Jay Harmon, a prominent sustainable innovator, said “Nature is clean, green, sustainable… If you don’t copy nature, you’re wasting your time.” Well, I have to say that whomever created our home might not have looked at nature for the best solution in design, but they definitely used [at least part of] the basic life pattern of the necessity for an inside and an outside. Just like organisms in nature, our house provides us with so many things that keep us safe and healthy.
The main objective of a house is that it provides shelter – a basic human need. The outer shell and framework meets the life pattern of the necessity for an inside and outside. The house’s outer shell is made of bricks layered to form sturdy, resilient walls. These walls create a protective barrier against weather, other people, insects, animals, and also create a personal inside environment for living. Just inside the brick outer layer are wood slats lined up adjacent to one another to create an inner wall and ceilings. This wood provides a surface for the plaster which is the final layer.
Hence, many aspects of this design have not met the pattern of inside / outside. I think of the earth as an organism and how the atmosphere regulates the earth’s temperature by protecting life from the sun. Our house should do the same and regulate the inside temperature as well as insulate us from the cold in winter. I am still boggled as to why nothing was designed with more of that thought process. Our home’s structure could be greatly improved by deepening the way it incorporates this life’s pattern. The idea of homeostasis could be applied to achieve a balance of temperatures in all seasons — the way that water, earth and air make up the outer shell of the earth. The outer shell needs an “inner membrane” — a layer of insulation that helps to regulate temperature by containing the hot or cold within the walls.
The life pattern of outside / inside has taught me many valuable lessons about improving the design of the common house. There are elements and materials all around us that provide energy (free!) as well as heating and cooling powers. In addition to the power of the elements around us, it is so important to look at other organisms and how they “self-regulate” temperatures inside and outside the body – including humans. We plan on getting insulation in our home and new windows as well as look into a “green” solar roof, but I still feel there are many more natural processes that could further improve overall functioning of our home as a type of “organism”.