Farewell to Eco-Home

Eco-Home's Front Porch - Photo from Homegrown Evolution

After 22 years and hundreds of tours and countless inspirations, our near-neighbor Eco-Home will be closing its doors at the end of June 2010. Eco-Home has been a labor of love for its founder Julia Russell. Located a couple miles north of L.A. Eco-Village, Eco-Home is a single-family that has been retrofitted to conserve energy and water, grow food locally, and much more. (See below for info on the final Eco-Home tours!)

I remember when I moved in to L.A. Eco-Village in 1996, we had just purchased our first building and hadn’t really begun much in the way of retrofitting or even envisioning where we might start. A handful of eco-villagers took a tour of Eco-Home to see what the work ahead of us might resemble. I really enjoyed the tour, including the stories Julia told and the passion in her voice.

(I also recall that tour, because it’s where I met now-former-Eco-Village-resident Paul Bournhonesque, who soon became one of my best friends.)

If you’re interested in relatively straightforward proven techniques for making your home (or apartment) more ecologically-sustainable, I highly reccomend taking a tour of Eco-Home.

Below is the text of the press release from Eco-Home:

The Original Eco-Home™ Environmental Demonstration Home, Closes Its Doors After 22 Years

Los Angeles –  For over twenty-two years, the Eco-Home Network has provided tours, both public and private, of Eco-Home™, its environmental demonstration house in Los Feliz.  The tours are designed to educate and inspire people to live, design and build with the earth and future generations in mind.  Now, after 15,000 visitors have walked through its doors, the Eco-Home will be closing to the public after its June 27 tour.

The Los Feliz Eco-Home is the original Eco-Home. The term “Eco-Home” was coined by Julia Russell, the founder of the Eco-Home Network.  In the 1970’s she transformed her home into the Eco-Home™, in a demonstration of sustainable urban living.  Today, a google search of the term returns over 250,000 different results…many of them for products, other houses and even an “Eco Home Magazine.”

“Back in the ’70s”, Julia observes, “people were just beginning to become aware of environmental problems, but they tended to blame others for the problems, big corporations, mainly.  The insight that motivated me to create Eco-Home was that most environmental degradation was traceable back to our modern urban lifestyle!  So I started to change my lifestyle!”

Over a period of 30 years, on a modest budget, Russell slowly transformed her typical 1911 California bungalow into a 21st century Eco-Home.  The sun heats water for indoor use and activates the photovoltaic panels to generate electricity to power the house during the day.  Insulation and weatherstripping make the whole house energy efficient and comfortable winter and summer. A front yard xeriscape demonstrates the natural beauty that’s possible with a watering schedule of only 3 irrigations per year.  The backyard organic orchard and vegetable garden provide food security. Compost bins made of recycled plastic lumber compost kitchen and yard waste into nutrient rich food for the vegetable garden.

These are just a few of the practical, cost-effective systems and products visitors from southern California and all over the world have seen and learned about on their Eco-Home tour. 

The Eco-Home Network E-HN is an organization that inspires and empowers people to live healthier, more cost effective and sustainable lifestyles.  People are invited to take the Eco-Home tour to learn how to make their own lives and homes healthier and more sustainable; from smaller changes, such as insulating window curtains and switching to non-toxic cleaning products to large changes, such as installing solar panels and planting organic food garden.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to offer the fruit of my work to others who are awakening to the need for us humans to live as law-abiding members of the family of life on earth,” Julia avers.  “Eco-Home shows we have the knowledge and the technology to create sustainable lifestyles. And I hope it has also helped to inspire the wisdom and the will to create them.” 

The Eco-Home still has four more tours left on its schedule, May 16, May 30, June 6 and June 27.  All tours are $10 per person and begin at 2:00.  To make a reservation, call 323-662-5207.

Check out Eco-Home’s website.


5 thoughts on “Farewell to Eco-Home

  1. Thanks for posting this Joe
    I have been out touch with Julia for a while, since i moved to Ireland. She hosted regular meetings of a group called Quintescence Audiance ~ coined by Jim Morrisett who was room mates with Ram Dass and Timothy Leary at Harvard in the early 60’s.
    The group which Julia and I were a part of focused of the nuances of “radiant listening” or listening to another with full attention, no dialogue or interruptions. The results were phenomenal. One could really find their voice and speak of things that they didn’t even know they knew about. ..it was was an amazing exercise. I recommend everyone listen to someone with focused attention, allow them the time to find their center. You’ll be impressed, i promise.

  2. Pingback: A look at vehicular cycling, People for Bikes, and a lot of links « BikingInLA

  3. Julia–and Eco-Home–were an inspiration. As it happens, I was a neighbor of hers–a few houses down, on Russell Avenue–during the mid-nineties. Does anyone know where one might contact her? I am also interested in anyone who might refresh my memory about what kinds of low water usage plants (grasses, etc.), were featured in her front yard. The garden crew people of the church congregation just adjacent to my building are receptive any input along these lines. PLEASE!! (My last message had a typo).

    Dr. H

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