Lisa Stiffler tells a great tale in these Sightline Daily reports that help us better explain Sustainable Neighborhoods concepts and how they create wealth.
Our homes are the single most important investments most of us will make in our lifetimes. Homes and neighborhoods can also become enterprise centers that work for us to create local employment and provide less expensive services. These directly increase our standards of living and improve the qualities of our lives.
Neighborhoods create wealth and become exporters of services when they produce more than they consume.
Here are some examples.
- performing home energy audits and efficiency upgrades like insulation and duct sealing become power savers, and there are lots of rebates and incentives available
- installing grid tied solar photo voltaic (PV) systems and solar hot water generators makes extra power and hot water from sunlight – see Solarize Washington
- planting vegetable gardens feeds the neighborhood
- cisterns store valuable rain water for use in gardens, toilets and washing machines
- buying consumables with locally recyclable packaging reduces landfill waste
- recruiting light manufacturing and clean technologies creates home and neighborhood employment that doesn’t require travel to get to
- encouraging bicycle and electric scooter travel everywhere and walking reduces fuel consumption and increases health
- building clusters of rain gardens and using natural yard care practices provides measurable clean air, water and other ecosystem services
- working on these projects as neighbors creates community
- and exporting the surplus community spirit, inspiration and hope creates more neighborhoods like them
Rain Dog Designs puts a number of these ideas into practice by collaborating with Revolution Green Power to fold energy audits into rain garden planning and construction. It is a work in progress, and Lisa does a good job explaining the nuances of home energy audits that make solid investments into energy efficient homes. Rain gardens add by creating attractive and environmentally friendly landscapes that are less expensive and easier to maintain.