SLW#3 Alternative Building Techniques at Riverstone Retreat near Durham


Vegetable garden and greenhouse


Opening Plenary at Riverstone


Session leader Josh Thornton and host Edith Martin outside the Eco Nest


Josh describes the central wood-fired stone furnace and oven at the EcoNest.


Children’s playhouse with stone foundation, clay cob walls and wattle (and possibly daub or clay) roof ends.


Plywood forms used to contain packed clay cob walls


The SLW#3 Crew at Riverstone Retreat near Durham

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Sustainable Living Workshop #3

Riverstone Retreat, Durham

Saturday, September 12, 2015

8:30 to 5:00 PM

This is the 3rd in an ongoing series of Sustainable Living Workshops (SLW) that are designed to exposed participants to various aspects of “sustainable living” through hands on participation in workshop sessions hosted by skilled professionals in their respective fields. Earlier SLW’s have included themes like straw bale building construction, off grid living, food prep (using what you have!), Friction Fire; Wood Fired Bread ovens and coffee roasting as well as growing your own!

Our next workshop will be focused on “Sustainable Building Techniques” specifically the use of clay and straw as a building material. The site for the workshop is Riverstone Retreat, just west of Durham Ontario which is a living example of “sustainable” building. Their “eco-nest” demonstrates how alternative techniques and materials can be used to create modern, energy efficient, low carbon and healthy building structures.

Workshop Elements

  • Tour of Riverstone with Host Ernie Martin, Owner, Builder, Visionary. Includes”
    • EcoNest, Forest Labyrinth, Stack Wall Washroom Facility; Central Solar Hot Water Plant; Main Lodge; Gardens;
  • Theoretical and “Hands on” sessions with Ernie, Josh Thornton; Clay cob construction of “child’s playhouse” as well as “wattle and dab” fence/wall structure.
  • Lunch provided!

Draft Program (to be confirmed)

8:00 AM – 8:30 AM Registration and Payment Under Amphitheatre

8:30 – 9:00 – Introductions and Overview of Day – GBSusNet; Riverstone Retreat;

9:00 – 10:00 – Tour of Riverstone Retreat with Ernie and Session Leaders

10:00 – Noon – Clay Cob Construction Theory and Practice – Playhouse and Wall + Hands On Preparation of Materials and Techniques

Noon – 1:00 – Lunch, Casual Networking and Info Sharing

1:00 – 2:30 – Hands On Session 1

2:30 – 3:00 – Snack Break

3:00 – 4:30 – Hands On Session 2

4:30 – 5:00 – Plenary Gathering at Amphitheatre; Evaluation; Future Workshop Ideas?

To Register email with the following information:

Registration DEADLINE by Friday, September 28th

Limited to 25 people for the day.




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