Sustainable Affordable Safety Cottage Pilot Project

 A project designed to embody as many Santa Barbara City high level policy goals as possible
in one integrated, optimized design, 12 min walk from SBCC. This is intended as a step towards
open source templates for sustainable, affordable workforce housing in our area. 

Summary here and video related to the project below...Contact usfor more information.

On this page:

The City’s sustainability and affordability policies integrated and optimized
in five affordable micro-units downtown.

This pilot project could benefit Santa Barbara by providing data and replicable templates for:


The City’s recent commitments to sustainability are outstanding policy achievements. Work remains to be done on implementation; to make the most sustainable projects easier to permit, for example.
The designs, land, and funding for phase one of this project are in hand. We hope you will be inspired to partner with us to actualize its full potential to benefit the City, and build Santa Barbara’s environmental leadership. This community-benefit project could be a top demonstration of integrated solutions for climate, water, fire, transportation and affordability. 



Details in full proposal ( Email us to request a copy) video and more info below.



Adobe Safety Cottage Fly Through Video



Transparent view—


Reinforcing mesh—




Water Effiency, Alternate Supply and Reuse

Our new Water and Intergrated Home Resource Management Handbook explains in some detail the types of approaches we use to achieve deep reductions in metered water use, with external community benefits. (This handbook, for the general public, has a target reduction of 60% from 2013 water use of 88 gpd/ person, we are confident we can get 80% and our stretch goal is 90% reduction)

How much water you can save...


How much water you can store...



Adobe Building Resists Debris Flow (video)

The Orella Adobe stands strong in debris up to its roof as a wooden house floats by. The high water was 2-3' higher than in the video. The adobe had driftwood on the roof and feet of mud inside and out afterwards, but did not dissolve and is still standing. This is the January 20, 2017 debris flow near El Capitan on the Gaviota Coast.



Stormwater infiltration at 100x usual performance target (video)

Based measurements on the site and at the already built project in this video, we estimate that the site could infiltrate 0.67" of rain in ten minutes, 2.38" in 60 minutes, from an effective catchment area 3.5x that of the 5625 ft2 site. The latter rainfall was historically a five hundred year peak rain intensity event. (With climate disruption, I would not be surprised to see such a rainfall in the next few decades; I saw 0.4" in one minute in December . This is so much higher than the usual performance target that it may be hard to believe. Here's evidence on video (short version below, full version here).



Stormwater infiltration demo and discussion with local decision makers, regulators, and researchers (video)

The demonstration was attended by 30 professionals including our state congressional delegation, the heads of several local water-related agencies, local non-profits, educators and students (short version below, full version here).


Here is the County rain guage 5 min subtotals for the event in the video above:


Here is the Sept 3rd 2017 Santa Barbara microburst intensity by comparison; half the rainfall intensity filled the rain gutters ten feet wide in places and came within 4" of the capacity of the brand new bridge over Mission Creek at Cabrillo:


The system in the video above also went through a 1.1" in 15 minute event (that's almost 4x the microburst intensity and 30% more than the peak intensity of the rain that caused the Jan 9th 2018 debris flow—0.84" in 15 min). In this event the flow in the gutter was so wide that much of it bypassed the intake, But the system did capture about a quarter of the runoff from 3 acres and infiltrate it with no problem. (The one minute peak in this event was 0.44", which would probably be a >500 year peak intensity if County flood control published numbers. It was a > 200 year event for 10 and 15 min intervals.)




More info

<Page in progress, check back for more details later>

About Us

 Email us

Links to some of the design features incorporated:



Bullet penetration test of adobe wall (video)

Eco Home Checklist (pdf)

Principles of Ecological Design (article)

Ecological Systems Design

Ecological design examples

Can a 4000 ft2 Home be Green?

Live Better, Waste Less

Oasis design specialties

Adobe Safety Cottage Seismic Test

Water Conservation Central


Grey Water Central

Laundry to Landscape

What does driving cost?

Healthy is Sexy: Bike!






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