Today was an eye opener on just how lucky I am. As I told you in the last post, the team has moved into a Deck House in the country. One of our long term goals is to become totally off grid. We are lucky enough to already have the water and septic installed (and in good shape), so the next natural system to look to is the electrical power generation. And while there will be a (many) posts on learning about the solar world in the future, this time, I was in a conversation with the representative from the manufacturer about green building and the direction our civilization is/needs to move in.
Once we got past the BS of the greenwashing going on to sell items, we started to talk about natural methods for building that have gone by the wayside in the rush for everyone to have 19,000 sf houses with smartwater connected net technology. The first thing that my new toy has that really struck me as different was how it was sited.
In this town, you need land to build a home. This gives you a great deal of flexibility in how the building is placed on a site. I am lucky that the home we have was sited well. By that, I mean that the orientation of how this particular house is set on the land. First, it has to do with how the building is set related to the sun and its daily/seasonal path. This particular property has deep overhangs on the east and west sides. Its main roof faces south-southwest, which allows for solar heating in the winter and the potential for a large field of solar power on the roof. Second, it has to do with how the building is set related to the natural grades around the perimeter. This particular building is set on a relatively flat site at the edge of a slope down to a small creekbed below. This allows for a walk out basement that heads directly into the woods without reworking or regrading the land around. Finally, the siting of this particular house is done in such a way to give us (and our neighbors) privacy. While it may not seem a great concern to the environment, the environment is made up of people. If those people are happy and have a connection with nature, they tend to see the environment different because they have a stake in it, not just a far off concept. By having the privacy on this lot, windows will seldom be shuttered, creating a visual connection to the land.
In all, these three things, directional angle to the natural path of the sun, setting the house on the grade properly and doing so to maximize privacy and exposure to the natural surroundings, create a composition of siting the building that would make an average building an instant upgrade. Luckily for me, this is not an average building!