In modern western lifestyles we typically find excessive consumerism existing in our central location which is zone 0. Most homes are consumer junkies, devouring huge amounts of finite resources and the releasing toxic or polluted air. People in this culture are spending most of their time in sick houses (or buildings for work) that are covered in chemicals, using processed materials, off gassing, and are surrounded by massive amounts of electromagnetic radiation. Our central locations are vulnerable as they are completely dependent of external resources such as electricity, gas, and even needing water being brought in from sometimes thousands of miles away.
This is why, as designers, we need to build properly designed new homes or retrofit old homes if a house already exists on the site. When we are siting a new house we should pay thoughtful observation to climate, topography, water, soil, surrounding land use, site access, vegetation, and house orientation. We want to consider where our water supply will come from, how much water do we need, how can we store the water in case of drought, what is our energy usage, how will the energy be stored, the materials we will need to use, and even what will be our main transportation. We want to be able to use as much materials from either on site or as local as we can find them. It is really important that we do use this thoughtful observation instead of relying on thoughtless action which we can see has failed by looking closely at our modern western society.
Remember, this zone will be designed to reduce the amount of energy used here, including water needs, and creating a harmonious environment in which to live and work in, as this is where we will spend the majority of our time.
During this class I challenged everyone to do a water audit these next two weeks. I will be doing a post specifically on a water audit and an energy audit, so pay attention if you want to learn how to prepare yourself for drought and learn how to become more independent.