It seems that the wave of sustainable initiatives is growing. As we accelerate our eco-village development, it appears to dove tail with a growing demand for green homes. In the latest Technology Quarterly by The Economist the subject is covered in Home, green home and Another green revolution.
This article highlights the trend to new thinking and new systems in human living systems. As the article notes, much eco-tech has been available for a long time, but is now becoming demanded as the cost of fossil fuels rises.
This trend will make green-build not just cheaper to run, as fuel bills come down, but also cheaper to build as economies of scale and competition makes green tech more competitive and efficient.
The article, however, makes an error in focusing on the benefits of sealed buildings. While this is a useful approach, it is not natural and requires energy to operate. Other natural build systems, where buildings breath, must be explored. They are healthier and cheaper to operate.
Green tech is entirely appropriate for transition towns and retrofitting older buildings, but another dimension must be considered in development of new communities – integrated community amenities. This trend has not started, as exemplified by the responses to the UK government call for eco-village plans which all fail to propose community infrastructure. We are launching a sustainable community in Carlow, Ireland which is designed with nature in mind and we are aiming not just to build zero-carbon homes but also to create a self-sustaining community for low-impact but high-value living. Biomimicry is a design objective. We are pioneering an approach which allows humanity to live a varied and stimulating life while not costing the earth. (More info here).
Unfortunately, the real solution to humanity’s footprint has not even been raised for discussion: namely reducing the population. This solution requires a whole system rethink because currently human systems are geared toward growth. But the simple equation of the biosphere is that the sun’s energy can support only 2 billion people.