Step Two – the footprint . . .

For make-a-(green) plan I want to address my home footprint. I am proud of the little home I created within the last 3 years. I am an advocate for reducing square footage in our homes. This is a popular movement with many some great resources.

My background is interior design – with commercial facility planning being my focus for 20 years. Suffice it to say, I often think graphically. I may include space planning descriptions, floor plans and other graphic elements to discuss my environment. And, since this is my professional background I want to stress how important I believe our built environment is to our life satisfaction.

The above floor plan shows the +/- 278 square feet where I live. This is an old mobile home with one side opened up to an "add-on" built many years ago. At the most basic level, I am most interested in the following aspects of the built environment.

  • Green materials
  • Found objects
  • Vertical Space
  • Multi-function
  • Anti-clutter
  • Light & Air
  • Heating & Cooling
  • Safety & Code
My home needs to provide me a place to handle basic life functions. None of these basic life functions require a lot of room. (When I had little kids and pets I needed more room.) Outside my door are oil barrels I intend to convert to planters, a harlequin-painted driveway to park my truck , a raised vegetable garden bed and, a wormery in a mirror lined walkway, a mailbox and a shed.

It is a humble footprint. But what about my carbon footprint?
Quiz Results
  • Food = 4 acres
  • Mobility = 1 acre
  • Shelter = 2.2 acres
  • Goods/Services = 2.2 acres
Total Footprint - 9 acres
In comparison, the average ecological footprint in your country is 24 acres per person.
Worldwide there exists 4.5 biologically productive acres per person.
If everyone lived like you, we would need 2.1 planets.

Wow, that just sucks. The real test for me will be to stop driving and to really pay attention to food being local, unprocessed and vegetarian. These are the biggest areas for change in my opinion. Coming in a close third is my energy use, though this quick quiz didn't really touch this area. I have television and the internet on around the clock.

So my physical footprint is very small, but my carbon footprint remains way too large. I know that it is much smaller than the average American, but still too large. I suspect this kind of relative measure will come up a lot in this upcoming year's challenge. I intend to aim for a humanitarian, international measure over the American standard as often as I can remember.