The Team

The Green Community Center is led by a dedicated group, each member specializing in certain aspects while staying true to the overarching goals of the project.

Project Manager: Jennifer Martin, CPHC, PHCB, LEED GA

Jennifer Martin

Jennifer has lived and worked at Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage since the spring of 2005. Throughout this time, she’s been working with other members of Dancing Rabbit to develop community-wide sustainable systems for village planning, infrastructure, governance, human needs, and land management using efficient, sustainable practices that protect and promote the health of the earth. Working on both the macro and micro spheres, from overarching ecovillage design principles to details of system components, Jennifer learned through hands-on experience that ecological design works most effectively when considered in a holistic manner.

A building designer by trade, Jennifer discovered the natural building movement in 2001, and has wed design, construction and sustainability ever since.  Jennifer has been working on sustainable architecture contracting and project management since 2008, and has developed and managed holistic natural building internship programs since 2009. Building upon local knowledge gained in the field, Jennifer has added credentials in Passive House and LEED after her name.

As the project manager of the Green Community Center, Jennifer brings to the project a strong architectural design background, contracting experience, and a love of promoting sustainable architecture.

Project Designer: Alex Whitcroft, CPHD

Alex WhitcroftAlex is a multi-disciplinary architectural designer born in England.  His work focuses on craft, blending innovative and traditional materials and technologies, and resonating with local people and landscape.

He graduated from The Welsh School of Architecture with first class honors and the T Alwyn Lloyd Scholarship at Bachelor’s and a distinction and the Wyn Thomas prize at Master’s.  His sketchbook has been featured in the Architect’s Journal and his thesis Time Limited Architecture was nominated for the prestigious RIBA President’s Medals award.  As well as his freelance work, Alex has worked for a number of award winning architectural and design companies including Loyn & Co. (Architects), Belsize Architects, Hunter & Partners (Architects), and Alex Marker (Theatre Set Design).

Alex has had a connection to Dancing Rabbit for a number of years now, first visiting the community as a work-exchanger in 2009.  To facilitate a deeper than normally possible connection between designer and community, Alex as lived as a resident within Dancing Rabbit while the building was designed.  Alex has also served on Dancing Rabbit’s Land Use Planning & Policy Committee, helping to integrate the Common House project with the wider village design. As the lead designer, Alex brings to the team design and project management expertise as well as general knowledge of the sustainable construction industry.

Contractor: Kent Kattelman


Mechanical Design Team

Mechanical Designer: Jeff Mundinger, EIT, LEED AP

Jeff is the mechanical designer and a LEED submittal assistant for the project and has been working with the project since the beginning of 2013.  He is currently an Engineer in Training and a LEED Green Associate and holds a BS in Environmental Engineering from the University of Illinois.

Raised right, Jeff held a keen environmental awareness early on.  His Eagle Scout project reclaimed several thousand square feet of wetlands.  Since then he has worked on water projects in rural Nigeria and Mexico.  Jeff’s interest in green design began at the UofI where he worked with his faculty adviser to create a new focus area in sustainability and became the first student in the department to graduate with the focus, which has now become one of the primary focus tracks available to new students.
Mechanical Design Team
Mechanical Designer: Peter Schonher, P.Eng., CPHC
PeterPeter is the founder and owner of Passive Insights Energy Services. He is a mechanical engineer with a B.A.Sc. from U. of Toronto and has worked for 30 years in the high tech field of thermal analysis and design of electronics for the aerospace field.
Peter became interested in the areas of renewable energy and conservation where he decided to apply his background expertise. He worked on a couple of renewable energy feasibility studies and also did some energy analysis and design of mechanicals for a multi-family project in Quebec. More recently Peter obtained a BEMP, (Building Energy Modelling Professional), certificate from ASHRAE and is also a Certified Passive House Building Consultant. His latest project is working on a Green Community Building Project for Dancing Rabbit Eco village.

Community Center Design Committee

Given the need for a new Community Center, Dancing Rabbit residents elected a committee known as the Community Center Design Committee (CCDC).  The role of the CCDC is to moderate and represent community viewpoints – saving time in the design process; bring specific knowledge about the community in order that nothing is assumed or overlooked; and be an extension of the design team for research and work in community design. The members of the CCDC all bring unique expertise and insight to the project, which will allow for a richer design solution in the end.

Anthony “Bear” Barrett

Anthony Bear BarrettBear came to Dancing Rabbit 5 years ago with many years of fine art furniture making under his belt.  Those skills translated well to building houses–which he has been doing ever since.  Bear contributed extensively to the Ironweed kitchen, the Milkweed Mercantile, and the Timberframe addition.  He has also designed and built Larkspur, Lobelia, and La Casa de Cultura.

Bear contributes a preference for simplicity, and a healthy dose of reality to the design team, to say nothing of his wit and dashing good looks.

Tony Sirna

Tony SirnaTony was one of Dancing Rabbit’s founders and has lived in the village for 15 years. He serves on Dancing Rabbit’s Land Use Planning committee and has been part of designing the village both physically and socially from the beginning. He’s been the lead builder on two strawbale homes at Dancing Rabbit including the 2800 sq ft, 6 bedroom Skyhouse where he now lives and works. His most recent project was installing a village-wide micro grid powered by over 25 kW of solar electricity. Tony serves on the Dancing Rabbit Land Trust Board and is Development Coordinator for Dancing Rabbit, Inc.

On the Community Building project he is focusing on energy systems, HVAC, and water systems as well as doing the financial planning.  Tony also brings deep experience with the communities movement with his 15 years as a board member of FIC which has taken him to dozens of communities around North America.

2 thoughts on “The Team

  1. The new building looks terrific! I’d be wary about locating a village square north of it, though: people are so naturally drawn to the sunny side of a building that getting them to cross a band of deep shade to a social space can be difficult. Pattern #105 in APL lays this argument out more fully

    Regarding under floor insulation: two materials to check out:

    1. perlite that’s been treated to be hydrophobic
    2. charcoal! that’s what the Romans used under their hypocausts.

    • Hi Bob,

      Thanks for your comments! Here are some reflections/replies:

      The location of the village green is an interesting one. The plan is to have buildings all around that central public space – with permeable, human scale facades on all sides. Although having a building on the south side of the space is in one way a challenge, as it casts a shadow (it also means having more doors/windows on the north side of the building which isn’t great from an energy performance perspective), there are other factors that weigh in. Having a public space bounded on all sides by buildings is a much more powerful and vibrant space than one that fades out on one or more sides. Hopefully we can evoke the famous piazzas of so many European cities.

      We are totally with you on this one – ecological underfloor insulation products are hard to come by. In the end we have gone with foam – and at this stage it would be hard to change that. One of the reasons is that we have found that foam salvaged, although we did consider other options.

      I think our engineers would have pulled their hair out if we’d suggested charcoal. My understanding of the hypocaust design is that that insulation was never load bearing. In our design our under-slab insulation is load bearing.

      Perlite felt like a bit of a risk given our local soil conditions – very clayey, very wet at times, and with huge amounts of movement. Given that perlite is loose, even if treated with something hydrophobic we ran the risk of the stuff settling out and graining down through our compacted gravel base, which would have left us with holes in the insulation and a drained frost proof base clogged up with fine perlite silt.


      Alex Whitcroft
      Lead Designer

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