chapter  4
51 Pages

Low impact living: designing and building our homes

This chapter deals with the first of Lilac’s three elements: the challenge of how we actually conceived, designed and built a low impact community. Being low impact was so essential to us that it is a central part of the name Lilac. Living lightly on the planet, as I described in Chapter 2, was an impulse that brought us together as a community. Our approach to low impact living was a broad and holistic one that worked across a number of levels and was not simply about techno-fixes: how we chose the fabrics and materials that we built the houses from, the technologies we used to warm them and provide our energy, but also how we made decisions and deliberated on how to change our behaviour as a community to really begin to radically reduce our carbon footprint. As I mentioned in Chapter 2, the approach taken by Lilac is to see low impact living as living lightly in terms of resource use and also our social and economic impact on the planet. How can we find more equal and just ways of relating to others around us (socially, ecologically and economically), and strengthen more localized and horizontal ways of organizing?