The Slow Home Test assesses 12 universal elements of a home to determine whether it is laid out to its best advantage.
1. Location: A Slow Home is located in a walkable neighborhood that is in proximity to work, shopping and amenities in order to minimize the use of a car. Yes 3/No 0
2. Size: A Slow Home is correctly sized to efficiently fit the needs of its residents in order to reduce unnecessary energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Yes 3/No 0
3. Orientation: A Slow Home is properly oriented to the sun, prevailing winds and immediate surroundings in order to facilitate natural heating and cooling. Yes 2/No 0
4. Stewardship: A Slow Home conserves land and water for future generations; reinforces smart, compact city growth patterns; and makes a positive contribution to the community. Yes 2/No 0
5. Entry: The front and back entries in a Slow Home are good-sized spaces of transition with adequate storage and, if possible, room for a bench. Yes 1/No 0
6. Living: All indoor and outdoor living spaces in a Slow Home have good daylight, a natural focal point, and can accommodate a wide variety of uses without wasted space. Yes 1/No 0
7. Dining: The dining area in a Slow Home is a daylit space located close to the kitchen and can properly fit a table without any circulation conflicts. Yes 1/No 0
8. Kitchen: The kitchen in a Slow Home is located outside the main circulation route and has an efficient work triangle, continuous counter surfaces and sufficient storage. Yes 1/No 0
9. Bedrooms: All bedrooms in a Slow Home have good daylight, sufficient storage, a logical place for a bed and enough room for circulation. Yes 1/No 0
10. Bathrooms: All bathrooms in a Slow Home have private but accessible locations, are well-organized, modestly sized and have sufficient counter space and storage. Yes 1/No 0
11. Utility: A Slow Home has utility spaces for parking, laundry, mechanical equipment and storage that are unobtrusively located, highly functional and do not conflict with other uses. Yes 1/No 0
12. Organization: A Slow Home is efficiently organized with like rooms grouped together and clear, unobstructed circulation. Yes 3/No 0
Score 0 to 6: Fast House (10 percent of residences)
Badly designed with flaws throughout, fast houses will likely be difficult to live in and have a high environmental footprint. Purchasing a house that scores in this range is not recommended. If you own a fast house, use caution before undertaking remodeling. In most cases, not even a substantial project will be enough to fix the severity of the problems.
Score 7 to 12: Moderately Fast House (47 percent of residences)
With more poor design features than good ones, these homes are not simple to live in or light on the environment. However, they can be gems in the rough if you’re able to undertake major remodeling. Whether this is a residence you’re considering to purchase or one you already own, investigate the costs and benefits of making necessary improvements.
Score 13 to 16: Moderately Slow Home (32 percent of residences)
With a good underlying design and problems in only a few areas, these homes are already simple and light places to live. A minor remodel can often upgrade them to a Slow Home. If this is a property currently listed for sale, give it serious consideration. If it’s a house you own, congratulations, you live in a well-designed residence that, with a few small improvements, could become great.
Score 17 to 20: Slow Home (11 percent of residences)
In a Slow Home, very little needs to be done to improve the design and any improvements are relatively minor and easy to complete. Whether this is a property you already own or one you are considering to buy, you should feel confident knowing this is a home that is simple to live in and light on the environment.
To learn more about making your home healthy, gentle on the environment and a comfortable place to live, see the article "The Slow Home Movement."
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