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You are here: > News > Sept. 9, 2009

Safe Haven Villages to implement sustainable community designs

Interview about sustainability and intentional communities in general, building types, such as earth ships; compost toilets, gray water recycling, rainwater harvesting; renewable energy; greenhouses; community documents, and things that make communities work.

Stream | Download Interview Audio File (11 Mb; mp3; 50 min)
On Sept. 7, 2009, James C. Torgersen joined me on the Free Energy Now radio show.

This EarthShip ties into the earth's constant temperature to reduce heating/cooling expenses.  The windows along the southern exposure providing heating in the winter, as well as year-round growing of plants for food.  The roof harvests rain water for culinary use.


Here are some of the founding members of Safe Haven Villages.  Torg is on the left.  I am second to the right, next to my wife, with our four children in front.  Susan Carter is on the other side of my wife.  Feel free to learn more about the community concept and the individuals involved on our social network site.

by Sterling D. Allan
Pure Energy Systems News
Copyright © 2009

This last Monday I interviewed James C. Torgersen, MD, PhD, and DSC. He’s involved with me in the Safe Haven Villages project, in which we are developing an intentional community based on principles of sustainability, educational outreach, healthy living, natural healing, individual responsibility, cooperation, and renewable energy.

Torg – that’s the name he prefers – is like the “professor” of our Gilligan’s Island. He’s a great example of someone who has been implementing what he knows. He especially likes to find simple and inexpensive ways to do things – like a sun oven made of tin foil, duct tape, and cardboard; or a compost toilet comprised of a 5 gallon bucket and sawdust.

In our interview, we talked about sustainability and intentional communities in general, building types, such as earth ships; compost toilets, gray water recycling, rainwater harvesting; renewable energy; greenhouses; community documents, and things that make communities work.

For me, this is not just a matter of curiosity. It is a matter of survival, as I plan to move with my family from the house we’re in now into this community, as its first permanent residents along with Torg.  In fact today -- this auspicious day of 9-9-9 -- we are making an offer on the property in Spring City, UT for the community. We’re going to be doing many of the things that we talked about in this interview.  So this is very personal to me. And one of the primary draws to this project has been meeting Torg and feeling confident in his knowledge and experience in doing these various things. 

Though a primary driver for starting this community is to prepare for societal meltdown in the world, those involved in the community look at this more as an opportunity to finally live the way they've been dreaming and talking for years. In other words, this is not an interim, transient condition, but it is intended to be a model for more enlightened living, both with the land and with each other.

Compact compost toilet by Sun-Mar

Torg's father was an environmental engineer, working on municipal water and sewage treatment projects; which instilled in Torg an awareness of the environmental impact of modern society: "The effluence of affluence", as he calls it.

For him, the idea of a compost toilet makes total sense.  Nature thrives from the recycling of body waste.  Why add a bunch of water and send it through the sewer when it can be taken care of at point of use and recycled back into the soil where it benefits the plants?  While Torg's approach of using a 5-gallon bucket and saw dust might be a bit too simple and extreme for most, there are companies that sell composting toilets that are designed for installation within modern homes.

Here's a video of Torg talking about his composting toilet.

Torg also talked about collecting the rainwater that falls on your roof into a cistern, saying that if you get at least 8 inches of rainfall per year where you are, that will provide enough water for culinary home use -- for drinking, as well as for sinks, showers, and washing.  He also talked about recycling gray water (effluent from sinks, showers, washer) for watering plants.  These systems include some filtering, primarily with sand and gravel.

In a home powered by renewable energy, Torg also recommends running most of the appliances with DC rather than AC power, eliminating so much loss through inverters.

Here's a video of Torg demonstrating how to make a sun oven out of tin foil, duct tape, and cardboard.

I plan to include a section in our kitchen area where a global sun oven (one of our bestselling items) could be stationed inside and directed at the sun.

At the end of the interview, we talked about some of the community documents and other considerations when coming together as a group, and some of the things that have caused groups to fail and things needed to thrive.

In the coming days, as part of my personal investigation into the best options for our community, I'll be going more into depth in some of these aspects discussed above.  Of most interest to me are renewable energy technologies that are reliable and affordable, beyond the solar and wind technologies already well established.

# # #

Links Mentioned

James C. Torgersen Interview Audio


  • Feel free to view or add your own comments to the publication of this article at

See also

Page composed by Sterling D. Allan Sept. 1, 2009
Last updated June 06, 2010


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