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SG-W:/ Fw: Sustainable housing

-----Original Message-----
From: Kermit Schlansker <kssustain@provide.net>
To: energyresources <energyresources@yahoogroups.com>
Cc: Malletts Creek Group <malletts@umich.edu>; <Sustainable Community <sustainablecommunity@egroups.com>
Date: Wednesday, February 06, 2002 9:30 AM
Subject: Sustainable housing

Dear All,
      Underground rooms are a good way to escape summer heat as well as winter cold. It is my belief that energy used to combat problems of moisture and Radon is less than that needed for air conditioning and heating. All solar energy available will be needed for manufacturing. However the most important thing about sustainable housing is that it must be clustered. In other words all buildings must be large, multi purpose, have at least 4 stories, and a full basement. A double basement would be better. Apartment houses save heating and cooling energy by having shared walls and ceilings. They save land so that gardens may be made close to housing. However, their biggest advantage is that they cluster settlements enough that it may be possible to walk either to work in toward a factory or outward to farm in the fields. In an energy destitute economy as much transportation as possible must be by foot, bicycle, or horseback. The single family dwelling is incompatable with inexpensive transportation. People must live in cooperative communities.
         It is a good argument that we have too much energy invested in houses to make the switch to apartments but it has to be done. One simple reason that Europe uses half the energy per capita that we do is that more people there live in apartments and ride bikes. I just hope that houses can be torn down in such a manner that materials can be saved and then used to make apartments. The alternative is to live in cramped quarters with many people in one house. Obviously we need to stop building new houses ASAP.
         The energy cost of new buildings is a big worry. I don't know how feasible it would be to build multi story straw bale apartments but even single story ones would be better than houses. It is possible that concrete block construction with straw on the exterior would be best. I  wonder why the binding material on straw bales does not deteriorate thus allowing the bales to fall apart.
          We must cut per capita energy consumption by 60%. The only way to do this is to live in planned communities that combine farming and manufacturing. Unfortunately the people on Sustainable Communities don't even understand the importance of clustering. I can't even post a sensible message there.
                                       Kermit Schlansker