Sunday, December 23, 2012

New Green Hackerspace in Loveland, CO

On the evening of 12/13/12, my family attended the "Pre-Open House" hosted by the new Loveland Warehouse - the Green LaunchPad Hackerspace. They plan to have an Open House during the day sometime soon.

The partners in this project are Nourish the Planet, L3C and the Institute of Ecolonomics, LLC that are headed up by Dr. Wayne Dorband   It is an offshoot of the Mountain Sky Group, a green research and development company in Loveland. Their property partner is Mr. Stu Lichter who is one of the largest industrial real estate developers in the country.

Wayne describes himself as a "Serial Entrepreneur," having launched hundreds of companies over the last few decades. Stu Lichter owns the largest amount of industrial land in the U.S. Specifically, he purchases environmentally-contaminated sites and rehabilitates them. He invests in something he calls "space eaters."

Mountain Sky Group has an arrangement with the local Seventh-Day Adventist school in Campion, CO, because they have a very large greenhouse. They are constructing and operating one of the world's largest aquaponic installations on their property at 225 W. 42nd Street SW in Loveland, and their primary goal is education and entrepreneurship. They are trying to train 1 million people ("doer-teachers") to educate the world to feed itself over the next few years, through education ventures, aquaponics systems, and facilitating the distribution of aquaponics systems.

Mountain Sky Group has formed and L3C -- a new hybrid type of corporation, which is both for- and non-profit. So, they can take donations, but also make a profit.

They are converting their old business space, next to their new addition, into the first "Green Hackerspace" in the world. Quoting another individual, Wayne said that a perfect Hackerspace is "Not my job, not my house, not a bar, I can hang with people I want, and do whatever I want, legally." They want to facilitate curiosity and passion.

In the 5,000 foot space, they hope to provide whatever local Maker/Hackers need, for a membership fee (or perhaps a work trade). Their plans right now include a wood shop, a metal shop, and an art space. The first few members who want to participate in the greenhouse project (a 100 square foot "sub-membership") will have available to them some pre-made aquaponics systems to grow legal foods. They also talked about having a recording studio.

Members of the Denver Hackerspace came to the Pre-Open House, including a fellow who has owned several radio stations and started a podcasting company.

Jon Fye, of a local 3D printer company, Lulzbot, was also in attendance.

People have already donated a large loom and a kiln, to the project, and they are expecting to receive a C+C machine. Their aquaponics systems are dynamic closed systems mixing fish, shrimp, and plant growth.

Really, it seems like the sky is the limit there -- as long as enough participants come around. The only requirement with the Greenhouse space, since it is on the SDA property, is that the Saturday Sabbath will be observed (meaning no work there on Saturdays other than routine maintenance to keep animals and plants healthy.

For more information, please look at their websites: and