January 1, 2009

The final home zone recognizes the importance of our behavior. Living responsibly extends beyond our physical spaces into our daily actions. We must design1 the way we live as carefully as we design our rain gardens and ground-source heat pumps. In the end, we must fine-tune ourselves to become active participants in the operation of our homes.

home zone human zone

Install SmartThoughts.
If you truly want to reduce your impact, you’re going to have to upgrade your own operational software. Use your cranial mass to understand the delta between the resources you’re consuming now and what you actually need in order to live well.

Live small.
Size matters when it comes to home efficiency. If you’re building new, build small. If you’re renovating, renovate small. If you’re not building or renovating, then just live small. Or move.

Buy a calendar.2
Map out the maintenance actions you will need to respond to seasonal changes. It takes time to batten down the hatches, and it’s easy to be overwhelmed, but plan ahead and execute your steps one project at a time.3

Shape up.
Expand your comfort boundaries a notch or two4 by tweaking your thermostat a few degrees. Self-insulate or self-ventilate as required.5


  1. Yes, design.
  2. Really. An old-school calendar, up on the wall in the kitchen. Slap it onto your Energy Star fridge with a cool magnet.
  3. Why not start living more responsibly right now? List five improvements or actions you think you can actually achieve and commit to them. Be slightly proud of yourself when they become part of your newly designed lifestyle. Then pick five more.
  4. Grandma and Grandpa didn’t have all this fancy conditioned air when they were growing up. You think you’re better than Grandma and Grandpa? Huh?
  5. In other words, wear a sweater when it’s cold and peel it off when it gets warm. Keep peeling when it gets hot.

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