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We must be
the change
we wish to see
in the world.

  Mahatma Gandhi
Integrated Design Creates Synergies
Rivendell's tight integration of mixed use settlement allows synergies that have not previously been possible, providing ecological benefits which in some cases completely close the human ecology, and also accrue economic and social benefits. For example:
  • Clustering the housing shortens roads and service runs, reducing the amount of materials used, the cost, and the transmission losses of reticulation infrastructure. So, for example, waste heat from the solar thermal cogeneration plant's turbine can be piped to houses for domestic water and space heating, and to businesses for use as process heat.

    (In fact, Rivendell's solar thermal cogeneration plant is expected to generate more electricity and heat than the residents consume, selling the excess to Rivendell's businesses. This will mean that Rivendell may be the world's first residential development that is a net sink for greenhouse gas emissions!)

  • Locating appropriate light industries on-site not only allows the utilisation of the solar powered turbine's waste heat, if those industries are food processors they can value add to the farm's produce, increasing the farm's economic viability (and providing local employment). It also allows the considerable organic waste stream created by food processing, along with the village's domestic kitchen and restaurant scraps, to be composted for reuse on the farm - which being located next door to the village can also receive and grow food with all the water and nutrients recovered from the village's treated sewage - which will be sterilised by flash pasteurisation using the turbine's waste heat. (Heat exchangers used in the pasteurisation process recover over 90% of the heat, which can then be forwarded on to the above mentioned domestic and industrial uses.)

  • Growing fresh produce on-site eliminates the need for refrigerated transport, saving money and greenhouse gases. It also allows direct marketing, meaning cheaper, fresher produce for Rivendell's residents and higher farm gate prices for Rivendell Organics (the farm).

  • Most residents will work from home or in Rivendell's businesses - not commuting saves time, money and greenhouse gasses.

  • Integration of residents' work, social, leisure and entertainment needs in a pedestrian friendly environment facilitates social interaction.
Innovative Economics and Conservation of Resources
The use of 'in-house utilities' to provide Rivendell residents with their services like electricity, gas, water and sewer means that conservation of these resources can be encouraged by charging on a steeply rising sliding scale for usage that exceeds a reasonable per capita consumption rate. (This is the opposite to the cost structures for many resources where prices don't reflect the true costs and, in fact, unit charges become cheaper with increased usage, thus encouraging excess.)

Comparable Utility Bills
Though the unit prices for services like electricity, gas and water will, at times, be higher than those charged by commercial utilities, the reduced consumption made possible (and, in fact, easy) by Rivendell's energy and resource efficient house and business premises designs, will mean that the utility bills Rivendell's residents and businesses pay for their environmentally sound service provision will be comparable with those paid by the average Australian household or business.

Further, since residents will hold shares in the in-house utility company that provides their services, they will receive end-of-year dividends to be off-set against their utility bills.

Shares in Rivendell Organics, the provider of much of their fresh food, will also be offered to residents.

Carbon Sequestration
An example of gaining economic benefits from environmental initiatives is Rivendell's Carbon Sequestration Scheme: In this innovative first, all the CO2 embodied in the building materials used in the construction of homes and commercial premises on Rivendell, as well as that released in their construction, will be sequestered (offset) by investing a portion of the proceeds from their sale in August EcoForest's environmentally sustainable commercial forestry project. On purchasing a property residents become shareholders in EcoForest Ltd and will benefit financially from the investment.

Also, residents will have their vehicles' carbon emissions offset in a tree planting program administered by Greenfleet.

Information Technology Provides Ecological Benefits
As well as providing communication and computer services and savings for residents and businesses, the integration of information technology also offers environmental benefits. For example, the real-time data logging of services and a centralised computer system make possible the above-mentioned varying of electricity and water prices, as well as instantaneous feedback to residents which will allow each household to quickly adjust their usage patterns. The system will also detect and alert residents to leaking taps and lights or appliances that have been left on or are malfunctioning.

Reconnecting with Nature
Adjusting the unit rates for resources like water and electricity on a daily basis will mean that, for example, during the dry season when water storage levels are falling, the price of water will rise to reflect this; and then fall again when the rains come. Likewise, during extended periods of overcast weather when the solar cogeneration plant requires gas boosting to meet the village's needs, electricity and hot water prices will rise, then fall again when the sun comes out.

In this way the services rating scheme will more accurately reflect our dependence on the resources and ecological services provided by nature - something that we often ignore in leading lifestyles that have so disconnected us from the natural world.

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