The Future Fit Evolution

| 10/14/2008 2:51:00 PM

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I can always remember how long we’ve lived in our rambling, cozy house because we moved in just before my second son was born—more than 22 years now. The house has four floors, three of which are configured so that four boys and their friends and our dogs and their friends could run in circles and chase each other up and down stairs endlessly—a great boon during long, housebound Minnesota winters.

But now I am divorcing and have only one son, a junior in high school, still at home. I love this house and want to stay until he graduates—and beyond, if I can find a way to justify it by putting the space to work in new ways. But it is a big house, and it consumes a lot of energy.

I have been immersed in matters green for a very long time—starting with becoming a vegetarian at age 3. In some file, I have a copy of a 20-year-old energy audit, which led to a spate of caulking and a long-gone insulation blanket around my hot water heater. And I bought a Prius right after 9/11.

Despite my history, the truth is I don’t know how to begin to significantly reduce my energy footprint—and if I’m confused, despite all these years of thinking green, I’m certainly not the only one. We all would like to be responsible citizens, but there is an overwhelming amount of information along with a dearth of clear direction.

Retrofitting is the term used generally used for energy conservation, but, when the word FutureFit came to me,  I trademarked it and have been thinking about all the ways that we need to futurefit ourselves and our habits and attitudes as much as our houses. (see my “Heartland” column in the July/August issue of Utne Reader)

When I talked to Natural Home's editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence about my exploration, she encouraged me to share my process of  futurefitting my house, so this blog is the first step.