidelines to comply with.
Belize has evolved with a variety of home building materials and styles. A wide variety of homes are built with boards, poles and thatched roofs, or boards, concrete block and thatched or tin roofs or all cement block and concrete or tin roof. Some newer homes are being built with cement block and drywall as well as clay or composite shingle roofs. Many local sub tropic style homes are built with native hardwoods or treated pine and tin roofs. Unfortunately the extensive use of various forms of wood has placed a serious burden on the forests, land and wildlife due to both legal and illegal logging. Loss of native trees coupled with price increases and rising demand for housing have caused increased demand for wood products to the point that illegal logging has become big business. Having recently been a victim of illegal logging on my lands it reinforced my decision and desire to discover house construction methods that required minimum amounts of wood.
Therefore my Belize building materials red list consists of both toxic products that can harm our health as well as most wood products that are unlikely to last for 100 years without harmful chemicals, compounds, toxins and treatments. In Belize the rain, sun, termites and weather can destroy natural organic building materials in a short time span and require them to be repaired, replaced or retreated regularly. Even though many different construction ideas and materials have been tried in Belize the majority have resulted in comfort, emotional, environmental, financial, health or lifestyle consequences. Most wood products require toxic treatments to preserve them against the harsh elements. While cement block houses are more costly short term they are much more cost efficient and durable long term. Unfortunately cement block is not the most eco friendly and many cement block and concrete homes are not constructed to the highest standards in Belize. Many cement blocks are excessively watered during the curing stage and become brittle. Often the rebar is exposed to the atmosphere which results in rusting and concrete spalling. Cement block houses are often uncomfortably hot and prone to deterioration way before the normal lifespan because they are not properly constructed.
Modern homes made with chemicals, drywall, flammable materials, particle board, plastic and Styrofoam are expensive and not very environmentally friendly. Furnishings and homes made with hazardous products and substances include: flame retardant chemicals, VOC’s including formaldehyde, anti-microbials, fluorinated stain treatments and PVC. We plan to avoid these and other non green materials to the greatest extent possible. For a detailed overview of building materials and products to avoid go to Living Futures Red List of materials to avoid. We are also raving fans of the Institute of Building Biology + Sustainability for healthy homes, sustainable structures and wise ways to minimize harmful Electro Magnetic Frequencies (EMF).
Belize Building Materials Green List
Unfortunately many areas of Belize, the Caribbean and world wide are suffering from serious habitat destruction in a quest for more building materials. If more ecologically and environmentally friendly and passionate people put their heads and hearts together it would soon appear obvious that one of the most environmentally friendly and financially focused long term solutions would be to use James Hallock is the expert who introduced me to the benefits of Stabilized Compressed Earth Block (SCEB) for buildings and homes. The SCEB are normally made with local clay, sand and 10% cement or lime and compressed and shaped in a high pounds per square inch hydrolic operated press. This creates a consistent and strong Stabilized Compressed Earth Block which is not a fired brick but one that is naturally cured slowly to become strong like rock over time. SCEB is incredibly durable and resistant to normal home hazards like bugs, fire, storms and wind.
SCEB homes are extremely efficient and eco friendly because they are less heat absorbing, locally sourced, long lasting and low cost. The SCEB homes can reasonably expect to last for over a hundred years if not a thousand years with minimal care and maintenance. This is another reason that Stabilized Compressed Earth Block (SCEB) has been chosen as our building material of choice. Learn more about building SCEB homes from DwellEarth.
We will also be using bamboo, clay, lime, recycled glass, rocks, salvage timber and shipping containers for construction of various buildings and homes.
Belize Eco Village Community Code of Conduct
Our Seventh Generation Community Code of Conduct will declare our intentions to guests and residents to follow outstanding organic, self sufficiency and sustainability strategies. We will avoid spraying synthetic chemical compounds like fungicides, herbicides, insecticides and pesticides on our property. These synthetic chemical compounds are toxic to people, plants and planet. We will support holistic health, Mayan medicine, natural nutrition and proven permaculture principles. It is obvious the long and short tern consequences are too risky to the animals, bees, birds, butterflies and beautiful people living in our Belize Eco Village community to allow the use of toxic products. We will maintain very high standards for living in a chemical free environment to protect our clean air, food, homes, soil and water. Recently I came across Finca Morpho in Costa Rica as a great eco community role model.
Healthy Habits & Habitats
In 2017 Morningstar NEWS will focus 50% on Healthy Habits and 50% on Healthy Habitats and Sustainability Strategies. We are also designing our new Belize Eco Village master planned community land plan. My passion project is to interview, research and visit super sustainability projects to learn, mentor and role model them. The vision is to attract a wide variety of eco-conscious and passionate people to help design, build and live in an eco friendly, healthy and sustainable community. Imagine a piece of paradise where people will live, retire, visit and work while enjoying an even more happy, healthy and in harmony lifestyle. We will focus on ideas, insights and inspiration as we provide more progress pictures and vivid videos about stewardship and sustainability. Stay tuned for progress posts with steps, strategies, suggestions and systems to develop the 149 acres of pristine Caribbean pine ridge and riparian forest into a Belize Eco Village master planned eco community.
Where is Your Gap?
What behaviors, beliefs and decisions about your habits and habitats are harming your health and the planet? What will it take for you to protect your family, self and the planet from damage, degradation and destruction? How can you stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution instead?
Mastery Action Plan (MAP)
It is well documented that most fake, fast and junk foods harm us while fresh foods help us. There is a wealth of wisdom on my blog and the internet regarding a wide variety of healthy habits to start and health hazards to avoid. What are you willing to do differently to protect your self and our planet with better choices? A healthy habits and healthy habitat code of conduct and mastery action plan will enhance the quality of life for everyone. Are you ready to do your personal part for rapid real results?
Call to Action
What comments, commitments or concerns come to mind regarding the many benefits of healthy habits and healthy habitats? Are you ready to learn more and join our terrific team?
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Tao Mexico Eco Project