bioshelter meWelcome to The Backyard Bioshelter Blog! I hope you’re able to learn something from my writing and experiences. Whether you are a person interested in blogs in general or someone who must know everything they can about passive solar greenhouses and living shelters there is probably something here for you.

Heavy snow and tree branches collapsed our hoop frame unheated greenhouse. This opened an opportunity to build anew. During the winter and spring of 2012, Jonathan Bates (that’s me) started an adventure researching passive solar greenhouse design, and bioshelter theory. I spent countless hours looking into what materials would be needed, where to find the most ecological components, and what would be the least expensive and most intuitive structural greenhouse design I could find.

With very little carpentry or building experience, I wanted to show that a systematically complex yet simply erected greenhouse is possible. The Backyard Bioshelter has a 400 square footprint 20×20, is 11 feet tall, and is made with 80% reused, recycled or reclaimed materials, for under $3000.

Over the next 12 months this blog will be a place for telling that story. Many of the posts will be focused on present conditions and observations. I will also interweave what was done during the research and construction phase. You might see other eco-inspired stories as well.

The journey for me and this blog is to use it as a writers “testing ground” for an eventual book. I’ve found through my experience with this project, readings I’ve done, and searches on the Internet, that bioshelter information is sparse. Particularly lacking are stories of bioshelters that are small scale, less then 1000 square feet. So, why not blog about my experience, and add to the history that has already unfolded!

The Backyard Bioshelter Blog, and eventual book, are also a story about my life. With the help of many people, I have been able to re-invent myself through successful Whole Life Design.

There are five people deserving much of the credit for that process, and this blog becoming reality:

Megan Barber, Eric Toensmeier, Marikler Toensmeier, Daniel Toensmeier, and Jesse Bates. Much thanks to my family and extended family for making this happen.

And thanks to you for visiting the Backyard Bioshelter Blog!