living lightly

We planned our home for several years, knowing we wanted to use the least energy possible for this climate and our location, west central Washington in the Cascade foothills

We aren't just cheap, we have accepted since the beginning of this century that two things are true – the supply of fossil fuels is limited and these forms of energy contribute to climate change. Don't think that we have any kind of early warning vision – these two facts have been reported in scientific articles since the 70s, when we first experienced energy shortages as domestic production of petroleum declined. So we are just being sensible.


We studied alternative types of construction that reduce energy consumption. There are several interesting types: straw bales and rammed earth using old times, to mention two. Interesting they are, but not well suited to our damp, cool climate. Straw bales are subject to mold and rodents, of which we have many. We don't have a suitable site for a rammed earth house, and there are construction codes that rule out that option. Mud, straw and stucco construction also fails to fit into our site on a hill with water streaming down during the rainy season.