Low-impact, sustainable materials, including bamboo, earth bags, compressed earth bricks and adobe, will be used for the majority of the structures. Outdoor walls will incorporate recycled wine bottles as the fill. Walls, floors and walkways may contain recycled plastic bottles filled with recycled plastic and sand as the structure. Each structure is a sacred gift from the earth, which will be represented in the colors and decorative touches.
Some structures may not survive the elements. Bearing witness to the failures (especially with adobe in a wet climate) is an important teaching tool, too.
Water retention is the most important aspect of the development of the land. Using swales, berms and cisterns to collect the rain water, we can feed the aquifer rather than allowing the water to escape into the lake. Over a period of time, the landscape will become more evergreen in the dry season, with moisture from the trees changing the microclimate ever so slightly. The development of the water system over such a large property is one of the largest and the most important infrastructure expense. Clean water is our birthright. Harmonia will utilize an assortment of filtration methods to ensure that water is drinkable from every tap on the property. Gray water will be recycled to feed the gardens. Only non-phosphate, natural soaps, shampoos, detergents and cleaners may be used within the property.
We will have fire lines cut throughout the property to prevent a wildfire, usually caused by farmers eager to burn their fields before planting before the wind stops.
No significant trees will be cut. Scrub trees will be replaced with hardwoods and fruit and nut trees. The lakeside portion will include more trees along the shoreline to protect the area from the winds, which can be heavy November through February.
Ideally we would bury the electric lines underground, but this is a significant cost. We will use solar and wind, but they have limitations in the rainy season and the wind on this part of the lake isn’t constant. Also, there is an issue of batteries, which tend to have shorter lifespan here. Though we will have solar and wind to supplement the electric, much of which is supplied from a wind farm 20 kilometers away on the shore of Lake Nicaragua.