The Shift Home

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What is Green: The Renewable Cart and Conservation Horse

This is the first blog in a series focused on answering the question "What is green?" in the design of the Shift Home.  We will be looking at a number of issues in closer detail over the next few months and will provide our framework for decision making.  However, we're going to start by focusing on where our "green" priorities lie. 


Our friends at the 100k House have advocated "not putting the renewable (Energy) cart in front of the conservation horse" and this idea is fundamental in designing the Shift Home to be green, not just in terms of the physical building, but more importantly in designing for integrated green lifestyles.


Consider this example...suppose that you have a very simple life and all you do is spend time at home with your family and at your widget factory.  Your only travel is a daily trip between home and work.  If you live 500 meters from your office you have created an inherently green lifestyle: whether you drive a Hummer or a hybrid is somewhat insignificant because the difference in efficiency does not add up to much. The conservation horse has prevailed here, your decision of where to live has significantly limited your need to travel,  and the technology cart, or the type of vehicle you drive, is insignificant.


This principle of conservation is being applied to the design and development of the Shift Home in as many ways as possible and is starting with our investigation into the building shell and insulation. That said, we will be applying technology and renewable energy systems in every place that makes sense, but our focus is to start with conservation.  I personally hope that we can make a solar thermal system economical and effective for the Shift Home...but that will happen after we apply our energy conservation strategy.


I expect to have our assumptions challenged and learn from your ideas shared on the Shift Home website.


I hope you'll join our discussions.