Monday, May 18, 2009

Wells Scale

Malcolm Wells, the father of underground building, wrote an article that appeared in the "Next Whole Earth Catalog" about, among other things, this simple and ingenious device for rating the desirability of a building.

It's a form that you fill out by rating a building or site according to a bunch of common-sense criteria about what makes it good, healthy, and sustainable.

The left side is sinister stuff and the right side are positive counterparts. There are things like "Destroys pure water vs. Creates pure water" and "Wastes solar energy vs. Uses solar energy".

Not rocket science as they say. It's fun (or rather usually depressing) to rate the various buildings you use in your daily life. I certainly hope you find positive ratings for them. If not then it's time to move or improve.

There are lots of ways to improve existing buildings. Rainwater catchments are an easy win, even if you only use the water to irrigate. If you add an attached greenhouse to a building you can gain several advantages at once: create pure air; produces own food; creates rich soil; uses and stores solar energy; consumes its own wastes (composting); matches nature's cycles; provides human habitat; and, if done well, is beautiful.

With proper planning and a bit of engineering we can create really cool homes and buildings that exist in harmony with Nature. This simple score card makes it easy to wrap your head around what needs to be done to do it.

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