Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Slow Housing

I am currently trying out a different living situation- shared housing. I am renting a renovated apartment in an older home with other tenants. This is not anything new to most people. I imagine a large population of Americans live in some sort of shared housing, whether condos, apartments or intentional housing. But, for me, I have not really lived in too many situations where I share a building with other people. I am more inclined for singular homes promising quiet and privacy, preferably in the country. However, I have been thinking about how much more sustainable shared housing is then individual housing and about how many people around the world often live in buildings sharing walls and roofs with other people.

In regards to sustainability, it makes sense to at least try this style of living out because it is centrally located so I do not need to commute, I am sharing space that already exists with other people and making relationships. Now I just have to turn the whole building onto edible landscaping or at least a shared garden, utilizing local renewable energy and increasing energy efficiencies and energy conservation... the challenge begins with 5 Steps towards more Sustainable Shared Housing:
Step #1- find out how to utilize electricity generated from renewable energy sources... maybe even convince the landlord to invest in solar panels in which all tenants would find reduced electricity bills due to generating a portion of our own electricity needs.
Step #2- already into July, look into what type of foods can we still grow and harvest into the autumn? create raised beds or planters to share
Step #3- designate a composting corner in the shared backyard to enrich local soil and not throw away nutrient-rich food scrapes and install an easy-to-use recycling area for all tenants to use
Step #4- education on weatherization as the autumn approaches with cooler temperatures- turn the landlord of the building onto more weatherization projects for the entire building and also educate tenants on energy conservation.
Step #5- really audacious, but create a living roof to 'green-up' space or install living walls in the building to help circulate heating and cooling (depending on the season) throughout the space and create healthy atmosphere
I have been on a 'slow' kick lately, looking into slow fashion, slow food, and now slow housing. The Sharing Solution is a great informational blog speaking to this evolving movement, as more and more people consider how to live and promote sustainable living. Check out a list of what participants at a Bioneer's Conference wrote for what they thought was a "Slow Homes Movement" at: "Bioneering" Ideas for Sharing, Part 4: The Slow Homes Movement"