A recent post by Michael Totten shared by Linda Wigington refers to Csikszentmihalyi's "The costs and benefits of consuming." Totten advocates morphing towards less stuff with an economy based more on excellent, useful local crafts.
Could we perhaps tap DERs to help rebuild a culture of creativity and sharing of ideas, crafts and efficient sustainable home and workspace?
One intersection of ideas is to transform old blighted neighborhoods with conversions of abandoned warehouses to micro-cohousing retrofitted to NZE\ DERs @HERs25. These could be better shared with well planned common space and with convertible furniture in much smaller but flexible space like..
Time magazine had a piece on micro units in Manhattan with convertible furniture. Could 300 to 900SF, depending upon preference and occupancy, make sense with great common spaces? Former Boston Mayor Menino is OK with these micro apts on the commuter line. Why not the same anywhere if HERs 20 or NZE and good building science?
Could McMansions and three deckers become convertible to five family units with young adult owners moving from mini Apt on 3rd floor to larger space on 2nd floor when with kids to first floor when senior citizens? With shared space and shared resources might these mini-DER convertibles then become far more sustainable and neighborly across generations?
Could this dovetail with craft activity workspace close by and or office spaces convertible for night and weekend use by the community?
Might his help us move toward less stuff, more connections, more sharing, a more integral infrastructure for commuting on foot and a better more sustainable life?
I think it also could enable far more people to afford DERs. People believe in them but co$t is the biggest barrier I hear about in my workshops and conversations. ..http://rideepenergyretrofit.eventbrite.com/
Might the skinned tight nature of many DERs (dry conditioned attics and basements) lend the interior to better convertibility and use of the whole envelope?
I share this in thankfulness to many for new hopeful synergies with DERs (@ 75% THC savings level) to make old cold buildings more sustainable, affordable and dynamic for holistic change.
I look forward to hearing other’s experiences and ideas.
I see impeccably designed micro units as a very creative component of a deep green, possibly even sustainable lifestyle. Young, high tech career folks who want to live in a creativity enhancing, dense urban area are probable early adopters. If these units are part of a vibrant co-housing community older folks and families will thrive.
Thank you David for starting this conversation!
I just visited the website for the Resilient Design Institute (RDI). Here is their definition of resilience:
“Resilience is the capacity to adapt to changing conditions and to maintain or regain functionality and vitality in the face of stress or disturbance. It is the capacity to bounce back after a disturbance or interruption of some sort.” They go on to say that resilience is in response to both sudden emergencies as well as long-term changes due to heat, drought, or economic disruption.
Check out their design principles , the first of which is about scale – “Strategies to address resilience
Continuation of previous post reply - it appeared to have gotten cut off.
...resilience apply at scales of individual buildings, communities, and larger regional and ecosystem scales…”.
While much can be achieved on the household level, the importance and value of working at the community level is huge. If we embrace David’s remarks as well as the other ideas conveyed in the citations above, it is easy to imagine creating low energy, high performance common spaces that are resilient. This could be done at a greater speed and lower investment than achieving resilience within the same number of households on a household level.
The Thousand Home Challenge allows for community solutions as one of the ways to help achieve deep reductions of energy use. It only makes sense to examine the multiple potential benefits of energy reductions, resilience, building local capacity, and enhancing well-being and purpose. Most communities have buildings (schools, churches, government facilities) that could benefit from this investment. Another option would be to create a common space by converting a existing house for a shared function, such as guest house, community kitchen, access to community tools and equipment, and a back-up power system.
The technical aspects of doing this is probably far easier than the collaboration required, but an effort could be staged, with an initial focus on one aspect, such as a community kitchen, and/or efficient, clean outdoor wood cooking options based on some of the work being done for developing countries.