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Housing, ecology and technology Rousseau, David Lewis 1994

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HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYbyDAVID LEWIS ROUSSEAUB.Env.Des., Antioch College West, 1973B.Arch, The University of British Columbia, 1985A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTERS OF ADVANCED STUDIES IN ARCHITECTUREinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIESTHE SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURETHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAApril 1994We accept this thesis as conformingto the required standard© David Lewis Rousseau, 1994In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanceddegree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make itfreely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensivecopying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of mydepartment or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my writtenpermission.Department of 1.CA?Ji2.._-The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate O/7DE-6 (2/88)HROUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYABSTRACTScience and technology are the operative languages of people in western industrializedsociety and, to a large degree, define our relationship with nature. This condition may betraced from its emergence in 16th century philosophical movements and the earlydevelopment of modern science. This philosophical position has been called “scientificmaterialism”. In terms of housing, it is apparent in the emphasis on isolation from, andcontrol of nature, and in the conspicuous use of energy and material resources in thepursuit of comfort and luxury.However an emerging ecological trend is beginning to influence housing today. The“natural house” and ‘Baubiologie” approaches are examined both as philosophicalmovements, and as alternatives to conventional building science. Though the realsignificance of the ecological agenda is not yet apparent in the mainstream, it is argued thatconventional high technology alone has a limited value in providing a more “ecologicalhousing”. The single family suburban home in particular is an inappropriate model forthis, even with extreme conservation measures. Environmental, social and feministcritiques are discussed.Facing ecological imperatives will require more than new technology. It will require ashift in fundamental outlook: what is expected from housing, what social and communityemphasis is needed, and what luxury features can be discarded. Finding the appropriateuses of technology for providing more ecologically responsible housing will require reexamination of the fundamental values on which technological choice is based. In thisregard, more collective housing forms hold promise for meeting both social and ecologicalagendas. Those which attempt to deal with resource allocation, urban and communitysetting and social change within a context of resource efficiency and modesty are morelikely to lead the way towards a more sustainable housing future.111HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACTIITABLE OF CONTENTSIIILIST OF TABLES AND FIGURESVACKNOWLEDGEMENTViINTRODUCTION1Chapter 1. The historical and philosophical background.6l.A. Philosophy of Science. Scientific Materialism.lB. The House as a MetaphorThe Organism MetaphorThe Machine MetaphorIC. The House as a Technological ArtifactID. Housing Technology and EcologyConclusionsChapter II Housing, nature and values. Housing technology and typology. Theparadigms of the past and present.24II A. The Early Industrial TypeEarly Ideas of Comfort and the HearthII B. The Industrial TypeComfort in an Industrial WorldII C. The Pre-Manufactured HomeTI D. The Late Industrial TypeAutomated HousingConclusions. The value of progress: Changes in residential construction andservices technologyChapter 111 Ecological values56Conclu Si Ofl S.Biotechnic ResponsesBiologic ResponsesChapter IV Scientific paradigms and housing. Building science and the “house as asystem”. Alternative models.66IV A. Building Science and I-lousing TechnologyApplying the Building Science ModelIV B. BaubiologieIV B. Is Bauhiologie an Alternative Science?ConclusionsivChapter V House or housing. New technology, the limits of technology, and newsettlement patterns and community models.84V A. Advanced Houses and Smart HousesV B. The Technological Possibilities for Change; Meeting and EcologicalAgenci a.V C. The Urban, Social and Collective Possibilities for Change. Density, GrowHouses and Co-housing.ConclusionsChapter VI Conclusions.108Technology and ecology in new housing concepts. The limitations oftechnological change. The broader agenda of changes in values andcommunity. The modest beginnings of a new direction.Bibliography117Appendix 1125VHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYLIST OF FIGURES AND TABLESFIGURESIT-I. Housing Values Diagram (From J.F.C. Turner, 1976)2511-2. Cruck Framed Roof2911-3. Mortise and Tenon Timber House Frame3011-4. Balloon Framing System & Platform Framing System3211-5. Early Kitchen (From Giedion, 1948)3711-6. All Electric Kitchen (From Giedion, 1948)3811-7. Built In Vacuum, I 9 0 (From Giedion, 1948)4011-8. Sears Roebuck Advertisement for Pre-cut Houses4411-9. The Aladdin, a Pre-cut 1-louse45IV-L Moisture Transport in a Wall Section (After Hutcheon and Handegord, 1983)69IV-2. The “Breathing Wall” Approach (After Berge, 1988)80V-i.. The Waterloo “Green Home” (After Grady, 1993)88V-2. Neighbourhood Densification102V-3. The Montreal “Grow House” (After Rybczynski and Freeman, 1990)104TABLESTI-i. Changçs In Residential Construction and Services Technology 1900-1990 (App.l)125V-i. Densification of Residential Neighbourhoods101VT-i. House Size Per Person, (Canada) 1920-1993110viACKNOWLEDGEJV[ENTSI wish to express my gratitude to my thesis committe, Raymond Cole(Architecture), Joel Shack (Architecture) and Diane Newell (History), for theircornrnittrnent to my studies, and for their guidance in completing this thesis. Iwish also to thank Bill Rees (Community and Regional Planning) forencouraging my explorations of the philosophical history of science andconcepts of ecology.This thesis is dedicated to Annie Rousseau, my life partner for 19 years,without whose support and extraordinary patience it would never have beenbegun.David RousseauApril, 1994-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY-IntroductionHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYINTRODUCTIONIn his eloquent introduction to Ethics and Technology, Henry Wiseman writes:“Over time we have come to depend on technologiesfor the solution to many ofour problems. The popular andpolitical imagination is captivated by the beliefthat they are an autonomous and neutral historicalforce. We think that newtechnologies will rectfy the old, and that the marketplace will continue tofuel thedevelopment ofmore and still better technologies and harmoniously keep allthings in balance. This is the age of the virtual de/Ication of technolo. Andthis we have conic to callprogress.”“... We can no longer rely on the misguided view that the uncritical investment inso-called neutral technologies will naturally bring about the best ofall possibleworlds. Nor should we attempt to restrain scientJlc enquily, technologicalinnovation and industrial development because ofmisguidedfears. The best ofall possible worlds must surely be based on human spirit, human values and aprofound concernfor all lfe, the environment and the earth itself” (1)Technological choices are usually justified in “objective terms” using quantitativecomparisons and measures of efficiency. However every such argument has a value laden,ideological foundation, whether it is explicit or implied. The value basis of technologicalchoice is, in cultural terms, often more significant than the stated “objective terms”.Though Wisernan’s line of questioning is meant to apply to technological innovation ingeneral, it is directly applicable to housing technology. The technological choices made inthe building industry are founded on values and assumptions (and sometimes ideologies),they are not “neutral” in any sense. However this foundation of values is highly obscuredby arguments about efficiency, consumer demands and market forces.Housing has evolved over the past four centuries in western, industrial society from asimple appendage to the barn or trade shop into the relatively elaborate complex ofcultural symbols and technologies which it represents today (2,3). This has been possibledue to the unprecedented material wealth available to most citizens of industrializednations today. Changes in construction technology and it’s associated climate control andcommunications technologies are both the means by which housing has been transformedfrom rudimentary shelter, and a result of the imbedded values which housing represents.However the fundamental needs for shelter and community have been obscured in oursociety by speculative markets, an obsession with investment value and with housingHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 2Introductionfeatures. We in the industrialized world seem to have discarded many of the social valuesof housing in exchange for the dollar value and the features. A house is not, in culturalterms, a manufactured object with a simple purpose like an umbrella or an automobile. Itcannot, therefore, be understood like any other commodity. There are far morefundamental and complex values associated with the home than with manufacturedconsumer objects.The North American suburb and its single family detached home has become the singularmodel for most residential development from the end ofWW II until quite recently. Thesuburban home is more easily treated as a consumer item due to its lack of closecommunity context, and the suburb has earned a reputation for isolation and lack ofculture (4). But the demographics, social and economic conditions, and ultimately thevalues placed in housing and the environment appear to be changing since the 1980’s. Thepopulation is ageing, family size is shrinking, unemployment and homelessness increasing,and environmental degradation becoming apparent on all sides. The cherished dream ofthe suburban home, though it is still being pursued, is turning into a nightmare of trafficjams, crushing mortgages, isolated children, utility and community service shortages,single parents under stress and a host of other problems. And in the middle of thissituation there is an emerging ecological agenda. Preserving the environment, reducingmaterial consumption and waste and reducing dependence on the automobile and fossilenergy are now added to the list of imperatives.Due to the scientific, materialist nature of our society the early responses to this growingcrisis are new technologies for conservation. Utilities and governments have made recentprogress in energy and water conservation programs, particularly through encouragingretrofit technologies and technical standards for new homes. But few fundamentalquestions about the nature of housing are being asked.In view of these contemporary issues of environmental preservation and reduction ofconsumption one question is “what is more ecologically responsive housing?” A secondquestion is ‘what is the role of technology in acheiving ecologically responsive housing?”These two questions are fundamentally interrelated for several reasons:• The means of housing are, by definition, technologies. Whether high or lowtechnologies, all have an important (and almost exclusively detrimental) impact onthe natural environment.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY- 3Introduction• The house, by definiton, is a modifer of conditions found in nature, e.g. site andclimate. The choices of land use, climate control strategies and technologiesreflect a range of attitude towards nature, from isolation and rigorous control atthe one extreme to more relaxed accomodation at the other.• Housing, particularly in industrialized societies, is a very important component ofthe consumption of energy and material resources. The predominant settlementpattern is one in which transportation, infrastructure and individual consumptionexceeds in scale and intensity that found anywhere else on earth or in history. Interms of values, this is a reflection of the assumed importance of the individual andof meeting desires for comfort and luxury.The homes of industrialized people today are several orders of magnitude more complexthan they were eighty years ago. Where the 19th century North American home was oncea simple shell, similar to the timber framed cottages of England, it now incorporatesstructural, material, hydraulic, mechanical, electrical and, increasingly, electronictechnologies. Many of these technologies were designed to solve a problem created bytechnology itself. For example residential ventilation systems are a response to changes inconstruction technology which have reduced envelope leakage and thus made ventilationnecessary. Many other technological changes, such as automated thermal control, built invacuums etc. are a response to consumer demand for more comfort and convenience. Atwhat point does technological change cease to serve housing needs and begin to servedesires; desires which are easily manipulated by advertising and other popular imagery?There is a growing debate in the industrialized world between those who promote theadvance of high technology housing production and climate control, and those who preferthe traditional values of “handmade, passive and loose-fit”. These extreme poles are bestrepresented by the 1990’s “smart house’ with it’s manufactured components and fullyelectronic controls on the one hand, and and the “natural house” with it’s traditionalmethods and materials and nineteenth century values on the other. The conventionalhomes produced by mainstream builders today fall somewhere in the middle of thisspectrum. This debate has become very prominent in Europe where proponents of theGerman system of “Baubiologie” (the biology of building) are attempting to challenge thefundamental precepts of contemporary building science on which codes and practices arebased. This debate centers on the issue ofmoisture control and ventilation in buildings,HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 4Introductionbut also embraces design, materials, light, color, electromagnetic fields and a wide rangeof other topics (5). This challenge is beginning to appear in North America.The “natural house” and the “baubiologie house” are small contemporary movements inthe industrialized world which are precisely counter to the “house as a machine” metaphor.They are, in one sense, expressions of dissatisfaction with the role of technology in thecontemporary home, and possibly in more general terms. They are a form of “appropriatetechnology” movement if not “anti technology”. As predominantly ideologically basedmovements they cannot be correctly called “alternative sciences”, but they are clearlypremised in opposition to technological innovation and conventional building science withits roots in classical physics. As such they represent a classic “insider - outsider”confrontation as described by McDonald (6). In this confrontation, the special expertiseof the “initiated technologist” (building scientist) is pitted against the moral and ideologicalposition of the “uninitiated” who argue for a “natural approach.”Though these debates have been going on for decades, and their philosophical rootsextend back to the Renaissance, there is now an important contemporary agenda added inthe form of environmental or ecological concerns. The effect of the environmental agendaon house design and construction today has been a rediscovery of energy efficiency withthe additional factors of material resource efficiency, land use efficiency, and and otherconservation matters which have been somewhat dormant throughout the 1980’s.Ironically both the high technology camps and the natural camps lay claim to having theappropriate tools to meet this agenda!What are the philosophical roots of the mainstream housing values and technologicalapproaches in Western Society? How has the history of technological change in housingmet changing needs and desires? What is the influence of building science and can it bechallenged? Is it possible to meet the ecological agenda through technological change?These are some of the contemporary questions which are the subject of this thesis.It is the purpose of this thesis to show that a more ecological housing technology has notemerged in Western society because the problems encountered are not fundamentalytechnological. They are cultural and social, economic and philosophical. A trulyecological approach to housing will not occur through technological change because thevalue basis of our contemporary housing forms has only begun to be questioned. Themost promising movements emerging are those which incorporate community, socialHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 5Introductionchange and new urban visions. They incorporate new approaches to technology which arenot necessarily high technology. They are perhaps best described as a form of‘appropriate technology” for (over)developed nations.The subject will be dealt with by exploring some of the philosophical roots of technology,the history and manifestations of values in housing, and the value position ofcontemporary science and technology in housing design, production and climate controltoday. The history of technological change in housing over the past 90 years is examinedfor patterns of emphasis. The emergence of ecological values is discussed as a newagenda which does not yet have a distinctive typology, but which is beginning to influencehousing form and technology.The conclusion of the thesis is an evaluation of the potential role and limits oftechnological change for meeting the ecological agenda in the single family home, and anexploration of the emerging urban, community and social interpretations of an ecologicalapproach.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter ICHAPTER I. The historical and philosophical background.l.A Philosophy of Science. Scientific Materialism.Neil Postman in his 1993 book Technopoly describes ideologies this way:“An ideology is a set ofassumptions ofwhich we are barely conscious but whichnonetheless directs our efforts to give shape and coherence to the world... “(1)Cain, the grain grower, murdered his brother Abel, the shepherd. Symbolically thisrepresents the transformation of human society from it’s stewardship of nature to master ofnature. Other traditions, such as the Hopi and the Navajo, describe this emergence asmoving from being a child of the creator to challenging the creator. In many traditionsthose who challenge the creator suffer, or are destroyed.The mythical memory of the destruction of nomadic society by settled, agrarian society isa starting point for this discussion. Is material progress always won at the expense of thepreceding society? And what values are we really pursuing with material andtechnological change? Robert Waller in his 1980 essay ScientfIcMaterialism writes:“The rational and the mystical are two poles ofhuman lfe. The rationalistsregard the mystics as ‘irrational’ while the mystics, those who live by experienceswhich cannot be explained in ‘rational’ terms, regard the rationalists asunenlightened barbarians” (2).In ancient times the gods and spirit creatures determined fate. Their activity was beyondthe human realm and largely unknowable. Today it is atoms, molecules and genes,physical forces, electromagnetic forces and market forces. Even many subtleties of thepsyche have been described and classified. But what is the nature of these scientificdescriptions of reality? According to Wailer, ultimately all such descriptions “are theequivalent qnythicai creations, though they are disguised as scientficfacts”. They aremodels created by the human imagination which are arbitrary and may change. Their onlyclaim to coherence is internal (i.e., their internal consistency); their only measure ofsuccess the degree to which they can predict physical causes and effects. The prevailingmythology of today is often called scientfc materialism. But again according to Wailer,“because it rules out what cannot be explained by inorganic or organic theories of lfe iteffectively wipes out halfof the human dimension” (3).HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 7Chapter IWe are metaphysical creatures, not organic machines. Though our economic and physicallife is dominated by the rules of scientific materialism, we still must live, subconsciously,by our imagination which spontaneously creates the supernatural. This profound dilemma,the inhibition of the soul by materialism on the one side, and the challenge to materialismby the spirit on the other, is perhaps the most potent psychological force at work inshaping our society today. Opposing forces, according to eastern mystical philosophy,bring about harmony when they are in balance. But are we in balance? The resentmentfor religion is based on the belief that the metaphysical imprisons the human will andmakes people ‘irrational’. That it leads them astray by directing their attention to illusoryvalues which distract from improving the world in which we actually live. The resentmentfor science is based on the belief that the mechanistic invalidates the emotions and thespirit.This debate between the voice of emotion and the voice of reason is apparent in manyfields today, particularly those most concerned with environmental responsibility andtechnological change. In this light, contemporary movements such as “eco-feminism” and“deep ecology” can be seen as reactions to several centuries of dominance by scientificmaterialist attitudes.The dilemma of scientific materialism is not due to it’s inherent qualities, but to it’s role inour collective imagination and it’s uses. Certainly almost every event which is observablecan be explained in terms of a mechanism which enables it to happen. But the mechanismis not the event. The model is not the same as reality. Reality is always much richer, moremysterious and complex than any model we are capable of conceiving. It is in realizingthe intentions behind our actions in engaging life that we must make progress. There willalways be frameworks of physical possibility around actions, but to assume that intentionsare determined by the mechanisms which have been described is to deny the philosophicalside of human ability. The uses of science through technology are not inevitable. Theywere invented and can be guided by people as moral and spiritual beings.Because the boundaries of this construct called science are not recognized, because amodel which has been mistaken for reality begins to define what is real, that which cannotbe proven (using the tools at hand) is thought to be an illusion. But it is not only theproofs, but even the questions we are able to ask which are defined by the tools we have.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 8Chapter IOne of the significant ethics of the pre-industrial world was to conserve the past and handit to the future. Today it is difficult to preserve even the present and hand it to the future.This is largely due to the juggernaut of technological change. But how does this come tobe? Neil Postman points out that tools, after all, were developed to ‘solve specJIc andurgent problems ofphysical lfe... or to serve the symbolic world ofart, politics, myth,ritual and religion.., they were not intended to attack the dignity and integrity of theculture into which they were introduced” (4).And scientific materialism leads to utilitarian zeal. It is a natural leap from learning tomaster some aspect of nature through applications of physics and mathematics, to wishingto apply these things to increasing health, prosperity and pleasure. It is as natural asimagining what a Conneticut Yankee could do in King Arthur’s Court. What enthusiasticutilitarians overlook is that science, applied by society through technology, can reach astage at which it no longer improves human life, and may also lead to ecological disaster.For example the production of chlorofluorocarbons in the 1930’s was the act of a cleverchemist who imagined what wonders could be done with a cheap, reliable refrigerantwhich appeared to be much less toxic than the ammonia which had been used before. Hecertainly never imagined the depletion of stratospheric ozone and it’s potentiallycatastrophic effects on the entire biosphere.But Progress was and is a real hope. It has only gone astray because it has not been keptassociated with our moral, ethical and intuitive side. It has gone too far along ‘rational’lines. According to Wailer: “Progress has been arrested and imprisoned by thephilosophy of sciemitific materialism We have made afine weapon of the scientficintellect no doubt, bitt it has ceased to serve the higher needs ofmankind” (5).And efficiency is the handmaiden of progress, particularly since the late 19th century. Atthis time mathematics was first systematically applied to human labour by people such asF.W.Taylor (The Principles of Scientific Management, 1911). According to the dictatesof mathematical management, the primary, if not the only goal of human labour andthought is effIciency. Calculation is said to be always superior to judgement becausehuman emotions are characterized by laxity, ambiguity and unnecessary complexity.Subjectivity is said to be retrogressive and objectivity is progress; what cannot bemeasured either does not exist or is of no value.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IUnder a regieme of efficiency, the affairs of people are guided and conducted by expertsusing reasoned arguments. But when efficiency is adopted as a single minded mandate, asan icon of perfection, what is lost? In cultural terms, important traditional values such asthe beauty of landscape, the importance of space, the necessity for a symbolic life, themerit of quality and the dignity ofwork tend to take second place. The price may also bein ecological terms, not just human. Some contemporary examples are:• Strip mining of minerals and clear cutting of forests is efficient. The loss oflandscape and habitat is the price.• Stripping old buildings, historic artifacts, trees and soil from a building site isefficient. The loss of landscape, continuity and memory is the price.• Providing low-cost, manufactured mobile homes or high-rise apartments for peopleto live in may be efficient. A poor psychological climate and the loss of importanturban qualities is the price.• Early energy conserving houses were efficient. They were well insulated and usedsolar energy effectively. The loss of domestic qualities and traditions of residentialspace was the price (6).Efficiency is a utilitarian position which is complicated by unexamined value premises. Acontemporary example is the cost-benefit analysis which may be applied to decisions asdiverse as industrial development, housing policy and medical research. A typical cost-benefit analysis appears to be highly structured, rigorous and “objectiv&’, but according tocritics, it leaves several important premises unchallenged (7):• What is the range of alternative courses being examined? Is it broad enough?• What is the definition of benefit and to whom does the benefit accrue? (n.b.philosophers have long rejected the concept of single, simple definition of benefitor “pleasure’).• What is to be counted as a consequence or cost of an action?• What is an acceptable time scale for assessing consequences?HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 10Chapter IThis criticism inevitably raises fundamental questions about the nature of objectivity; i.e.,whether it is a useful concept at all given the necessarily value laden context of anydecision. It may be that objectivity is only a useful concept for ordering information inwhat must inevitably be a value-based judgement.But where did the scientific materialistic emphasis come from in the modern westernmind? An examination of the 16th and 17th century European philosophical roots ofmodern thought is instructive.“...the real goal ofdiscovery is the endowment ofhuman lfe with new inventionsand riches” (Francis Bacon, 1597)For Francis Bacon, knowledge of nature acquired through discovery was not the mereobject of contemplation, as it had been to the ancient Greeks. Bacon believed thatdiscovery should not be be curtailed by religious beliefs, but that knowledge should be putto work so that the human race could ultimately assume mastery over nature in thepursuance of its own interests. And science, particularly the science ofNewtonianmechanics, is very well suited to our attempts to gain mastery over the material world.This is done through technology; the applications of science. It is important that theemphasis be placed on the material world, particularly in Western society, because inrecent Western traditions little emphasis has been placed on mastery of the irrational worldof the spirit. The spirit world is much more prominent in other traditions such as Buddhistand Hindu Mysticism and African Animism.But what of the value basis and intentions of knowledge? It was perhaps Rene Descartes,the inspiration for Newton’s work, who first separated values fromfacts. It was axiomaticto Descartes’ thinking that objective knowledge can be acquired without the intrusion ofvalues. This assumption is a key to contemporary technological pursuits for two reasons:first, it helps to define all problems in technical terms and suggest that there are technicalsolutions; and second, it clears the path of awkward obstacles, such as queries aboutvalues and intentions, by suggesting that they have no standing.“All philosophy is ordered like a tree. The roots are metaphysics, the trunk isphysics and the branches are all the other sciences. It is thus that all knowledge,moving like the .sap of the tree in .spring, conies to us through the orderly rules ofphy.sics. I am content that explanationsfor all matters of creation will somedayflower from the branches of that great tree, that all can be known in the clearlanguage ofmathematics.” Rene Descartes, 1596-1650HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 11Chapter IOne result of”objectification” of knowlege is the separation of the observer from theobserved, of humanity from nature, of expert from subject. Our language embodies manyexamples of this isolation such as the term resource. This term is used first in connectionwith the raw materials and energy extracted from nature to supply human enterprise. Theterms forest resources, mineral resources, fisheiy resources, agricultural resources andenergy resources are examples. It is also used in connection with available human labourand information. Personnel offices are now called Human Resources Departments. Theterm Housing Resource is used to describe the stock of housing available to supply anidentified need.The Oxford Dictionary lists the root of the word resource as the Latin resurgere, to riseagain. This original meaning implies renewal quite directly. It implies a harmoniousbalance with nature, a concern for closing the ecological ioop. But today it is rare to hearthe term resource used without the word exploit in the same sentence, except among afew environmentalists. The application of scientific materialism as a substitute for moralphilosophy and religion has made it possible to assume that science and technology have apositive value basis and direction.Thomas Kuhn in the Structure of Scientific Revolutions points out that “We are all deeplyaccustomed to seeing science as the one enterprise that draws constantly nearer to somegoal set by nature in advance. . . But” Kuhn asks, “need there be any such goal?” (8).Science is not a substitute for values. Technological change is therefore not necessarilyprogress.Because modern technology has given humanity the ability to control nature and toproduce irreversible changes, it is more critically important than ever before to questionthe direction of change.Cont,ol of nature is not only a theme of applications of technology in industrialproduction, medicine and agriculture, it is also a central theme of housing. Housingprovides weather protection (control of the indoor climate), security (control of hazards),privacy (control of human contact) and a controlled sensory environment in terms oflighting, space, color, texture, sound etc. Some of these measures of control are provided,as they have been traditionally, through the building fabric. For example roofs, walls,insulation and windows provide climate control; doors, locks, bars and window coveringsprovide security and privacy; and windows, interior space design and materials provide aHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter Iprivate visual and tactile environment. These are passive measures. They are static oroccupant operated. They do not require energy driven, active components.But control can also be provided through active means. Automatic heating, cooling andventilation provide climate control; electronic surveillance provides security; and electricallighting and home entertainment electronics provide a controlled visual and acousticenvironment. These are all electrical energy and fossil fuel driven, and require complexhardware and software. Development of these active systems has been the majoremphasis of technological change in housing since the turn of the century.The kitchen is a useful example of the shift from passive, labour-intensive, to active energyand information-intensive technologies. Changes in kitchen technology have been trackedby Gideion from the medieval period to the mid-2Oth century (9). Gideion traces thechanges from the open fire to the “efficient” all electric kitchen of 1942. This clean,efficient automated kitchen was a novelty in 1942 and was the type of image prepared fora world’s fair or futuristic design showcase. By 1960 however, nearly all North Americanhouseholds had such a kitchen, or at least expected to have one soon. Gideion’s work ofcourse predates most of the numerous small electric kitchen devices, the programmableappliances and the microwave oven which are commonplace today. The technologicalfuture has arrived quite rapidly.The transformation of the household by technological visions of this sort has reached newheights in the 1980’s. The “smart home” concept is an effort to extend fully automatedfunctions throughout the household using sensors, microprocessors and powered servoscontrolled by software. The vision is of a programmable house which will require littleparticipation by occupants, but will operate by sensing occupant movement, ambientconditions and several other parameters. Though smart homes have not been widelyaccepted, there is some demand for this degree of active home control among wealthierpeople today. This trend and its value implications will be discussed further in thefollowing chapters.The significance of emerging energy and control technology in architecture, and thereliance on it when it became available, meant that the natural environment could beignored as a factor in design. In climatic terms, the whole modern movement waspremised on the idea that buildings could be designed based on formal abstractions, andthat the same architectural solution could be applied in the arctic and the tropics. TheHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 13Chapter Iextreme climatic differences would simply be taken care of by adapting buildingtechnology, and heating and cooling machinery. Obviously this trend has increasedreliance on energy sources, and on complex hardware and software which is more costlyand less reliable than simple passive technologies. It is also increasingly incomprehensibleto typical users.In terms of public perception, many changes in home technology have been looked to aslabour saving conveniences which will lighten the load of homemaking and provide moreleisure time. This has been obviously true of major advances such as the introduction ofautomatic central heating, indoor plumbing and electric lighting and refrigeration. It is notso apparent that programmable appliances, automatic lighting controls and electric dooropeners have produced significant gains in leisure time. This topic is taken up fbrther inlater chapters.In the production of houses, technology has quite a different role than it has in theirenvironmental control functions. The technology may be as simple and labour-intensive asbare hands weilding timber, bricks and mortar. Or it may be as sophisticated andinformation-intensive as computer operated robotics cutting, welding and pneumaticnailing as is done in the Japanese manufactured housing factory. Both produce houseswhich may be almost indistinguishable in the end. The primary differences are in terms ofcapital and labour cost and expedience. Production technology also involves theextraction and manufacture of materials used in house building. This technology may alsospan a range from timber and stone, which are local and used with minimal processing, tometals, plastics and ceramics which are imported, refined and processed by very complexmachinery.In terms of public perception, production technology is largely expected to deliveraffordable, expedient and durable housing which meets performance expectations. Butproduction technology is not value-neutral, particularly in market and public policy terms.If maximum expedience and lowest cost is emphasized, then something like the NorthAmerican, manufactured modular home may be the result. If quality and durability isemphasized, then methods and materials more consistent with the best site-built housing inNorth America or the best Japanese or Swedish manufactured housing will be a morelikely result. Cost will be higher, but so will quality and performance.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IBoth in terms of housing as a controlled environment, and in terms of housing production,applications of advanced technology are now often promoted as a solution to the housingneeds facing western industrialized people today. Some suggest that advances in energyconservation technology, for example, can provide the houses people have come to expect(large, with luxury features and powered conveniences) on a tight energy budget. Or thatadvances in wood conversion efficiency can produce inexpensive building materials fromthe low grade wood which predominates today. Or that manufacturing can provide“rationalized and affordable” housing to help solve homelessness and underhousing of lowincome people. But these are problems generated by uses of technology itself or by thesocial and economic patterns which prevail. Extreme energy efficiency measures appearnecessary because the homes are large and packed with features; the trees are poor qualitydue to reckless forest harvesting over the past two generations; and people areunderhoused and homeless because of economic disparity and marginalization in oursociety which has not been adequately addressed.These are problems with complex human dimensions, and as such are not widely amenableto technological solutions. This is the fundamental failure of a technocratic (or asPostman calls it a lechnopo/ic) society. It is assumed that expertise and new inventionscan solve our social, economic and environmental problems, but the technological outlookrelied on offers no solutions to what are essentially problems of moral philosophy. Thenature of decision has been isolated from its moral foundations in western society. It isclearly necessary to be able to question what is important and appropriate in order to finda way forward.LB The [louse as a Metaphor.The house is both a metaphor and an artifact i.e., it has socio-cultural meanings as well asthe more obvious physical characteristics. Or as described by Nelson and Wright, thehouse is a technical fact, a social fact and a psychological fact (10).In architecture, as in many other fields, metaphors have an important role in expressingsubtle ideas which cannot be easily described in less evocative and poetic terms. Thesocial and psychological facts of houses are such ideas. Metaphors are symbols whichbring ideas to life by drawing on language which has deep rooted meanings. They can alsobe useful for illuminating technological facts. One of the important metaphorical debates-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -15Chapter Iof 20th century architecture is that of the building as organism or as machine. It is adebate which has been easily identifiable since the 1920’s, though Peter Collins in his 1965work Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture traces the roots of the organic and machinemetaphors in architecture back to the 1750’s. This was the period before Darwin in whichbiological classification and the basis for theories of evolution were first developed.In addition to their formal architectural implications, these two metaphors today describetwo extreme poles of a technology debate in housing. Is a building something which hascomplexities which transcend rational understanding; that is, does it have a mysticalcomponent; a spirit? Or can it ultimately be reduced to a set of equations; a precise,rational argument? This is not just a philosophical conceit, these two positions and theirunderlying values are clearly in conflict today. On the one side are the appropriatetechnology or minimum technology proponents who may also espouse cultural andemotional principles for housing, while on the other side are the proponents of hightechnology solutions, rationalization and efficiency. The remarkable thing in terms of thecontemporary agenda of environmental preservation is that both extreme schools claim tohave the ansii’er for the future; a more ecological house.The Organism MetaphorBuffon in his Flistoire Naturelle of 1749 first clearly proposed the idea of evolution as aprocess of degeneration; i.e., that organisms are created perfect (a literal interpretation ofthe book of Genesis) and begin to decline through adaptation. This approach, the exactopposite of Larnarck’s and later Darwin’s position, is entirely consistent with the era ofRousseau. Rousseau, after all, gave us the “noble savage” as natures finest work, andsuggested that civilization has only succeded in weakening the species and rendering it lessfit for survival.The primary implication for architecture expressed here is the romantic notion that naturalforms andprocesses are appropriate modelsfor human efforts, and that the mostelemental are also the most petfect. The difficulty has always been in attempting tounderstand nature well enough to emulate it at all successfully.Later, in the 19th century, Lamarck and Darwin expressed the concept of environment asthe major determinant in species evolution. The primary implication for architecture wasHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 16Chapter Ithe natural em’ironment as a design determinant. This was a highly significantdevelopment which is still quite visible as a foundation stone in environmental design and“ecological architecture trends today. By the 9th century evolution was no longerregarded as retrogressive but progressive. The literal interpretation of Genesis andRousseau’s revolution had fallen from favor and been replaced by the Roman Churchdoctrine of original sin, From this outlook, spiritual evolution consisted of atoning for ourprimitive state by becoming “civilized”. At the same time modern science and technologyhad begun to take hold, and with it came the notion that nature was a resource, here to bedissected and manipulated to human ends (the Baconian view). The scientific model,taken literally and to it’s extreme, meant that any human intervention in nature whichproduced material benefit was necessarily progress. This philosophy matured in theVictorian Age and is still widely prevalent today. In fact technology, by definition, ispremised on the idea of progress and advancing human wealth.At the same time that Larnarck was proposing theories of environmental adaptation whichwould influence Darwin, Goethe in Germany had proposed a unified “life force” model fornature in which “organic growth” could be seen as the organizing principle for thestructure of a crystal or the design of a Gothic cathedral. This powerful metaphor wouldbe later rediscovered as the basis for anthroposophical philosophy under Rudolf Steiner,and it’s modern relative “Baubiologie”, the biology of building. This school todayrepresents an extreme pole of the most literal organic metaphor.However the most literal expressions of organic metaphors in architecture are actuallyuncommon, except during the brief period of influence of art nouveau and among the rareproponents of expressionist design. The full range of interpretations of organic theories indesign is actually very broad and with little apparent common ground:• Frank Lloyd Wright spoke of organic architecture as “an architecture thatdevelops’ from within, outward in harmony with the conditions of it’c being asdistinguished from one thai/s appliedfrom without” he also used the term tomean the use of local materials and drawing formal inspiration from locallandforms etc. (11).• Both Viollet-le-Duc and Ruskin admired the way in which mediaeval sculptors hadstudied and understood that the contours of plants always expressed a function, orsubmitted themselves to some necessity of the whole organism. This functionalistHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 17Chapter Iattitude led to an architecture of strong and simple forms, not reliant on ornament(12).• Ruskin, and later William Morris espoused profoundly anti-industrial sentimentsand romanticised medieval technics. Their position was simply that the machinedetroyed the human values of craft and pride in work (13).• Louis Sullivan proposed a comprehensive biological analogy for architecture inwhich cell-like planning prevailed, functional distinctions were expressed likeorgans, and the design process followed patterns of crystalline or cellular growth.However natures processes are ultimately very difficult to fully comprehend, and soorganic theories are prone to explaining organic relationships in functional terms, as ifeach organ was a small piece of clockwork mechanism and not a part of a very complexwhole system. As Peter Collins points out, “no theory of/he development offorn2 is moremechanistic than Darii’in’s theory ofNatural Selection” (14). By this he refers toDarwin’s observation that an adaptation, such as a change in the legs of a sea turtle, wouldbe selected based only on it’s functional (i.e. mechanistic) success in helping the turtle tomove, to mate, to feed or to escape predators.It seems that organic metaphors have been efforts to understand and emulate nature usingthe philosophical tools at hand. Though efforts to learn from nature are laudable, theyhave been largely frustrated by the fact that the tools are instruments of dissection. Andonce dissected it is extraordinarily difficult to put a living system back together again.It may be that the organic metaphors which briefly surfaced in the 1970’s as part ofenvironmental design thinking will re-emerge as part of the ecological agenda of the1990’s. These models emphasized the structure of seashells and crystals, the complexrelationships between organs in living organisms, and the closed cycles ofwater andenergy found in nature (15). This is particularly likely in ecological movements such asgreen cities, commun/ty ecology and building ecology. Though he wrote in 1965, PeterCollins could sense these concerns surfacing when he remarked “The nineteenth centurynaive fciilh in evolutionary progress is now being seriously challenged, and a suspicionhas arisen that Bii//on approach may not have been entire!)) wrong”... (i.e., thatevolution is retrogressive; a fall from perfection) . . . “This does not of course mean thatHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 18Chapter Ioptimism has give!? place to pessimism, but simply that we no longer accept, like thefollowers qfDarIlIin, the idea that every change must be for the best” (16).The organic metaphor suggests that the models which are needed for directing humanefforts are already there in nature. One need only look out the window to see them.Excessive reliance on human constructs, such as science and material progress, though ithas produced wealth and comfort, must now be questioned because it has obscured theview out the window.The Machine MetaphorThe machine metaphor in early modern architecture was probably best expressed by LeCorbusier in his famous dictum “the house isa machine for living in” (17). In its mostliteral sense this remark, and Le Corbusiers illustrations of ships and airplanes as modelsfor architecture, suggest that the lessons of rigorous response to function which arenecessary for designing airplanes and ships are also important to buildings. The periodwas characterized by exuberance about the mobility and ability offered by new technology.And within that context the remark seem appropriate and optimistic.But the determinants of houses are only in part functional and mechanistic. Cultural andaesthetic values, human perception, history and sensibility are also very important. Also amachine such as an airplane is a single-purpose built item with, as Collins points out, “adestination”. As such it is hardly comparable to a building. The home is, to most, asymbol of stability, security and permanence while the airplane is a symbol of movement,freedom and transience.LeCorbusier did not mean that a house is the same as a machine in any literal sense, Hesimply meant that the same exuberance and spirit with which people had embraced themachine age, and the new materials and methods that it brought, could be applied to thedesign of the home. That we could abandon some of our traditional cultural baggageassociated with the house and view it from a fresh, modern perspective. Unfortunately itis only a short step fi’om abandoning traditions to pursuing mechanistic and technologicalsolutions to human problems. In it’s extreme form, clearly apparent today, the mechanisticmodel denies context and culture entirely, and is therefore expressly anti-human and antiurban. Criticisims of modern architecture today typically point to a landscape dotted withHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 19Chapter Ibuildings as objects, each competing with the next, each denying history and place, andfew making any concession to the street, the existing urban fabric and the potentialrelationship with it’s neighbours. It’s human purpose may even be obscured. Environmentis, after all, not only the natural elements, but the accumulated human legacy of buildingsand urban places.The two metaphors have not only formal significance for architecture, but specific andarchitectonic as well. For example Henry Glassie (18) has argued that the folk builders ofseventeenth century Virginia were profoundly concerned with eradicating the naturalqualities of their most prevalent material: wood.‘The timber, ii seems, was sawed after hewing, mainly to take it stillfurtherfromits natural stale. Hewn, then pitsawed, the framing member bore little reminderqf its’ on gin as a tree. Thin walls define a concept in the air with minimalobeisance to the natural substances ofwhich they are composed. The mainnea.s’omi thai wood ivas used was that it was present— too present. All those damnedfrees’ stood between man and his vision. The tree was chopped, dra’i.vn, hewn,.s’awed, chi.reled, shaved, pierced with nails, and hidden by paint. Nature wasmade to submit utterly to the ideas ofmcii” (19).A feminist critique of this phenomenon would not miss the metaphors of violence and rapein this passage.The “house as a machine” is a much abused and misunderstood metaphor which, due toour scientific materialist philosophy, can be said to have diminished the richness andcomplexity of the house as a cultural historic symbol. This is precisely what has beenclaimed by the contemporary “natural house” proponents. Their arguments are ametaphoric effort to counter cultural deterioration, and reach for the ideal of the organism.Though the house will typically fall far short in comparison to even a simple livingorganism, it is a higher challenge.“ifmachines are sufficiently simplified to help us understand better howorganisms’ behave, ills because the mechanisms involved in organic behavior aretoo clymiamic, too complex, too qualitatively rich, too multifold to be graspedexcept by sonic site/i simplification. But it/s not the machine that explainspurpose/ui organization: ills organic functions that explain machines.” (20)HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter II.C The House as a Technological ArtifactHousing embodies physical characteristics which are a result of technologies driven by thesocial and historical forces and metaphorical ideas which shape them. A house is thereforea technological artifact.“A technology is any systematizedpractical knowledge, based on experimentationand/or scientific theory, which enhances the capacity ofa society to producegoods and services, and which is embodied in productive skills, organization ormachineiy”. (21)There are several types of applications of technology to housing. First it is helpfiul todistinguish between building technology, climate control technology, conveniencetechnology and communications technology:• Building technology is the means by which buildings are made. It can also beextended to include the fabrication of materials and components off site, i.e.the industrial technologies of material production.• Serice,s technology is the means by which buildings are supplied withelectricity, water and fuels, and sanitary wastes are removed.• Climate control technology is the means by which building interiors are heated,cooled and ventilated and humidity is controlled. It may also includerefrigeration and water heating, illumination etc. Technologies may be passiveor active.• Con ienience technology includes devices which automate household labour.These may be portable, or built-in devices (e.g., the built-in dishwasher andvacuum cleaner). The automatic clothes washer and garage door opener areother examples. Numerous small machines such as kitchen appliances can alsobe included, but these are household technologies only because that is wherethey are used.• (‘omnn,nications / information technology includes devices which handleinformation electronically in the household. The simplest examples are thedoorbell, the telephone and the cable television system. More complexHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 21Chapter Iexamples are the security system and the electronic home control system.Again, home entertainment electronics can be included only because that iswhere they are used (though these are now sometimes built-in as hometheatres)The distinction between passive and active climate control components is usually based onthe degree to which occupant participation and electrical or fossil energy input is requiredfor operation. Convenience and communications technologies are generally activecomponents. These require active information or software” to control their activeparameters.In most applications of technology there is a spectrum of possible choices from lowtechnology to high technology. Though these are loosely defined terms, they generallyrefer to the following characteristics:Low Technology-Based on rudimentary, empirical science and observation.-Traditional methods, hand tools and muscle power.-Using readily available materials and energy with minimal processing required,e.g. wood and carbon based fuels.-Emphasis on acheiving adequate performance or technical efficiency.-Low capital but high labour requirements.Intermediate Technology-Based on widely available popular information.-Moderately mechanized methods, powered tools and vehicles.-Using common commercialized products, packaged systems, electricity and fossilfuels.-Emphasis on expediency and moderate efficiency.-Moderate capital and moderate labour requirements.High Technology-Based on sophisticated theoretical science and information.-Highly industrialized methods and tools, minimized labour, maximized logicalcontrol.-Using highly processed (and possibly rare) materials and energy forms, e.g., raremetals and minerals, electricity and microwaves.-Emphasis on high performance and efficiency.-High capital and low labour requirements.I.D Housing Technology and EcologyHousing in western industrialized society has been produced and climate controlled byintermediate technology means since the early part of the 20th century. Very little housingHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 22Chapter Inow relies on low technology, as it still does in the majority of the less developed world.High technology is also becoming a significant part of housing, particularly its applicationto energy efficient climate control equipment, security systems and communicationssystems. It is also increasingly important to the industries producing building materialsand systems if they are to remain competitive. Simply put, people in industrialized societyuse intermediate and high technology because they have built up the infrastructure whichsupports it and amassed the wealth to capitalize it. People in less industrialized societyuse low and intermediate technology because that is what is available to them and whatthey can support. What high technology is used in poorer nations is generally imported atgreat expense from industrialized nations.The emerging ecological agenda in housing has now raised to prominence questions aboutenergy and material consumption, waste, environmental health, disturbance of habitat,associated transportation usage, social equity and several other matters which have beenminor or dormant in the past. And the observable and accelerating deterioration of theatmosphere, the terrestrial biosphere and social conditions underscore the urgency of thesequestions.Due to the scientific materialist traditions in western society, technological change, onceviewed as a panacea, is considered by many to be a way of accomodating the ecologicalagenda. To what degree can technological change address these issues, and what forms oftechnology are the most appropriate? This topic is discussed in greater detail in laterchapters.CII. I ConclusionsScience and technology are the operative languages of people in western industrializedsociety and, to a large degree, define their relationship with nature. This condition may betraced from its emergence in 16th century philosophical movements and the earlydevelopment of modern science. This philosophical position has been called “scientificmaterialism”. In terms of housing, this premise is apparent in the emphasis on isolationfrom and and control of nature, and in the conspicuous use of energy and materialresources in the pursuit of comfort and luxury.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 23Chapter IThe house is a social and cultural artifact. It is also a technological artifact. Thephilosophical premises by which housing is shaped are important forces in history andmust be consciously examined when determining thture directions for housing. Forexample the historical differences between timachinet and “organism’ metaphors inarchitecture reveals some of the roots of the contemporary debate about ecologicalresponsiveness. There are several types of technology applied in housing, and there arelow, intermediate or high technology choices, but answering the question ofwhat is moreecologically responsible housing entails making technological choices which are heavilybiased in western society towards capital and information intensive types.Finding a more ecologically responsible housing involves forming a new attitude towardsnature and resources which is tantamount to remaking some of philosophical foundationsof western thought.“Through di.s’covery 0/our technological intentions we may yet master our toolsbefore Ihey master us” (22).HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IICHAPTER II Housing, nature and values. Housing technology and typology. Theparadigms of the past and present.Housing Nature and ValuesIn 1854 Henry Thoreau wrote:“From the cave we have advanced to roofs ofpalm leaves, ofbark and boughs, oflinen woven and stretched, and ofgrass and straw, ofboards and shingles, ofstones and tiles. At last, we know not what it is to live in the open air, and ourlives are domestic in more senses than we think. From the hearth the field is agreat distance. It would be well, perhaps fwe were to spend more of our daysand iiigh/s without any obstruction between us and the celestial bodies. Let uslearn from the poet who did not speak so muchfroni under a roof or the saintwho did not dwell there so long.” (1).Thoreau recognized, more acutely than most, that living indoors is a poor substitute forliving in nature. This assertion, and the popularity of Thoreau’s writing today, points outthe force of “natural philosophy” in western culture. It also raises some complexdilemmas about the nature of housing and the emerging ecological agenda, particularly innorthern industrialized countries. Housing in a temperate or extreme climate is necessarilyisolated from nature to the extent that the indoor climate must be controlled for survivaland comfort. Providing security and comfort is one of the promises of industrialdevelopment. But enclosure and security from climatic extremes is also isolation from thesensory experiences of nature which nearly all people crave. If these cravings are notsatisfied through daily living then “recreation” (literally a return to nature) must be foundthrough intentional efforts. Walks outdoors, using public parks, taking nature holidays,hiking and boating are common examples.The idea of placing housing in closer contact with nature has been popular for more than acentury in industrialized society. Many of the reform movements of the 19th century werereactions to the effects of industry and crowding on the city. The workers utopias inEngland, Ebenezer Howard’s Garden City and Wright’s Broadacre City all attempted tobring people closer to nature. But to do so has led to the low density suburb in NorthAmerica, an icon of consumption, excessive land use and transportation, and socialisolation. In ecological and social terms the North American suburb has been calledunsupportable (2,3,4).a3b: The car Paintermaximizes access tosources of social arideconomic support at theexpense of comfort andsecurity of tenure.Priorities arc wellmatched. Tire povertyof tire shack is partial ivcompensated by accessto utilities.Art)’ 10 VonrnoneIayr1ccounfsSOCIAL ACCESS:dwelling location as afturction of’ proximity topeople on whom Elsehousehold is dependentfor social support. Fromnext door to over i (lay’sretorts journey.ECONOMIC ACCESS: (Iwel I ing location as a function ofproximity to sources oftire isouseiso id’s i rscorsse.From tie sarsic St reel toover a hours’ commuteby public transport.PHYSICAL STANI)ARI)S: space, constructiorm and equipmentstamsdards frorn urisliel—tered and irriserviced toslid tered and servicedto rsiocfermm minimumstaisciards.TENURE SECURITYthe duration of theisousehold’s option forcontinuous residence.From less than r monthto more than a liktusw.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIClearly living in a wealthy, industrial society and living in nature, particularly in a moreecologically responsible manner, seems to be an almost unsolvable dilemma. Why this isso has a good deal to do with the economic basis of industrial society, but it also is due tothe values placed on housing and the way technologies are used.TFC Turner (Housing for People, 1976) makes the case that housing, building andplanning terminology universally confuses the meanings of housing with housing value.He points out that ‘the performance ofhousing, i.e. what it doesfor people, is notdescribed by housing standards; they describe only what it is, materially speaking. Yetthis linguistic inability to separate processfrom product and social valuefrom marketvalue is evident in both commercial and bureaucratic language.” (5). Social orinstitutional processes, though they have some quantifiable aspects, cannot be described inmonetary or market terms. According to Turner Quantitative methods cannot describethe relationships between things, people and nature - which is just where experience andhuman values lie.” The conclusion of Turner’s argument is that houses with highermaterial standards are not necessarily a better match for peoples needs than those withlower ones.Turner defines the non-monetary housing accounts on the basis of four value measures.Each measure is described in terms of the priority of that value and the actualization ofthat value. It is then possible to graph the (subjective) value performance of housing bycomparing the priority with the acheivement:Security of TenurePhysical StandardsSocial AccessEmployment AccessFig. 11-IHousing Values Diagram (From J.F.C. Turner)JVon-iIonetary .-lccountsC) = ZeroA = Very lowB = Low —0C = ModerateD = HighF = Very highEMPLOYMENT ACCESSactual priorityCD<XLpriority actualPHYSICAL STANDARDS—i-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -26Chapter IITurner refers to housing value as a measure of the fit between the fulfillment, orrealization of the needs of people and the housing they get. Though he writes about thecontext of poorer nations attempting to provide shelter for their poor, he is clearlyexpressing a model of value with a very broad applicability. The two most critical termswhich Turner identifies are the degree of control people have over their housing and theappropriateness 0/the technology. By degree of control he means the type of agencywhich makes housing decisions and the extent to which they are individually andcommunity controlled. The worst examples, Turner argues, are those in which a large,central bureaucracy makes housing decisions. The best are those in which the occupantshave a good deal of local autonomy. The value of control expressed here is one ofpersonal empowerment and control over ones life. Though Turner is describing lowincome housing in poorer nations there are lessons here for every housing situation. Forexample zoning bylaws and public housing authorities are important determinants ofhousing in urban areas of industrialized nations. It is readily apparent that theseinstitutions may compromise individual and local autonomy, and are not necessarily evenresponsive to basic human needs.Turner’s discussion of the second point, technologicalfit, is also essentially an argumentfor local self-reliance, but in technological terms. He points to housing solutions whichrely on high technology as mismatched to the less industrialized parts of the world. Theserely heavily on imported machinery, fossil energy and central bureaucracies. They alsorely on a capital based economy rather than a sweat and muscle economy. In nationswhere these resources are limited, these technologies create inappropriate dependencieswhich are very socially and economically unstable. Turner also argues that theseconsiderations are relevant to ordinary people everywhere; “I could have used examplesfrom Ahmedahad or Boston” (6).Though questions of basic housing values have not been asked in North America, exceptamong a few who avocate for housing rights for the less advantaged, this is only becausewealth has obscured the condition of those who have little. But this is changing. Housingis less affordable to average income earners than ever before, government housingassistance has been shrinking through a decade of recession, and homelessness is apparenton the streets of every city (CIVtHC). The questions are then raised “what housing valuesare we meeting in our rich society, above and beyond the fundamental need for shelter,through our sophisticated and highly technical housing methods”? And “are technologicaldependencies also socially and economically unstable in wealthy societies”?HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 27Chapter IIAnother definition of value in housing is offered by Swedish Housing Researcher JanEriksson. The analysis begins with a critique of modern architecture, pointing out theemphasis on practical and economic-rationalistic values to the neglect of aesthetic andhistoric values. This emphasis has produced anonymous and hostile cities. Applied tohousing, it is argued, this has left a serious vacuum and confusion of values in the builtenvironment. The model proposed is one in which “user values”, i.e. meeting the dwellingneeds and desires of the user, are distinguished from economic value (the market value ofthe dwelling), historic values and other external factors. Within the category of uservalues there are then three divisions proposed: practical, symbolic and aesthetic.Practical or functional values are the necessity for shelter and the need to meet certainfamilial or religious expectations in the dwelling. Aesthetic and symbolic values arecomplementary to the practical values. Eriksson argues that our modern traditions andmarket system have done a very poor job of recognizing user values for many people (7).Housing Technology and ValuesTo trace housing technologies, their history and value emphasis it is useful to distinguishseveral house types in terms of their applications of technology. The purpose of thisdiscussion is to discover any trends in the values implied by the uses of technologythroughout recent history. The three examined here are:Early indnstriai typeExamples: typical houses in western society until about 1900. Most rural andurban squatter houses in less industrialized nations today.Industrial typeExamples: typical houses in western society since about 1900. Most urban housesand low-rise multiple dwellings in wealthier parts of the world.Late industrial typeExamples: a few demonstrataion houses such as the “smart homes” and “advancedhomes” in wealthy societies today may be indications of a late industrial type.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIII A. The Early Industrial TypeMost of the great and lasting buildings of the ancient world were palaces or related civicworks built by slaves for an emperor. By the middle ages, however, the catherdral hadbecome the prominent building type. It was an expression of the vision of the humancommunity looking towards heaven, and as such it marked an important transitiontowards the values of common people. It was not built by slaves but by artisans who wererespected for their skill and devotion. This period is often recalled by historians as one inwhich individual and community values were compatible and continuous, and techniquewell adapted to serve them.According to Mumford“the great feat of metheval iechnics was that it was able to promote and absorbmany imporfan/ changes without losing the immense carryover of inventions andskills deriiedfroni earlier cultures. In this lies one of its vital points ofsuperiority oi’er the modern mode of lechnics which boasts of effacing, as fast aspossible, the technical acheivements of earlier periods... “(8).Where highly mechanized technology and utilities are not available, readily accessiblematerials and traditional manual methods are major determinants of housing (9). Lightingand environmental control is likely to be largely passive, i.e., a function of the location ofopenings, the building material and the local vegetation. Open fires or simple stoves,shutters and fuelburning lamps are the main technologies used. Where technologies suchas wiring, heating and plumbing are either nonexistent, or extremely minimal, the housewill not be conceived with control technology and electrical and hydraulic features inmind. This was the case in western society until the end of the 19th century, and is stillthe case among the majority of the worlds people today.Native building traditions in the Americas were as widely varied as any region on earth.There were snow shelters in the arctic, skin tents on the prairies, highly sophisticatedwood timber lodges on the west coast, pueblos in the southwest and grass huts on theCarribean islands. When European settlers arrived, their housing was also built withmodest tools and materials in America and Canada, fusing the technologies which hadbeen brought from Europe with locally available materials. Methods changed little forover two hundred years, except for the improvements in brick factories, glass works andnailmaking as these industries matured in the new world (10). Probably the two mostimportant changes in house construction technology which marked the industrialization ofHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIbuilding methods occurred during the late 19th century. These were the introduction ofstick framing (also called balloon framing) and the mass production and continentaltransportation of modestly priced materials and components such as windows, doors andeven whole pre-cut houses.Previous to these changes houses were framed using various timber methods which hadremained little changed since they were imported from Europe (11). Typical methodswere post and beam frames, using raw or roughly hewn logs shaped with broadaxe andadze. Joints were generally fastened with large wood dowels or wedges. Roofs were“cruck framed’ using a system of poles assembled into great triangular trusses (or crucks)fastened with dowels. The crucks might be split into two using a saw and raised asmatched pairs (12). These methods were slow, very labour intensive and materialinefficient , but had the advantage of using readily available local timber with minimalmilling requirements. The glass was likely to be available in very small sections as shippedfrom a few central manufacturers, the hardware made by the local blacksmith or a smallmanufacturer, and the millwork made on site, or in local shops using only hand tools.Fig. 11-2A Cruck Framed Roof.Built from hand hewn poles and fastened with pegs and wedges, this 17th century Englishframe represents minimum technology and maximum labour intensiveness.Built from pit-sawn timber and joined with mortise and tenon joints, this 17th centuryNew-England example represents an early use of basic manufactured lumber. This frametype changed very little for two hundred years.The application of power technology to manufacturing of house components created asmall revolution in the 19th century. The canal system and later the railroads also mademost parts of the expanding western frontier accessible by 1900, allowing both themovement of raw materials (such as lumber) from areas of plenty to areas of scarcity, andthe movement of finished products to markets. Though water power had been applied tomilling for several centuries, and it was used in New England and Upper and LowerCanada, it wasn’t until the 1840’s that steam mills modeled on those in England allowedmechanized production ofwood and metal products over large areas of the NorthAmerican continent. Typically powered by one or two large steam engines, these millsused long iron shafts with pulleys driving belt operated machines throughout the plant.Early woodworking machinery was limited to circular saws and power augers, but planers,shapers, jointers and eventually sanders were developed by the end of the 19th century.This plant arrangement, capable of turning out high quality doors, windows, stairs,mouldings and finishing woods, remained essentially unchanged, so long as the powersources were cumbersome and expensive. It wasn’t until the widespread use of internalcombustion engines and electricity in the early 20th century that powered manufacturing-30HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLChapter IIFig. 11-3A Mortise and Tenon IimberHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -Chapter IImachinery became lightweight, inexpensive and portable. Only at this point was the greatconstruction boom of the 20th century possible (13).The major impact of this development was the replacement of labour in construction withcapital. Between 860 and 1896 the typical labour cost of manufacturing wood flooring,paneling, sashwork and stair components in America dropped by about ten times (14).The cost saving to the builder, however, was small because highly capitalized industryrequires a return on investment. The net result of labour cost reduction was a smallchange in price, but vastly increased speed and convenience. This shift from labour tocapital set the stage for mass production and rapid urban expansion.However labour intensive traditional framing methods were not suitable for massproduction, so new methods were developed. A major change was the replacement oftimber framing with “balloon’ or “stick” framing. The original use of the term ‘balloonframe” applied to stud walls of two or more stories in height which were raised as a unit,allowing the roof to go on immediately and floors to be hung later by nailing joists tostuds. This method was probably called balloon because of the very rapid way that theouter shell took shape. Balloon framing was developed in the American midwest in the1870’s and replaced mortised timber framing very quickly.In the 1920’s a new variant of balloon framing began to appear in the western U.S. andCanada; platform framing. Platform framing is much faster and more expedient than trueballoon framing because the floors don’t have to be hung from the walls. Each floor isframed and used as a staging base for the walls of the next. This system has remainedbasically unchanged for 70 years and is used today for the majority of house constructionin the U.S. and Canada. The major changes since 1920 have been in the materials andtools employed.Stick framing reduced labour requirements, though not as significantly as machinemanufactured miliwork and other components. Unlike complex millwork, stick framingsimply requires accurate milled lumber which is not a highly manufactured product. Theresult of stick framing was expedience and some cost reductions.• HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIBalloon framing, introduced in Chicago in the1870’s, revolutionized house building. Thewall studs reach from the foundation to theroof allowing very rapid and expedientconstruction. All materials are machine made.Platform framing, introduced in Californiain the 1920’s, allowed completion of eachfloor as a staging deck for the next floor.This method is more expedient because itreduces the need for temporary staging andexcessive blocking details.Fig. 11-4Balloon Framing and Platform FramingHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIAnother important technological change was the development of reinforced concrete.This material was widely accepted by about 1910 and replaced the masonry foundationsused previously. Masonry foundations from stone are very labour intensive, but they havethe merit of using locally available materials. However they do require cement, amanufactured product. Reinforced concrete replaces a good deal of the masons labourwith cement and steel. The effect was some cost reduction, but more significantly, thetime was reduced.The value of industrialized production was largely expedience, though houses could alsobe made somewhat more cheaply. One of the obvious associations with industrializedproduction was to make houses affordable to common working people. Prior toindustrialization home ownership had been extremely class-determined and workingpeoples incomes very limited. But the industrialization of the 19th century led to growingreal incomes and growing availability of inexpensive goods, particularly in the new world.This democratization period meant that more people could purchase houses.Andrew Jackson Downing captured the spirit of the times when he wrote in the 1850introduction to The Architecture of Country Houses:“We hm’e been most anxious to give designsfor the cheap cottages. There arefe/is of thousands qfivoi*iiig men in this countt, who now wish to be givensomething ?f beauty and interest to the simple forms of cottage lfe “.The desire for home ownership, coupled with the decreasing cost and increasedexpedience made possible by new technology, has driven North American constructionand urban expansion almost continuously since the 1870’s. The only interludes have beenrelatively brief periods of economic depression and war. This phenomenon is also linkedto the massive migration from rural to urban places to take up manufacturing relatedwork. People came for the work and housing was needed. In Hamilton Ontario thepercentage of home ownership rose from 23.7% in 1871 to 50.9% in 1931. By 1966 thepercentage of home ownership in the Hamilton suburbs was 76.1% (15).Construction technology was driven by demand for expedience and lower cost, largely tomeet housing demands brought about by industrialization and urbanization. This is aclassic case of technological change driving further technological and social change.Capital and mechanical energy replaced labour, which changed the way people lived andthe kinds of communities they lived in.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIWith regard to climate control technology, the process of change was somewhat different.Henry Glassie studied housing in rural Virginia from the 18th century colonial period tothe late 19th century. The earlier Virginia examples studied were well adapted to theregional and local climate. They had high ceilings, deep porches and carefully placedshading. But in the more recent examples the designs had moved away from climaticadaptations in favor of other concerns, eventually culminating in power-operated climaticcontrol. Curiously this “devolution” of climatic adaptation far predated the actualavailability of central heating and air conditioning, or even rural electricity. Glassiesuggests that it was the attitude which first changed and then the technology whichfollowedThe architeciural characteristics that defined the house as being a goodfit in ahot, ive/ coii text were a/i extensive: 1/ic house was lfledfroni the earth; theceilings of its rooms ran high, the roofabove reached sharply into the air,additions on its ends extended its length. These features made the summersufferable.ihe c/evolution of environmental efficiency is an essay in the evolution ofintensiveness”... (i.e. cultural or technological logic replacing environmentallogic). . . “The early roofpitch was above 50 degrees; by the second quarter ofthe nine teeimth century ii hadfallen to below 30 degrees... The ceiling of the fineearly house was generally about lofeetfronu thefloor, but even a poor, earlyhouse. . . had ceilings 8-1/2 feet high, whereas (another), comparable in sizeand stains hut a centuly younger, has a ceiling afuill 2 feet lower, barely 6-1/2feet high.” (16).Glassie’s explanation for this change, which would clearly have reduced comfort in thehome at a time when no cooling or ventilation machinery was available, is helpful:“The mu/nd of the white jirmer in eighteenth-century Virginia was characterizedby mail).’ of the traits of the modern mind that are normally explained as productsof the nineteenth centuly’s inthistrial revolution. More utilitarian than aesthetic,more aimalytic than organic, more individualistic than communitarian,emphasizing precise repetition, mechanical line, and geometric objectjlcation.This inind, though rural and agrarian, was a cause of the industrial revolution,1101 a result of it. “(17).This point suggests that climatic adaptation was lost, even at the price of comfort, forreasons of expedience. The features which made the early house sufferable in the summerwere abandoned because they were too difficult and costly, too much associated with styleand class, or considered expendable by short sighted utilitarian farmers. Several decadeslater the climate control problems, largely created by this attitude, could then be solved by-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECNOLOGY-35Chapter IIelectricity and cooling machinery. This would, by then, be considered a technical miraclebecause the competence for building in response to climate was largely lost.Eaiiy Ideas of Comfort and the HearthThe notion that housing should incorporate comfort rather than bare function as shelter isa relatively new idea in western thought, and is an important part of the emergence ofhousing from mediaeval times to modern (18). Though comfort had been an importantconcept until the fall of ancient Rome, most civilized notions of comfort were lost andchairs, baths, central heating and many other technologies of comfort disappeared fromcommon use in Europe. It was not until the 15th century that concepts of comfort beganto reappear. This transformation has been well documented by Siegfried Giedion in hisclassic 1948 work Mechanization Takes Command (19).According to Jacques Ellul (The Technological Society, 1964), who also studied thedevelopment of technology in Europe:“..cOfli/orl consi.steclof a certain arrangement of.spaces in the Middle Ages. Aroom could he completely ‘finished’ even though it might contain nofurniture.Everything depended on proportions, material, form. The goal was notconvenience, bitt rather a certain atmosphere....the man of the Middle Ages didnot care i/his rooms were not well heated or his chairs hard.” (20)A significant transformation of the concept of comfort and convenience in the home wasthe introduction of more technological methods of heating. The place of the hearth can betraced this way. Fire was first used indoors in open fireplaces used since very early times.This (notoriously ineffective) method prevailed for many centuries, with the occasionaldigression such as the very sophisticated central heating methods used in Roman times.By the 16th century in Europe there were a few examples of large brick or stone stoves inhomes, though these were typically found only among a few aristocrats. It was not untilthe early nineteenth century that fire was commonly harnessed more effectively in thehome by the use of a cast iron stove. Many of these innovations were invented in the newworld. The cast iron heater soon led to the cast iron cookstove, the first truly specializedcooking device used in common homes (21). The cast iron heater, originally a “parlourstove’ type of replacement for the fireplace, was eventually replaced by a central furnacewhich was then meant to function silently and invisibly, usually in a basement location.This arrangement was common in the U.S. and Canada by the end of the 19th century.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIOnce the convenience of central heating was established, the fireplace could be redefinedas a symbolic hearth which need not necessarily function for heating at all, which is itsplace today. The fireplace in contemporary North American houses is rarely able to burnsolid fuel, but is more likely to be an automatically controlled gas burner, completelysealed from the room, with a heat resistant glass door to allow viewing of the fire. Theseunits were primarily decorative until the 1980’s when a few energy efficient models beganto appear. It wasn’t until about 1990 that it was possible to use an efficient gas fireplaceas supplementary heat in an energy efficient home. Conventional woodburning fireplaces,where they still are used at all, have been relegated to use three or four times annually,almost exclusively for holiday celebrations.In this case heating technology was improved for the sake of convenience andeffectiveness first (the practical values), but with the loss of the symbolic fire. Thesymbolic value of fire was then reclaimed by developing convenient, decorative fireplaces.Though energy efficiency has been an issue since the 1970’s, it has taken almost anothertwo decades for decorative units to also become energy efficient. Part of the reason isthat building envelope efficiency had to also increase to the point where a small and localheat source could provide useful heating. The value of energy efficiency is clearly themost recent addition to technological development, and is now a part of the broaderecological agenda.The kitchen is also a useful bench mark for the introduction of technology into housing.In the middle ages the kitchen was the hearth (literally heart) simply because houses wereundifferentiated. Trade shop or farm work took place in the same rooms as sleeping,cooking and eating. However by the end of the renaissance in Europe the kitchen hadbecome separate from the other parts of common homes. The early industrial kitchen wasa collection of “kitchen furniture” or what is today referred to in England as an “unfittedkitchen”. The sink, cooler, flour storage, dry goods pantry etc. was each a separate piecewhich could stand alone. The cooker was an independent unit, sometimes placed in aspecial room. It was never built in. This tradition of a special place for the range in earlyindustrial homes in Europe and North America recalls the tradition of the hearth as aspecial and central place (22). It also suggests the danger associated with contained fire.In the kitchen, technology was introduced slowly and with caution. Kitchen work wassomething which was kept apart from family life in the 19th and early 20th centuries, andHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY — — —37Chapter IIwas not a “proper concern for refined people” in the Victorian era. The kitchen thereforewas somewhat exempt from rapid technological change until the more democratic andpractical values of family life became more prominent. The “modern kitchen” withmechanical conveniences and efficient design did not begin to appear until the 1920’s.Fig. 11-5An Early KitchenThis 1930’s kitchen is still a “collection of furniture” with a separate range. Note thateach cabinet is an unfitted, independent unit.II B. The Industrial TypeThe way houses were made changed quite significantly during the first decades of thiscentury as industrialization advanced. Two of the most important changes were theintroduction of more manufactured materials and systems such as plywood and gypsumpanels, and the reduction of labour required on site due to powered constructionequipment. These trends will be discussed in more detail at the end of the chapter. Butmore significantly perhaps, the modern values of comfort and efficiency and thetechnologies which provided them became firmly established.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IIComfort in an Industrial WorldIn the early industrial world, comfort was still a spatial and social idea as much as it wasassociated with furniture or housing features. But to industrial society, as Ellul points out,“Comfort means bathrooms, easy chairs, foam-rubber matresses, air conditioning,washing machines, and so forth” (23). In a technological society, house function isassociated with its material technology.Technological change first revolutionized furniture, then household appliances and thenturned to mechanization of the household itself(24). This can be seen in the evolution ofkitchen designs from the country craft kitchen of the 1870’s, with it’s substantialmultipurpose spaces, into the compact and specialized kitchen of the 1940’s with it’ssurgical operating-room like efficiency. In 1942 General Electric produced its prototype‘all electric kitchen” which featured, for the first time, a functional room planned aroundits domestic machineiy and the tasks which they were to serve rather than on the basis ofmore formal and stylistic concerns as had been done in the early industrial age. Thischange in technological emphasis reflected a changing social climate. Kitchen work wasnow openly the responsibility of mother, and could take place in view of the family andvisitors. In fact the kitchen, relegated to a separate place at the back of the house duringVictorian times, could now reemerge as the heart of the home again. But this time it wasa tight and functional heart, designed for efficient work. Convenience had become anindustrial idea.Fig. 11-6All Electric KitchenBy the 1940’s efficiency and electric appliances had begun to dominate the kitchen. Themodern kitchen with it’s built-in cabinets and “specialized work area” design is alreadywell developed in this example.Hz’.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIIn the kitchen the coal or wood range was replaced by gas in many homes by the 1930’s.Though gas allows accurate control of heat, is clean burning and effective, it was receivedwith mistrust when it first became available for cooking and heating in homes. Originallymeant for lighting, where it excelled over previous technologies, people were probablyanxious about cooking and heating uses because gas is invisible, explosive and toxic sothat acceptance took some time. However by the time gas was widely accepted forcooking and heating, electricity was already a strong competitor (25). Electric ranges andappliance began to appear in the 193 0’s, and by the postwar decade had become popular.Though electricity is even more mysterious and intangible than gas (heat without flame), itwas certainly considered less dangerous. During the same period the householdmechanical clothes washer and dishwasher began to also be commonplace, as electricmotors were finally applied to hand mechanisms which had been patented in the 1850’sand 1860s.The introduction of efficiency as a value had changed the household dramaticallyy.“Labor saving” devices became a household necessity for all but the poorest in westernsociety. The introduction of new technology was advertised as liberating at the time, as itoften still is today. Mother was shown playing with the children while father read thepaper and the dishwasher took care of the dishes. But the consumer of labour savingdevices, freed from heavy toil, was now committed to a new fOrm of technologicallabour. The owner of the washing machine must understand it well enough to be able tooperate it, and now finds it necessary to have cash to purchase and operate the machine,repair the machine, purchase supplies to operate it, have the house room to keep it and areliable hot water supply. Furthermore the need for the machine will be likely to expandwith its ability. The replaceable shirt collar, for example, lost popularity by the 1940’sbecause washing the whole shirt had become so easy.In the immediate post WWII period an identifiable technology appeared that went with theindustrialized house. Certain necessities” like automatic central heating and sometimesair conditioning, were included, as well as extensive plumbing and electrical wiring. Themechanical core of the house, a concept almost unknown at the turn of the century,represented 40% of building costs by the late 1940’s (26). This includes plumbing, wiring,heating, the baths, kitchen and laundry. But above all it includes a vast array of consumerconveniences. It was ‘necessary”, by the late 50’s, to have at least electric refrigeration,an electric mixer, an automatic toaster, an electric frypan or grill, a blender and an electriccan opener in order to lead the good life. This is the result of a long period of change,;ING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOG’Chapter II-40beginning in the late 19th century, in which technological novelties became commonplace.For example, built in vacuums were available in 1910! They were huge cumbersomeaffairs installed only by the very rich (27). Today they are a common feature in newhomes of most types.Fig 11-7Built-in Vacuum (1910)Highly specialized built-inmachinery was alreadyknownin 1910. Itwasvery cumbersome andexpensive and was anovelty for the very rich.-Introduction of technologies also affected home planning. Just as the kitchen range hadbeen placed in a special room, so were eventually the furnace and water heater, the sewingmachine, the laundry machines, the television, and more recently, the excercise machines,the spa and the computer. Space planning had shifted from accomodating social valuesand traditions to including technologies.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IITechnological change seemed to be universally and unquestionably accepted asprogressive and necessary throughout the early to middle part of this century. Questionsof what is actually acheived by new technology and who is actually served were generallynot asked. It is only more recently, in the age of feminist critiques and emergingecological awareness that these changes could be examined for the values they represent.For example it is now understood that there is an important gender distinction aroundlabor saving technology in the home. When technological change was new there wereoptimistic views expressed about “liberation through technology”, and of course it was thewoman as housewife who would be liberated.“The housewife ?f the future will be neither a slave to servants nor herselfacfrudge. She iii!! gii’e less a/feu/ion to the home, because the home will need less,she II’!!! he iather a domes/ic engineer than a domestic laborer, with the greatestof all handmaidens, electricity, at her service. This and other mechanicalforcest’,liso ic i’olu/ionize the woman’s world that a large portion of the aggregate ofwoman’s energy will he conserved/or use in broader, niore constructivefields.”(Thomas Edison, Good Housekeeping interview, October 19 12)But in western society women were still expected to be in the traditional roles ofhomemaker and mother, certainly throughout their childbearing years. The “broader moreconstructive fields” which Edison referred to were simply not accessible to most women.This condition was reinforced by the marketing of the suburb and the image of the singlefamily home. For example in the post WWII era the role shift for women from wartimeworkers to peacetime wifes and mothers (or volunteers and part-time workers) wasencouraged, on the one side by the popular press (especially women’s magazines), cinemaand advertizing, and forced on the other side by actual employment discriminationpolicies. It was patriotic for “Rosie the Riveter” to give up her job to “G.I.Joe” who had,after all, risked his life for freedom. Not only was it patriotic, it was represented asworthy and attractive! Ruth Schwartz Cowan points out how advertizing has depicted thewoman at home as glowing and contented, and the working woman as cold, jealous andunfulfilled (28).If home technology has reduced the homemakers labour, what has been the consequenceof this “freedom” and what could women do with their time? Gwendolen Wright, anotherfeminist critic, observes:“The tiei’ly iwioiialized industrialized home was an improvement over theeccentricities of the preceding Victorian period. The new model would be theproper .s’effii’igfi.r the ‘home executive’ or ‘home efficiency expert’ as theHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 42Chapter IIhou,sewi! was’ rechristened. Yet higher standardcfor that housewife’speijormance meant that the hours that she devoted to her work fshe was notemployed outside the home,) did not change perceptibly. The new standardizeddwellings wi/h their simple lines andfunctionalplans, did make housework lessdiudgety and home/i/c more healthy. Butfew envisioned the modern home as away qf liberating women to pursue meaningful work outside the home. “(29)If the homemaker was freed from drudgery, perhaps there was something more fulfillingand socially meaningful for her to do than cook more elaborately, keep the home moreperfectly, volunteer more often in the community and provide more extra activities for thechildren. And perhaps this activity would be outside the home.Barbara Bergman investigated the return of women to work in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s(30). Her study suggests that labour saving devices have probably reduced the total timespent preparing meals and housecleaning, but the major advances such as indoorplumbing, automatic heating, electric lighting, refrigeration and the private automobilewere available to nearly all urbanites by 1930. Laundry machines, home freezers, newkitchen devices and powered lawnrnowers were the only real additions of the postwarperiod. According to Bergman, it is not home technology which has freed women to goback to work, it is increases in the cost of living which has instead drawn them. This, inaddition to the feelings of underemployment and dependence fostered by staying home.Childcare, she adds, is still the main responsibility of mothers, and the main domestic callfor her time, and it cannot be automated, except insofar as television can occupy children’stime. In the nuclear family, only child care by others, in home or outside, can substitutefor the parents time, and it is very costly.Ruth Cowan provides a more revealing interpretation of household technology in her 1983analysis of wornens’ housework and employment outside the home, More Work forMother. Like Bergman, she also points out that household convenience technology andadvertizing for consumer goods have increasingly tended to raise the standards expectedof homemakers, so that their worldoad has not diminished appreciably. The house isexpected to be cleaner, the food more elaborate and the children better dressed and caredfor than ever before. She suggests that domestic machinery has actually relievedfrom some of their traditional tasks such as stoking the furnace and beating the rugs, whileconvenient access to consumer goods have eliminated even more traditional men’s worksuch as grinding flour, butchering meat and mending shoes. Almost none of the benefitsof these changes have accrued to women at home (31).-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -43Chapter IIIn summary, home technology has lightened the heavy physical load of housekeeping, buthas also served to divide the social roles more sharply in the family and at home. Forwomen with families who also work outside the home, this has meant doubled burdenswhich technology cannot relieve. Labour saving technology, except in its most basicforms, has not met the promise of freedom due to social and economic forces. Thepanacea of technological progress is in conflict with social values, and more recently ofecological responsibility. Can a technology be “progressive” if it is not well matched tofilling a real and identified social need? And can the price in community and ecologicalterms be justified?In terms of the house as a technological artifact, the question can be posed by the middleof the 20th century, are building technologies, such as mechanization and conveniences(e.g. appliances and plumbing) obscuring the significant social values in housing?” Thisquestion is based directly on IFC Turner’s distinction between the material values and thesocial values of housing.It does appear that technical features and conveniences have replaced other traditionalcultural values and simple economies in housing concepts in the industrial age. Thoughthis transformation is subtle when considering the construction technology itself, it is moreapparent when considering the environmental control and convenience technology. Thistrend and its relationship to the ecological agenda is discussed further in later chapters.“Mechanical improvements alone do not suffice to yield socially valuableresults. “ (32)II C. The Pre-Manufactureci HomeAn obvious extension of the material success of the late 19th and early 20th century wasthe application of modern industrialized production to housing, just as it had been appliedto consumer commodities. The inanufrictiired home was first realized just after the turn ofthe century in the pre-cut packaged house which was very popular in the Canadian prairieand American Mid-west. The pre-cut house used conventional construction technology ofthe day, but reduced the labour and skill required on site by providing all of the pieces(frame, siding, roofing, windows, doors, interior finishes, plumbing, wiring and heating)ready for assembly. Entire towns were built from house kits shipped by rail to the west.These could be assembled quickly using less skilled labour than site built houses. One pre-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IIcut home manufacturer in the 1920’s estimated that semi-skilled factory workers usingpowered cutting machines could replace about 40% of the carpenters labour on site (33).Fig. 11-81924) Sears Roebuck Advertisement for Precut Houses.The merits of expediency and cost savings from factory cutting were heavily promoted inthe early part of this century. Before the advent of portable power tools in constructionand during the era of rapid Western expansion these houses were very popular.rpenterLaborCutBqllandOn the JobTv... pho..e.c, .1 b,Pgtfl c.. ..., ,.I4 e b e,aw,wee,Id .rth..nJ, p.y a eepeaan .,t Ih.%. th11Co. hl.d.,, Thee .h.,- heOo4. b..Id.&w.4g q, r., be,.,... - ,e.td .,& h .4.: (—. nwpfrd UlI hc.r. .be$ 0 .5e’ b,, lab ‘..fl..cpd , ...,‘Jv 4.k. fle .,.l.,.. be ,,.e,. heel—4—1__—.- o. a€W&C’,, la.,. Ill,the flt b%I.t.I,e,h.,4,l .l,.ee,d..,.,‘, ,,I..e b.e ..ea.0thII,.,. Ill .,.v. he . S.hac.p.r. •tjb’,S.•1 Lj.,_SI. In hull?! I, ‘0>.C-Iz:UIZ..C—-c)CiU(ZiZCd,CCHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 46Chapter IIThe pre-cut house, though it was very influential from about 1908 to 1945, began to losepopularity after WWII. The probable reason was that the pioneering mood of the earlypart of the century had been replaced by something more permanent. Whereas prewardevelopment in the west had been oriented towards the railway, postwar development wastypically an automobile oriented suburb outside an already established town or city.Postwar homes were mostly built by local small contractors and small developers who hadsettled in the region and taken up speculative building. The pattern which developed,largely due to the automobile, was one of dispersed land use, large detached homes andfew local amenities.This housing pattern is market driven and image oriented. The promise of lower costhousing through manufacturing technology has not been broadly realized, largely due toeconomic and geographical limitations, and resistance to change. In Canadian andAmerican home building practice, small builders have been known to be cautious aboutchange for over fifty years (34). The lack of capitalization by small contractors and thehigh financial risks they carry is often cited as a reason for caution toward innovation,particularly technological change. A fuller explanation of the failure of pre-manufacturedhousing in Canada should include several other reasons:The diversity and geographic dispersion of a nation like Canada has made itdifficult for large, capital intensive companies which could successfully premanufacture houses to compete with local contractors in homebuilding.Consequently the vast majority of building was still done until very recently bycontractors producing less than 10 homes per year. Small contractors will notmove towards mass production because they are offering labour and localknowledge (35). Only recently, as apartment and townhouse construction gains inpopularity over single family homes, have large companies capable of premanufacturing become more prominent.• There is popular demand for evidence of craft, style and uniqueness in a home. Tothe hornebuyer this usually implies site built features and details (36).• There is demand for the widest variety of designs to suit individual requirementsand local conditions. The builder’s planbooks offer hundreds of possibilities for thehomebuyer while the pre-manufactured plans are limited to a dozen at most.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIThere is demand, in some regions, for materials which symbolize durability such asmasonry, which are not suitable for pre-manufacturing.• The hornebuyer may have greater trust in the knowledge and services of a localgeneral contractor than a central manufacturer.• The small contractor can economize by selecting the best buys from a variety ofsuppliers rather than buying a package from one supplier.Another type of pre-manufacturing is the mobile home, or modular home, defined as apre-manufactured and finished unit which can be transported complete, and set up in avery short time. Though this type of manufactured house is very prevalent in the U.S., ithas been less well accepted in Canada, particularly since the late 1970’s. There is acommon negative association with mobile homes which has prevailed for many years, andhas caused municipal authorities to exclude them through zoning bylaws. Mobile homesimply poverty, transience, poor quality and fire and electrical risk to many people (37).The statistics suggest that there has been some reason for these fears. Mobile homes haveoften been poorly built, more prone to weather damage, and more susceptible to electricalfaults than other homes (38).In the U.S. there is another substantial pre-manufactured building industry; the panelizedhome industry. This type is defined as homes constructed from large sections of factoryproduced wall and floor sections which are installed on site. This type is adaptable tosmall multiple housing construction such as low-rise apartments and townhouses. Thoughup to 60% of all housing starts in the U.S. in the mid-1980’s were modular or panelized,only about 14% of Canadian housing was pre-manufactured in 1989 (39,40).Those who promote manufactured housing technology suggest that it is the next obviousstep in making housing available to those who need it, and that the demands for housingcan be as standardized as the the demands for automobiles. The potential cost savings ofmass manufacturing lead to a 20 to 25% construction cost reduction over site-builthousing of comparable quality. Unfortunately the supply of less costly housing is usuallymore limited by land and servicing costs than by building costs. In term ofmeetinghousing demands, again according to IFC Turner, housing value is not the same as thevalue of consumer commodities.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -48Chapter IIthe complex fuiic/ions ofhousing... cannot be compared to the single andsocially u,id economically questionable function of cars.... economies ofscale inhousing production... .farfrom being better, are more expensive and wasteful ofresources and increase the mis-matches between the provision of and the peoplesvariable demands/or housing... Only people and local organization - localizedhousing systems - can provide the necessary variety in housing and the greatrange ofproduction techniques needed to build it” (41).In the low cost sector of the housing market, Turners advice probably applies well inCanada and the US. Centralized planning and public housing authorities have done anotoriously poor job of providing safe and appropriate housing to low income people inour society. The most promising programs are those such as Habitat for Humanity whichare essentially local self reliance and appropriate technology movements run by volunteers.Habitat for Humanity has over one thousand chapters, mostly in the U.S., and will be thelargest builder in the world by the end of the century. They are building and renovatinghousing using salvaged and donated materials and volunteer services. The technologiesare kept very simple due to the low budget and limited skills of participants.Panellized housing primarily offers advantages to the large volume builder. It offers littleadvantage to small housing providers and those serving a local market. It is atechnological solution to complex problems which have social and cultural aspects whichare more important than than the technological and economic. But is manufacturedhousing inherently a low quality housing technology?The Japanese and Swedish experience with manufactured housing suggests that it can bevery high quality. The Japanese industry produce unique homes, designed precisely to thebuyers requirements, using computer aided design software. Though design is done usingdimensional modules, the modules are quite small allowing great variety and flexibility.The home is computer modeled, including an interior walkthroughH, and the final result iscosted and a materials list generated by the software. Some systems also send theproduction order to the factory, and in some cases programs the robotics which cut andassemble the pieces. Four of the five major manufacturers use frames formed from weldedsteel, similar to auto rnanufcturing. Many of the finishes are traditional ceramics, plastersand woods. Contrary to the Canadian experience, manufactuted housing meets a highcost, entirely urban market in Japan (42).The Swedish manufactured house has also earned a reputation as a high quality product.Up to 90% of homes built in Sweden are manufactured, using a panelized wood frameHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIsystem, and are considered by housing consumers as some of the best available qualityhousing. Sweden also exports their product to Europe and the U.S. because housingstarts have declined dramatically in Europe (43).Manufacturing technology offers some potential for providing lower cost housing, insofaras building cost is a factor in total housing cost. The most likely application is in largermultiple housing projects where economies can be gained from standardized dimensionsand labour reductions. In terms of the human fit, these are less participatory systemswhich rely on capital and machinery less than labour. As such they are less appropriate tolocal self reliance movements. In terms of ecological impact, the pre-manufacturedsystems have the potential to improve resource efficiency by applying precise engineeringand waste reduction design strategies. However increased transportation energy, and theuse of high technology gluing and foamed insulation systems which are often energyintensive and produce hazardous waste may offset these gains.II D. The Late Industrial TypeThough there has been a building boom in Canada and the U.S for about one hundredyears, the technology of house construction has not changed rapidly. The slowmovement from the I 9th century into the late 20th century is therefore unlike many otherindustries, in that methods and materials are still recognizable and labor has not beendramatically displaced. This is only true of the construction methods, however, it is notthe same case for services and environmental control technology, conveniences andcommunications, Though it is still too early to suggest that there is a recognizable “lateindustrial trend”, it is clear that built-in conveniences and communications are a growingemphasis in housing.As has been discussed in the previous section, the beginning of the 20th century markedthe introduction of plumbing and power technology into housing, most of which had neverexisted before, These technologies were primarily a response to increases in wealth anddemand for a more comfortable and convenient home. They were primarily environmentalcontrol technologies. Homes which had been heated erratically by stoves and fireplacesand lit by dangerous gas lamps now could have central heat with thermostatic control, andsafe elecric lighting. Electric refrigeration was the next important step making foodstorage more convenient and sanitary. It is not difficult to see the purpose behind these-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IItechnologies. Their acceptance was also never in doubt, as nearly all “modern people”wished to have “modern conveniences”.But in the late 20th century the idea of comfort seems to be in a state of transformationinto something more like information based convenience and luxury. The garage dooropens by radio control, supper is cooked by timed programs, ice and boiling water are ontap, and the soft chair in the automatically climate controlled room is waiting,accompanied by the TV remote control, the cordless phone and the electronically dimmedlights. The question is raised as to what lasting influence the information age, and itsassociated information technology, will have on housing.One obvious path is to wire the home with electronic devices to automate and monitor asmany aspects as possible. The result is video, audio, closed circuit TV, security monitors,heating, lighting and appliance controls integrated throughout. Exactly such an approachhas been envisioned since the late 1 970’s, and some proprietary hardware and controlsoftware is now being marketed. The systems are called variously “smart home controlsystems’, “total home automation” or other ambitious names. Though individual parts ofthis technology are now found in many new homes, it is not at all clear that the sort oftotal management offered by integrated control systems is the wave of the thture inhomes.Housing automation features do not seem to have the same clear purpose of providingprimary comfort and convenience which labor saving technology did in the industrialperiod. They do not appear to fill an identified “convenience gap” very clearly, nor dothey add particularly to free time, quality of life, or provide any similar promise that onemight expect. [11 our society we already have abundant technical means for providingsafety, security, comfort and convenience. Functions such as automated lighting control,remote appliance control and distributed entertainment wiring are primarily luxuries orperhaps “gratuitous gadgetry”.A disturbing aspect of the entertainment and security emphasis of home control systems isthat they may be an indication that home automation is a stage in the progression of thehome towards a fortress in which the illusion of security (and even comfort) can bemaintained. As our communities degenerate, and the streets become less safe, the home asan individual expression and place of reftige may become more prominent, at the furtherHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIexpense of community. This is an example of a technological solution to a social problemwhich engenders fIwther social problems.Because the significant values of high technology controls in the home are not readilyapparent, one may ask if it is a technology which exists only to justify itself, or to serve amarketing interest alone. In terms of information theory, control technologies depend ona feedback loop which receives signals and controls responses. It also providesinformation to the user. In a total home cotrol system, a video monitor gives access toinformation Such as the position of the blinds in the living room, the temperature in thebedroom, when the doorbell was last rung, what cycle the dishwasher is on and if thelaundry room door is open. For most people this is a source of noise (i.e. random orerratic information), not valuable information. Almost all of this information is readilyavailable to the senses, if needed, by simply moving through the home. Neil Postmanrefers to such technologies as creating a problem not of “information overload” but of“information trivia” (44).Home automation may also be an example of a “neurotic technology” as described byWailer (45). A technology which is adapted to a people who “must go on enjoying lifewhen in fact they are miserable”. Housing control technology can be called neuroticbecause it is an effort to use technological means to bring control into lives which arecharacterized by feelings of loss of control.“The process (technical .specializaiion and isolation,) worksfairly well insituations where there is no (‘overt) conflict with human purposes—for example inspace rocketry or the construction qfa sewer system. It works less well insituatIo,is ii ‘here technical requirements may conflict with human purposes, as inmed,ciie or architecture. “(45)These systems and their potential for meeting housing performance goals, particularlyenergy management, are discussed further in Chapter V.Information technology is probably more significant in another field which is not housingtechnology per-se, but is certainly related to the home. This field is telecommunicationsand the development of the so-called “information highway”. The relevance for housing isthat people can be connected to information networks cheaply and conveniently fromhome. This can now he done through new fiber-optic telephone services and existingtelevision cable systems. This will allow many kinds of research, consulting, publishingHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIand data management jobs to be done from in-home offices. It may also revolutionizepersonal mail, marketing and entertainment. Another important possibility is access toinformation and the ability to work which can be provided to the physically disabledthrough these systems. Unlike home control systems, these technologies are only looselyrelated to housing technologies. They would be as likely in an old timber barn as a newhigh-tech concrete apartment. Also unlike home control systems, they have been wellaccepted and are growing rapidly.Network information systems will be discussed further in Chapter 5, particularly withregard to their potential for meeting an ecological agenda.CH ii Conclusions. What is the Value of Progress?A summary of the changes in housing construction technology, services and controltechnology, and information technology over the past century helps to clarify the valueemphasis which is chosen, consciously or unconsciously, throughout the period. Thediscussion following is drawn from Table IT-i, Changes in Residential Services andConstruction Technology, 1900-1990, found in Appendix I. The discussion focuses onthe important changes in ra/ue emphasis indicated by the trends in technologies.Industrialized ConstructionDiscussion: Industrialized building materials and practices were introduced continuouslythroughout the late 19th and early 20th century. The value emphasis of these changes wasclearly on expedience and reduction in labour and cost. These changes had a modesteffect on the form of the house and the quality. They had a dramatic effect on the speedand quaililly of production. These changes were closely linked to economic and socialchanges of the period which made home ownership possible for many. This may be calledthe iechno/og,t’ of expedience.Since about 1920 the value emphasis has been somewhat different. Though changeswhich enhance expedience are still occurring in a slow and steady manner, such as theintroduction of construction panels and prefabricated panel systems, a new emphasis onHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 53Chapter IIperformance also appeared. Plywood, for example, is more expedient than solid lumber,but it also produces stronger construction which is more draft free. Insulation wasintroduced to improve comfort and energy efficiency, as were high performance glazingsystems. This may be called the technology ofperformance.Very recently, a new value emphasis has appeared which is a part of the ecologicalagenda. In addition to energy efficiency, engineered construction products and thosemade from low value or waste materials may be called resource efficient. Structuralstrand board, for example, is made from fast growing aspen and other species which havebeen undervalued in the past. Celulose insulation and a family of fiber underlayments andcement bonded claddings are made with post-consumer newsprint. This may be called thetechnology of resource efficiency.Services and Comfort TechnologyDiscus.vion. Services and climate control technologies have been incorporated steadily intohousing over the past century. The value emphasis of these changes was clearly onconvenience and public health. The most significant steps were taken early in this centurywhen electricity and indoor plumbing were widely adopted. These changes were closelylinked to urbanization, and the increased safety and convenience expected by a wealthierpopulation. More recently, ventilation standards are an example of health and comfortvalues. This may be called the technology ofhealth and convenience.Between about 1 920 and 1960 the value emphasis shifted slightly. Most of the basicconveniences were consolidated by 1920, but automation and comfort could still beftirther addressed. Air conditioning is an example of a technology which exceeds basicconvenience and provides enhanced comfort. Frost free refrigeration is anothertechnological enhancement of a basic convenience. This may be called the technology ofenhanced con i’enience or comfort.By the 1970’s another subtle shift in value emphasis appeared. Comfort and conveniencewere well established in wealthy societies, but luxury could still be pursued. Newconsumer items such as spas and saunas and specialized kitchen devices are examples.This may be called the technology of luxuiy.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 54Chapter IIThe most recent value shift, which is just beginning to appear, is a part of the ecologicalagenda. It is an emphasis on energy and resource efficiency, and ecological responsibility.Examples are energy efficient heating and ventilating equipment, lighting and appliances,water conserving fixtures and CFC free refrigeration. These developments usuallyincrease capital cost, and in some cases reduce convenience. For example the most energyefficient refrigerators are not frost free. This may be called the technology of efficiencyand ecological responsibility.Control and Communications TechnologiesDiscussion: Control and communications technologies are quite a new phenomenon inhousing. Their value emphasis has never been on providing expedience or basic comfortsbecause these are already well established; they have been almost exclusively focused onsecurity and luxury. Demand for security and luxury are closely linked to urban anddemographic trends of the 1980’s and 1990’s. The most cost effective controltechnologies have probably been smoke alarms and programmable thermostats. These aredirect extensions of the basic technologies of safety and comfort discussed previously.Some advanced control technologies may also serve an energy efficiency agenda to somedegree. Examples are lighting and heating controls. These are a form of technology ofefficiency and ecological re.sponsibihty. However most such technologies are luxuries ornovelties.Control is a constant theme throughout the past century in housing. Control over indoorclimate, control over security, and more recently, control over energy use and resourceconsumption have been prominent. Some measures of control are personal, such ascomfort and convenience. Others are more social, such as security and control overpersonal contact. Yet others are more global and ecological, such as control over energyand resource use. Providing control through technological means requires explicitunderstanding of the personal, social and global values which can be met by technology.If these are poorly identified or incorrectly placed, then the technological choices areunlikely to produce housing which fits.55HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIICHAPTER III Ecological values and technology. The emerging agenda.Ecological Values“Technology discloses man s mode ofdealing with nature” (Karl Marx 1 8 18—1882)James Lovelock (Gaia, 1979) has proposed the science of ecology as a basis forunderstanding human activity in nature at the global and local level (1). Ecology literallymeans “the study of the home”. The strictest definition of ecology means the study of therelationships between living organisms, their habitats, and other organisms. Lovelock’sdescribes “ai,imals, plants, microorganisms, and inanimate substances as linked througha complex ieh of inleidependencies in ‘o/wng the exchange ofmatter and energy incontinual c)’cles” Lovelock’s Gaia hypothesis suggests that ecological systems can beidentified at the microscopic level, the macroscopic level and even at the planetary level.These systems are proposed as models for human activity, the implication being thathuman activity should also be a part of “continual cycles’, respecting other species andinanimate substances.However the term ecological seems to be much abused today, and is rarely used in itsstrictest sense, It is applied to anything which might have an environmental preservationethic or claim associated with it. “Ecological consumer products”, “ecological buildings”and “ecological land use” are common examples.Andrew McLaughlin (ç,grding Nature: industrialism and deep ecology, 1993) hastraced the adoption and co-option of ecological terms by industry and advertising (2).Clearly there are numerous problems with applying a term drawn from biology to industryand marketing, not the least of which is the degree of committment to ecologicalpreservation responsibility indicated by the term. The same can be said of applying theterm to buildings. For this reason, varying degrees of ecological responsibility in actionhave been proposed. The extremes are often called shallow ecology and deep ecology.Shallow ecology, or shallow environmentalism, is an attitude towards the world whichplaces the human species at it’s centre. It reflects the Cartesian division between mind andmatter with nature “out there” to be exploited to meet human expectations. It is only-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter HIecological to the degree that skills are applied in the management and control of theenvironment so that it can be more sustainably or effectively exploited. Other species,resources and habitats are still sacrificed for human ends, but it is done with more carethan was done previou sly when ecosystems were less well understood. In short it is a“business as usual” approach with a green emphasis. A common example is the end-of-pipe pollution control program for an industry which reduces toxic waste withoutfundamentally addressing the nature of production or the social value of the product.Shallow ecology in building design is exemplified by many green building products.Carpets, for example, may have recycled content, or release less indoor air pollutants, butthey still go to a landfill after about seven years of use. Recycling them is still not apractical reality. Another example is energy management controls applied to inefficient orinappropriate technology. For example a programmed thermostat is put on a 60%efficient furnace in a poorly insulated building. In both cases the technology is adjusted toreduce the ecological cost, without fundamentally challenging the need for the product orservice, or the pattern of human consumption and appropriation of the biosphere that itrepresents.Shallow ecology is probably a starting point at best. It is an opportunity for people andorganizations to take small steps to begin the process of rethinking which will beultimately necessary I’or sustainability.Deep ecology, according to Lovelock, collapses the division between humans and nature.Human interests are subsumed as apart of/he living .sys/em itse’f The notion of deepecology is based on the biological principle of ecosystems in which humans are not thedominant species, and in which other species are given a voice. These are ecocentric, notanthropocen/ric systems. One of the fundamental principles of deep ecology is therecognition of the irrefutable fact that pholo.synthesis is the only true means ofproductionon the ear/h. All other uses of the term “productivity” describe processes which areultimately based on photosynthesis. The influences of this type of approach in practice arevarious, hut they are all quite radical and certainly not “business as usual”.If a forest has inherent value (and an assumed voice) then perhaps it should not be cut atall. The economic arguments about wood going to waste because it is “overmature and-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-’Chapter IIIrotting” are seen from a new perspective. In terms of forest ecology, rotting wood is notwaste, It is a habitat for many species, it provides nutrition and soil conditioning, it offerspreservation of complexity and diversity. Cutting the tree to build a house must then beseen as a use for resources which competes with other species and with the inherent valuesin nature. As such, it must be justified as meeting human shelter needs or other importantcultural values at an “acceptable cost” to ecosystems. The fact that someone can makemoney from cutting the tree and building a house with it is only one of many values to beconsidered.Following this reasoning, the realization of deep ecology in housing would certainly meana radically transformed mode of dwelling, probably barely recognizable as housing throughthe eyes of affluent people. It would necessarily allow only a fair share of resourceallocation to humans. It might have more in common, in principle if not in appearance,with nomadic and survival shelter. With shelter such as a tent, a found cave, a squattersshack or a cardboard packing crate under a highway overpass. These are prospects whichhave not even been faced yet, much less acted upon, except by those who live marginallyout of necessity.As an example of the scale of adjustment required, Canadians use energy at more thantwenty times the rate of people in India, and at more than six times the per-capita rateglobally (3). If internationally posed CO2 emissions reductions of 50% are to be metequitably (the minimum amount probably required to balance global carbon cycles), thenCanadians would have to live with about one tenth of the fossil energy now consumed.The impact of this on transportation and housing, two of the largest fossil energy users, isdifficult to imagine.The recognition of photosynthesis as the only truly productive process on earth implies aconcept of sustainability in which all human enterprise mustfunction within theboundaries of/he solar productivity of the hio.sphere. This concept of sustainability iscalled the ‘appropriated land area” model and is discussed later in the chapter.The dilemma of ecological practice is simply this: remaining within the bounds ofnaturalcycles and natural limits is contrary to the philosophy and trends ofseveral centuries ofhuman activity. Human activity has been directed towards population growth, increasingwealth and harvesting more from nature for a very long time. The ecological cost hasHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 59Chapter IIIhardly been a part of the discussion. The source of many environmental and socialproblems today is simply that humanity’s technical capability is being misapplied and isdestroying other species and habitats, including our own. This is largely an unconsciousresult of the premises and values of an entire way of life.According to architectural historian Bill Riseboro, ecological thinking in architecture, in itsmodern context, probably began in the 1970’s with the crisis in the world’s economiescaused by the sudden shortages of fossil fuel. This was the first widespread realization,during the modern age, of the limits of global resources. The two responses in the shortterm were to either take scarcity seriously, and begin to rethink our daily assumptions, orto look for further sources of supply to fuel the machines of production and consumptionof which housing is one (4).The conservation camp, perhaps most inspired by E.F. Schumacher, produced asubstantial following and the first appearance of a semi-coherent “ecologial architecture”in the mid- 1970’s. The built efforts to demonstrate this approach generally expressedautonomy and self-sufficiency as far as possible in terms of energy, water, food and waste.Typical examples are the Cambridge Autonomous house in the U.K., the Integral UrbanHouse in Berkeley, the Ark in Nova Scotia and John Todd’s New Alchemy houses in NewEngland (5,6,7).These examples emphasized modest scale and environmental preservation through energyconservation, materials and water conservation, and waste reduction. The autonomousfood and energy production features were not only demonstrations of living within naturalcycles, but were also intended to challenge the global networks of food and energyextraction, and their associated political and social agendas. These houses did notemphasize time saving convenience but, on the contrary, stressed more participation indwelling through operating the solar features of the house, the gardening, the recyclingetc. These examples often abandoned most conventional power technology (they were“off the grid”) in favor of passive or active solar systems, daylighting, wind turbines etc.They used low to moderate technologies, with an emphasis on simple, home-made, lowcost and accessible solutions. This may be called the formative period of ecological valuesin housing.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -60Chapter IIIBut as the seventies passed and the eighties arrived, the energy crisis was temporarilyforgotten, the global environmental problems denied, and a new burst of economic andphysical expansion pursued. The “we will find new sources” camp has always been themainstream, and the conservers were now relegated to a footnote. It wasn’t until thewidespread discussion of ozone depletion, global warming, deforestation, overfishing, soilloss, regional air pollution etc. of the late 98O’s that the “conserver ethic” resurfaced.But conservation and ecological responsibility can have many different technologicalmanifestations, each with their own value basis. High technology household equipment,such as 95% efficient spa heaters, tend to be “luxury with conservation” approaches.Similarly, using resource efficient materials to build a 3500 sq.ft. suburban home suggeststhat we can be more ecologically responsible, through the right technology, withoutquestioning fundamental consumption patterns.According to J,F.C.Turner, housing technology which does not simplify, improveaffordability and accessibility and decrease socio-economic polarity can be calledinappropriate technology in social terms. In ecological terms, housing technology whichdoes not fit within natural cycles and conserve energy and materials is inappropriate. Thequestion of what housing features and qualities, comforts and conveniences are to beprovided, or are considered important, is obviously the difficult problem.Addding technology to reduce energy use and waste, while attempting to deliver the samehouse size and features that the market seems to demand, also costs a great deal of moneyand tends to cut off a larger sector from access to housing. An extreme case, such as thehigh technology “advanced houses” sponsored by Energy Mines and Resoures Canada andthe Canadian Home Builders Assn., may cost up to twice what a standard “speculativebuilder” house of similar size does (8). One example is the Waterloo Green Home, asuburban example of about 2800 sq.ft. which acheives an operating energy budget ofabout 25% of a typical house built to code minimums. It does so by the use of highperformance insulation features, high technology glazing, and high technology heating andventilation systems. It has all the features of its neighbours without the large utility bill.Ironically it is still in an automobile oriented suburb, which suggest that its occupants willstill be making no savings on the one third, or more, of their total energy use which goesfor transportation. The Advanced Houses Program is discussed further in Chapter V.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IIITechnology has become our language of conversation. Because the housing we make isconvenience and luxury oriented, it is as difficult to imagine giving up some of what isexpected as it is to escape our language. And so efforts are placed on designing ways ofhaving the forest and the plywood too, or of having the spa and still being conservers.One illustration of this dilemma is the fact that as energy and materials efficiency advances,land use effectiveness continues to decline and house size and features continue toincrease. According to CMHC, the result is increasing per-capita consumption in spite ofincreased efficiency (9).An example of this phenomenon is the increasing residential electrical energy consumptionpatterns in Vancouver. Though the electrical efficiency of refrigeration, cooking, lighting,heating and ventilation equipment has increased steadily over the past three decades, theper-household consumption has actually increased, and the per-capita consumption hasincreased sharply. There are three primary factors explaning this. First the average homesize has increased by about 20% during this period, and larger homes obviously havehigher lighting, heating and ventilation loads. Second, and most important, the number ofelectrical devices per household has increased sharply. Consumer electronics, cordlessrechargeable de’v’ices and computers are just a few examples of new loads which may becontinuous. Other devices such as spas, hair dryers, curling irons and hobby machineryadd high periodic loads. And third, household population is shrinking. More 1 and 2person households means more energy is used per capita (10).Western society is laboring under a form of deception with regard to ecologicalresponsibility. Under these circumstances, moderate and low technology solutions offeran appealing philosophical antidote to the circle of expectation and consumption in whichwe are bound by our language and concepts. Morally and ethically, low technologysolutions seem, at face value, to be more ecologicallly responsible, possibly only becausethey are more traditional. An excellent example of the appeal of anti-technology” isexpressed by Anton Schneider, the originator of the Baubiologie (biology of building)program in Germany:ioclay ii’e .vee a b/ally techiio/ogized eco—hoiise, a normal house in which onlynew apparaf/is, like heci/ exchangers, sun collectors, wind generators and heatpit/lips (1/C ms/al/ed. Isn’t ciii ecological house something more than aCOii/itiiiuuioii 0/ fCChllOlOg}’ 1)1/i with other methods? Shouldn’t it be aconi’ersa/ioii iiiih nature, in harmony with her, gentle andpassive?” (11)HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 62Chapter IiiThe “alternative system” proposed by baubiologie proponents is one based on 19thcentury values of manual technology and craft. In this system the “natural” is preferable tothe “manufactured”, the “passive” preferable to the “active”, the “simple” preferable to the“complex”. This approach encompasses siting, landscape and building design issues,environmental control, lighting, electrical and materials selection. This approach has beenpopularized as the “natural house’ (12). Its appeal is clearly in opposition to many of thecontemporary trends in housing technology, particularly the advance of high technologysolutions. This movement will be discussed further in Chapter IV.And there is an added dimension to this technology and nature debate: the inescapablerelationship between ecology and socialfactors such as housing rights and gender.Housing rights and ecological preservation are visibly connected in the majority of theworld where squatters dominate the major settlements. In these regions the conflict isbetween occupation of land by poor people and the agricultural uses, industrial uses andurban development uses which others envision. The squatters are villified as pollutersbecause their precincts are unserviced and dirty, and their homes made from salvagedmaterials. Ironically these are people living on the very margins of society and absorbingvery few resources in already resource poor countries. They live by barter instead of cash,and by resourcefulness instead of material goods. They occupy a niche, in terms of humanecology, which is that of a scavenger living off the waste of others. People in thiscondition are not reliant on capital and complex technology for their housing.In the wealthier part of the world the connection between ecology and social factors ismore complex, largely due to the intervention of a money economy and more complextechnology. The clean streets and neat and comfortable homes mask a machine ofconsumption which requires vast “appropriated land areas” to supply transportation, food,water, energy, housing and other material goods. The appropriated land area model is onewhich offers an “equivalent land area” or “footprint” which is indirectly occupied by ahuman settlement, based on the productive land necessary to supply food, fiber and energythrough entirely photosynthetic (and therefore sustainable) means. According to thesecalculations, the footprint of the population (about 1.75 million) of the Lower FraserValley actually exceeds its regional land area by about twenty times. If all six billionpeople in the world were to live at a standard set by the wealthy northern hemisphere, theglobal photosynthetic capacity would be exceeded by three times (13).-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-•Chapter IIIThe real effects of the way of life practiced in wealthy nations is less visible than in poorernations. The clearcut forests, strip mines, lost topsoil, and overfished oceans which bringwealth are often far away And the local detritus is placed out of sight; it accumulates inlandfills and polluted waterways. In this context, the major land use tension is betweenhousing developers and those who wish to preserve land for recreation, animal habitats,agriculture and silviculture. Some argue that housing cannot be supplied to those in needif the available urban land is protected for ecological reasons. But the real problems inwealthy society are not the lack of resources and means, they are the inequitabledistribution of those resources. The enormous material wealth and consumption of thoseat the top is always countered by a group who are at the bottom, excluded from basiccomforts. According to Rees and Wackernagel, a wealthy family in Canada appropriatesabout six fimç.s the ecological productivity of a poor family (14).Another important factor in the ecology, technology and housing dialogue is gender. Withregard to household labour saving technology, it has been argued in a previous chapterthat the introduction of new devices such as laundry and cleaning equipment, kitchenequipment and information technology have not liberated the homemaker from housework(15). The major gains in conveniences in North American households were made early inthe century with the introduction of indoor plumbing and electricity. In fact, some haveargued, more complex technology has increased the dependence of women who stay athome on the patriarchy which keeps them there (16).Furthermore it is likely that women construct space differently from men and conceive ofhousehold function, convenience and comfort differently (17,18). Gwendolyn Wright, inher article The N/lode! Domestic Environment: Icon or Option argues that men havedominated the design professions throughout history and that women have had to conformto expectations. Examples of alternative housing types designed by women who haveworked outside these expectations emphasize simplicity and collectivism. It is probablethat the technological determinants in house design and the current emphasis on hightechnology environmental control and convenience is also a peculiarly male approach.These may he called not only an!hropoceii/ric but technocentric i.e., they emphasizedomination of nature for the benefit of people through advanced technique.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECNOLOGY-64Chapter IIIIt may very well occur that emergent feminism in urban planning and architecture is one ofthe main forces which will seriously alter the dominant relationship of our dwellingpatterns over natural systems. And from this a new relationship with technology will alsogrow.Over twenty years ago Lewis Mumford wrote:“...Ihe scientist exchided himself and with himselfa goodpart ofhis organicpoieiiftalities a,icl his historic affiliations, from the worldpicture he constructed.hould these postulates remain unchallenged and the institutionalproceduresremain unchanged, inai’i himself wi/i be ciii offfrom any meaningful relationshipwith any part of the natural environment or his own historical milieu” (19).CII Ill Conclusions.Deep ecology raises some very difficult and seemingly unsolvable questions abouthousing. Part of the problem is one of fundamental assumptions and expectations. In aneconomic system based on growth and consumption, social values tend to move towardelaborate and complex housing. Furthermore the “housing development model” placeslittle value on other species, ecosystem stability and recognition of unsupportable patternsof consumption. In terms of technology, the western philosophical tradition of seekingtechnological solutions to social and ecological problems is also no longer workable, atleast in conventional terms.Though the expectations raised by emergent ecological models are very high, and difficultto meet in housing, there does seem to be progress in revising attitudes about what isexpected from technology. It may be possible now to distinguish at least two types oftechnological responses to the ecological agenda which are special classes of technologydue to their fundamentally different philosophical foundations. This has been done to adegree by writers such as David Wann (Biologic, 1990), Bill McKibben (The End ofNature, 1989), and David Suzuki (Inventing the Future, 1989) (20,21,22).Biotechnic ResponsesThese are generally technologies allowing a more sensitive mastery of nature. They stillemphasize the special role of humans at the center, but with better knowledge of ecology,-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -65Chapter III(i.e., shallow ecology), This leads to technologies which are somewhat more ecologicallyappropriate than many which preceded them.Some principles are:• Improved engineering through emulating or harnessing natural cycles.• Improved management of habitats for sustained human benefit.• Pursuing new harvesting and processing efficiencies to yield more from resources.• Genetic engineering and plant materials for producing goods.Some examples are:• Industrial ecology i.e., locating compatible industries so that one uses the waste ofthe other.• Wind energy. Logic controlled energy management.• Selective logging.• Engineered wood products for construction.• Plastics made from vegetable oils.Biologic ResponsesThese are generally based on philosophies of belonging in nature in which human activityis not separate from that of other species (i.e., deep ecology). It leads typically to the“softest” technological approaches.Some principles are:• Learning from, and working within natural cycles, e.g., water cycles, renewableenergy and material cycles.• Preserving and restoring habitats for the benefit of other species.• “Human ecology” and “urban ecology” as design principles, i.e., design forcommunity, social equity and harmony with nature.• Using the labour of microorganisms and plants to convert waste and producegoods rather than fossil energy and synthesis chemistry.Some examples are:• Passive use of solar energy.• Wetlands protection.• The green city movement.• Biological waste treatment; composting, solar aquatics and artificial marshes.These shifts, though they are often subtle, suggest that it is possible to create newresponses which are more ecologically appropriate by redefining the models and the valueson which technological systems are designed.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IVCHAPTER IV Scientific paradigms and housing. Building science and the “house asa system”. Alternative models.IV A. Building Science and Housing TechnologyHousing technology in industrialized society is largely determined by codes andpractices based on a branch of science called building science. Building science isreally not a distinct science, but rather an amalgam of segments of classical physics.According to Thomas Kuhn (The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, 1962) science isconcerned with “The determination of signficantfacts, the matching offacts withtheory and the articulation of theory” (1). Any problem outside this range is“extraordinary science”. When Kuhn refers to facts he means properties observed innature. What is perhaps more significant is the question of how science proceeds.Again according to Kuhn “Scientists work from models acquired through education,and through. subsequent exposure to the literature, often without knowing or needing toknow what characteristics have given these models the status of community paradigms.And because they do so they need no full set of rules” (2). It is the nature and status ofthe paradigm which is the key here. It is both the strength and weakness of normalscience.A paradigm can be defined as:“a criterionJbr choosing problems that, while the paradigm is takenforgranted, can be assumed to have solutions... Other problems, including manythat had previously been standard, are rejected as metaphysical, as the concernof another (iSCpiifle, or sometimes just too problematic to be worth the time”(3).The paradigm provides the framework for scientific inquiry; the direction and limits forresearch. Without a paradigm most research would be difficult if not impossible; therange of possibilities and the rules for investigation would be too vague to allowrigorous results. But at the same time, by defining the limits of inquiry, the paradigmalso rules out a vast territory of possibility for which there is no accepted language ortheory. It tends to produce common interpretations for the same observed phenomenonwhen alternatives might also be plausible.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IVBut fortunately for science, the paradigm is a loosely defined entity itself which can bestretched if needed. In fact, according to Kuhn, the paradigm is not really a set of rulesat all, but a sort of unexpressed agreement between practitioners of science in anyparticular field. It is possible for individuals to exceed the boundaries of acontemporary paradigm, and it is possible for the paradigm to change. As paradigmschange with time, the interpretations of science change.Building science is the application of classical physics, particularly the fields ofthermodynamics and fluid mechanics to buildings, building components and systems.Specifically with regard to moisture and thermal control for building in the north, theCanadian team of Hutcheon and Handegord have perhaps done more to establishbuilding science in the past three decades than any others. In their introduction toBuilding Science for a Cold Climate they distinguish the passive and active roles ofbuildings as modifiers of climate:“The shfi towards an active role for buildings involves the deliberate adjustmentoft/ic building and its equipment so that certain features qf the indoorenvjronment can he kept constant or held within required limits. It has longbeen common practice to incorporate means ofmanual adjustment ofnaturallighting levels and ventilation, and to provide supplementary lighting andheating. Today, these and other adjustments are usually carried outautomatically with the aid Qf electrical and mechanical equipment usingelectricity and other source of energy or heating, lighting and airconditioning, and the movement and distribution ofair and water” (4).The problem with building science is that the design and operation of buildings hasalways been, and still is to a large extent, based on precedent and practice.Furthermore it involves the complexities of human response and behaviour which areill defined as science, particularly in comparisdon to physics. Hutcheon andHandegord take a modest position on the rigour of building science:“The growth of scientific knowledge has led to great advances in the analysisand rational destgn of the purely structural functions of a building. There hasalso been a great deal ofdevelopment in individual materials and components.As yet there have been relatively small advances in dealing adequately with allof the combinations of elements and with the complex interrelationships ofphenomena involved in the petformance qf the entire building. The reasons arenot hard to find. It is sufficient to note that, even now, contemporary buildingdesign draws on the knowledge and experience of almost every branch ofengineering science.” (4).-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IVThe chapter titles of Building Science for a Cold Climate are a good indication of thetopics deemed appropriate for the application of physics to buildings. They arebasically about quantifiable factors, with some attention also to human parameters. Itis important to note that the human dimension has also been acknowledged. As theobservers of conditions and users of buildings, Hutcheon and Handegord acknowledgepeople as an important part of their considerations, in spite of the difficulty withquantifying the hu man role.Some of the key topics of building science in Hutcheon and Handegord’s work aredealt with in the following way:• Thermal coifort is discussed as a function of convective and radiant energy,air flow and humidity. Meeting human comfort expectations is the goal.The roles of weather, building fabric, mechanical equipment and humanoccupants are covered.• Ventilation is discussed as a function of building air exchange due to pressuredifferences from thermal buoyancy, wind, and mechanical equipment.Meeting human needs for oxygen, dilution of carbon dioxide and odorprevention is the goal.• Building durability is discussed with regard to thermal and moisture exchangethrough materials. Energy movement through insulation and moisturetransport via both air exchange and diffusion are emphasized. The protectionof materials from adverse moisture and temperature conditions is the goal.The entire discussion is informed by the necessity to provide safe and comfortableindoor conditions, and durable buildings, while minimizing operating energy.Some of the important conclusions of this discussion, well substantiated by samplecalculations, are that:• Thermal conditions in buildings in a cold climate must be rigorously controlledto maintain acceptable comfort conditions under the adverse weatherconditions experienced. This is best done by first providing a well designedand thermally efficient building envelope, and then applying mechanicalcontrols as needed.• Natural ventilation (through opening windows and envelope leakage) is notreliable because it is weather dependent and inconsistent with comfort andenergy efficiency in a cold climate. Mechanical assistance is necessary (5).• An airtight and vapor retardant thermal envelope is necessary to providingboth comfort conditions and durable buildings. The envelope must bepredictable to allow efficient thermal control, and the risk of building damagefrom air leakage leading to concealed condensation in cold climates is high,en• HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IVparticularly with exterior finishes which are less permeable and will retarddrying of materials (6).• Materials must be protected from extremes of vapor pressure, bulk moisture,and rapid temperature swings. Water damage, expansion and contractiondamage, and frost damage are prevalent risks in a cold climate.Fig. 1V-lAir Leakage, Moisture and Heat Flows InConventional ConstructionCirculation carries heat andwallAir leakage carries moisture into wallHeat and moisture FlowAnother significant contributor to establishing building science is Joseph Lstiburek, aCanadian engineer based in Ontario. His work is summarized in a self published bookentitled simply Building Science, and a series of professional courses of the same name.Lstiburek’s work is less theoretically thorough than Hutcheon and Handegord’s, but isbased on case studies of building design and problem evaluation and remediation.ExfiltrationInfiltrationHOUSENG, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 70Chapter IVIn addition to the practical methods, an important addition to building science providedby Lstiburek is the concept of the “forgiving envelope” (7). The concept is to providepaths for escape of accumulated moisture from insulated cavities which exceed thepaths for the inmigration of moisture (This approach was recognized in the NationalBuilding Code of Canada, 1977 sec. 9.26, by allowing less rigorous moisture control inwall sections with permeable cladding). The point made is that it is impossible tocompletely eliminate moisture entry into insulated cavities, therefore it is important toallow a path for it to escape. Lstiburek ofers a solution for cold climates using an airand vapor barrier located close to the inside which allows cavities to “dry to theoutside” through permeable claddings. For a hot climate where cooling takes place, thesections have the air and vapour barriers closer to the outside to allow them to “dry tothe inside”.Lstiburek’s work in practical observation and application is more closely allied with theempirical and pracfice traditions of the building industry than with Hutcheon andHandegord’s theoretical work. The “forgiving envelope” and “drying to the inside”concepts will become important later in the chapter when alternative building systemsbased on Baubiologie are discussed.Applying the Building Science ModelNeil Postman has argued that technology is seif engendering and seif augmenting. Thisseems to be borne out by an analysis of a rigorous building science approach to housingfor a cold climate. Following a logical sequence of reasoning, based on the “systemsprinciples” of building science for a cold climate, this type of housing technologyresults:Thermal, moisture and air movement conditions in houses are interrelated.The factot influencing them are weather, the home’s occupants, themechanical systems, and the house envelope. Their interactions will qifect thehome ‘s rhemial peiformance, comfort, indoor air quality and durability.When designing and buiidin a home ii is necessary to understand theserelationships or serious problems can result.) To reduce energy use, increase comfort, and reduce interior moisture problems(such as condensation on cold suifaces in a cold climate, insulation levels inexterior components are increased beyond traditional minimum amounts.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IVHigher insulation levels increase the likelihood qfmoisture problems insideinsulated cavities because lower temperatures now occur there, and airbornemoisture reaching there can condense. This moisture can lead to rot, moldgrowth and reduced insulation peiformance, all ofwhich are detrimental toindoor conditions and building durability. It can also damage exteriorfinishes.With higher insulation levels and better windows, heat losses by conductionthrough. the envelope are reduced, and air leakage now accounts for a largerportion Qf total heat loss. Typically it increases from 30 percentfor aconventional house to 50 percent for a well insulated one.To protect insulated cavities from condensation, reduce heat losses by airleakage and improve comfort, a continuous air barrier is incorporated in theinsulated walls, floors, and ceilings. This has the added benefit of reducingthe enity f outdoor air pollution (such as dust) and air pollutants from insidethe structural cavities.Incorporating a continuous air barrier reduces air leakage which alowsmoisture and pollutants generated in the home to remain there, potentiallyleading to poor indoor air quality and damage from high humidity levels.Though come indoor pollutants can be regulated at source, those which cannotwill have to be exhausted and the remainder diluted by a reliable means ofventilation. Due to the fact that natural ventilation is random and drivenlargely by weather conditjons, continuously operated, distributed, mechanicalventilation is considered the most reliable option.The con tinuous operation of a mechanical ventilation system increases energyconsumption, largely due to the requirement for heating and cooling ofventilation air. To improve efficiency, andfor increased comfort, a heatreco veiy ventilator is recommended.The premises of physics and the emphasis on energy efficiency and comfort leaddirectly to the mechanically controlled house. This line of reasoning is now embeddedin codes and practice. There is little doubt that the results can be comfortableconditions and durable, energy efficient buildings, but is the fit with people and theirhousing values appropriate? Are the results reliable, forgiving and cost effective? Andis this the only way to acheive these ends? Strict interpretation of the contemporaryparadigm of building science and modern codes leave little room to explore otheralternatives.One of the primary purposes of science is to predict the outcome of an action. Theapplication of building science therefore produces a controlled building which willbehave predictably, at least insofar as the complex variables and interactions can beHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 72Chapter IVadequately understood. But the further housing moves toward mechanical control, themore questions are raised about the human factors.There is evidence that the mechanically controlled house may not be a particularly goodfit with the current traditions and understanding of a good deal of the public, as well asmany builders. Both anecdotal and research evidence of this mismatch is beginning toemerge in the 1980’s and 1990’s:• Fewer than 50% of Canadians use their kitchen exhaust systems while cooking.These are provided for health and safety reasons, but are found to beobjectionably noisy, to create drafts, or are suspected of being ineffective (8).• In the early passive solar housing of the 1970’s there were often solar controland night-insulating shutters incorporated in the design. Many occupants wereresistant to using these because they were not understood or considered anuisance and an eyesore. Consuequently they were left in one position ordiscarded, rendering the solar features less effective.• Energy efficiency and automated climate control features of new housing areroutinely defeated, not used by homeowners as intended, or not maintained.Ventilators are switched off, humidity controllers disconnected, solar controldevices not used and thermostats are de-programmed. Many devices areallowed to fall into disrepair and abandonment.• Some builders and owners who don’t trust the reasoning behind coderequirements for continuous air-vapour barriers have been known to slash themwith a knife after inspection to “let the house breathe”. This is still foundoccasionally by inspectors and home warranty agents.The problem is probably a combination of lack of understanding, and the poor fit withhousing traditions. Shutters are traditionally understood as devices for privacy andsecurity in temperate climates. Only in warmer regions have they been used for solarcontrol. Extending the use of shutters in a temperate region to include insulation andsolar control functions is a novelty for which there is little precedent. Furthermoreautomatic control of heating has become an expected feature in housing in theindustrialized world over the past eighty years. Consequently there is now a good dealof resistance to active participation in thermal control. Technological capabilities havealtered standards and expectations.Exhaust fans are a relatively new phenomenon in housing and have only becomecommon in the past 20 years. The problem here is that the purpose of fans is toimprove moisture and air contaminant removal in well insulated and draft-sealedhomes. Before homes were draft-sealed, this function was a good deal less critical and-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -73Chapter IVwas left to chance. However most people do not understand the difference between theslack and leaky homes of the 1960’s, and the well insulated and draft-free homes oftoday. Most cannot perceive the need for exhaust fans because, apart from burningfood, the buildup of indoor air pollutants and excess moisture is relatively subtle. Evenwhen visible moisture damage occurs, it is often thought to be from some other cause,such as a leaky pipe or damaged roof. Housing technology has changed far in advanceof peoples’ understanding of their homes.Slashing of the air/vapour barrier is very likely to be a case of misdirected blame formoisture problems, and of mistrust of the changes in building technology and codes.For example, builders will notice condensation in the insulated cavities of a new homebefore the wallboard is put up. If they do not understand that it is probably excessmoisture evaporating froiii fresh wood and concrete, and that it will escape to theoutside in most cases, they may believe that it must be “vented to the inside where itcan be dried by the heat”. Though this is precisely the reverse of what is likely tohappen, it seems eminently sensible to many. The mistrust of code changes is oftensupported by arguments from builders such as “we never had moisture problems untilwe started adding all of this extra insulation”. It is true of course that a very leaky andpoorly insulated house will not have moisture problems. But neither will it ever meetthe growing expectations for comfort and energy performance. Once new buildingtechnologies are adopted, it seems necessary to follow through to their logicalconclusion.IV B. BaubiologieThe philosophical debates between reason and emotion and between the machine andorganic metaphors have been discussed in chapter 1. This confrontation has beenprominent for three centuries, and is today the source of several new manifestations of“romantic natural philosophy”. These can best be seen as reactions to the Baconianview and are perhaps most closely allied with the philosophy of Goethe and thewritings of other philosophers including the Americans Thoreau and Emerson. Thisgroup has been called the “natural philosophers” because their concepts are closelyallied with observance of nature’s patterns and of learning from, and accomodatingthem, as far as possible.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 74Chapter IVFrom this “natural philosophy” tradition a “natural building” movement has recentlyemerged which raises challenges to contemporary building practice and buildingscience. Jacques Ellul in his challenge of technology has expressed the philosophy ofbuilding in nature this way:“Man was made to do his daily work with his muscles, but see him now, like afly on flypaper, seared for eight hours motionless at a desk. Fifteen minutes ofexercise cannot make tip for eight hours qf absence. The human being wasmade to breathe the good air of nature, but what he breathes is an obscurecompound of acids and coal tars. He was createdfor a living environment, buthe dwells in a lunar world of stone, cement, asphalt, glass, cast iron and steel.The trees ‘wi/i and blanch among sterile and blind stone facades.. . . Man wascreated to have rooms to move about in, to gaze into far distances, to live inrooms which, even when [hey were tiny, opened out onto fields” (9).Baubiologie (literally “building biology”) is intended as a comprehensive program toplace the design of communities, houses and the spaces inside them on an “ecological”or “natural” footing. Baubiologie is a teaching program and series of consultancies inEurope and the U.S. which have been active for several years. The published materialsare a set of principles which have many of the hallmarks of a science, but are clearlyintended as an allernative to classical physics as applied to buildings. Comparison ofthe topics in the Baubiologie texts with that of building science texts indicates that therange of topics included certainly exceeds that of any building science system; it alsoexceeds the boundaries of normal science as defined by Kuhn. The general character ofthe course material is philosophical rather than reductionist, intuitive rather thanempirical, and assertive rather than deductive. One might easily say that it is, at times,dogmatic. It relies heavily on metaphors such as “the building is a third skin for itsoccupants”.Baubiologie was chosen for this discussion because it is presented as an alternativescience, and because it is a philosophically attractive alternative to contemporarypractice. Though it can be shown that there are serious problems with the quality andconsistency of the texts, and the challenge to conventional science does not stand upwell to scrutiny, it is none-the-less persuasive to many. There are several thousandgraduates claimed for the Baubiologie program in Europe who practice professionallyand have a clientele, and the program is spreading to North America. Most arearchitects, allied design professionals, and builders. Though its proponents do notenjoy wide acceptance among mainstream building scientists, environmental scientistsHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 75Chapter IVand health scientists, some of the questions raised about current practice are legitimateand significant.The range of material presented in the course guide is very large, too large to discuss indetail in this context, but it is instructive to note its emphasis on comprehensive scopeas opposed to significant depth. Some of the unusual topics included are:• Relations between humans, house and environment• Geobiology (earth related energies)• Electrobiology• DC fields• Low frequency fields• High frequency fields• Microwave radiation• Field exposure consequences• Prevention of electromagnetic disturbances• Ecological construction• Furniture• Furniture and materials• Furniture and physiology• Color and design• Space, form and dimension• Physiology of living• Mental aspects of living• Noise stress• Monotony• Variety• Housing development and town building• History and townscape• Greenscapes• TrafficBecause the Baubiologie materials challenge conventional building science onphilosophical grounds, it is instructive to critique of some of the 11scientific” claimsmade in the course materials using the premises of building science. For thisdiscussion only the chapters on thermal conditions, moisture and ventilation will bereviewed. The purpose is to contrast them with the mainstream building sciencepositions on these issues.“1100 to 2100 ctthic/et offresh air per hour is required.. . this is not beingaeheived because walls, roof, floors, doors and windows are sealed or madeairtight”... (10,).It would be more accurate to say that the ventilation which is intended to provide thatoutdoor air rate is inadequate, or not operating correctly. This could be mechanical-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -7Chapter IVventilation, operable windows or a combination of the two. The question then becomes“should we rely on that mechanical system?”; a fair question. It is not because thebuilding is sealed that the ventilation is inadequate. Ventilation rates caused byenvelope leakage alone are sometimes very low, even in loose construction.“Natural ventilation (‘breathing function of the skin, diffusion, ventilation) ofwalls and floors/ceilings (in particular qf external wails, ceilings and roofswhich aresupposed to function as the “THIRD SKiN”) (sic). Naturalventilation. alone should provide an air change figure of 1-2 changes / hour,which equals a continuous airflow. In new buildings consisting of “dead”wails, ceiltngs and roofc, only figures of 0.2 are being acheived, which,according to DIN 4108, can he expected” 1).It is the ventilation that prevents condensation by keeping the indoor relative humiditylow. Moisture diffusing through a material can actually cause condensation, andeventual damage if it exceeds the drying ability of the material. The draft free homehas controlled envelope conditions which allow mechanical ventilation to provide therequired ventilation effectively and with energy recovery.It has already become a general habit to incorporate (vapor barriers) in thestructure of ceilings, floors, waiL and roofs. No one seems to consider whetherthey are necessary (it all or whether they may have any significance in relationto health.The vapor harrier (also the air barrier) functions to prevent warm air movement ifltQinsulated cavities where, in winter, it would encounter a dew point surface andcondense. This is the primary defense for prevention of moisture damage.with a wail which has not dried out sufficiently in a new building and whichhas absorbed rain or condensation; ifwater vapour diffision is prevented by theapplication of vapour proof paInts, plasters, or synthetic substances, it willremain clamp, with all the consequences. There will be even more condensation(also in the insulation nwterial.c), considerably reduced thermal insulation,condensation on the interior wail surfaces, development ofmould, fungi in andon the walls, in fhcr building damages of all kinds.This process may be prevented by two methods: either by avoidance of vapourbarriers and /hrthering the drying out process, or by the prevention ofcondensation in the building material with the air and vapour barriers. Thefirst method is the original, natural and time tested one which is advocated byBuilding-Biology; the.econd method has been adopted by modern buildingtechnology since the advent of synthetic (as a rule vapour proQf3 buildingmaterials “ (12).HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 77Chapter IVThis is perhaps a fair criticism and description of construction moisture problems inbuildings, except for the apparent assumption that buildings dry to the inside in a coldclimate. They generally dry to the outside because outdoor humidity is usually lower.The use of the term vapour barrier seems confused here. Typically an intentionalvapour barrier is only applied on the warm side of the insulation. It is correct to pointout that vapor impermeable material must be avoided on the cold side.What follows in the Baubiologie manuals is a somewhat confused discussion ofdiffusion due to partial pressure differences based on Fick’s Law. The examplegiven indicates that a 5% difference in oxygen concentration between inside andoutside (15% and 20% respectively) will cause 90 litres of oxygen to diffusethrough a 40 cm. thick brick wall into a 20 m2 room in one hour (13). This isequated in the example with the effect of a 4m2 open window with no wind.Nowhere in the building science literature can any reference be found to the importanceof oxygen concentration dependent on diffusion through materials. There are seriousproblems with this on several counts. First, the human senses are just not veryresponsive to changes in oxygen concentration. They ij sensitive to five or ten foldincreases in C02 which tend to signal “poor air quality”. Second, control of C02 (andreplenishment of oxygen for that matter) is almost entirely a function of ventilation, notof gas diffusion through building elements. C02 and 02 diffusion is a miniscule factorin almost any type of construction short of, perhaps, a tent. Third, it is water vaportransport which is the main concern and should be the topic of a diffusion calculation.And fourth, the figure of a 4rn2 window in a room with only 20 m2 of walls andceiling is absurd. An opening of this size would change the air in the room severaltimes per hour, even with a minimal wind or thermal driving force. That is, it wouldbring in several kg.of oxygen, not the 90 grams in the example. This seems like aclassic case of an overextended biological metaphor.(On vapour harriers) “Even according to conventional calculations (with acondensate quantity of 1.5 kg / ni2 in three winter months) it would beimpossible to saturate buildings which have been constructed qfdffi1siblematerials; much ies so, as f/ic actual condensate quantity only amounts to 0.21kg /m2” (/4).It probably can be shown that this is correct, so long as the wall or roof section inquestion does not contain a vapor resistant material such as stucco, stone or brick on itscold side. Since vapor transport in a wall or ceiling section is primarily due to-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -78Chapter IVdiffusion, and not to air leakage (15,16), it is very unlikely that moisture wouldaccumulate in a section composed of permeable materials (such as wood, gypsum, opencelled insulation etc.) due to diffusion alone. And if there was condensation, it wouldoccur where moisture could be readily evaporated to the outdoor air. This has beenrecognized in National Building Code of Canada requirements (17).“Exterior skins of vapor proofmaterlals e.g. dense brick, natural stone, glassought to he ventilated, particularly when they have a low proportion ofjoints.This is particularly recoinn’ien1ed as a protection against rain on the weatherside... “ (18).This is a basic argument for rain screen construction, well known in residentialconstruction in Europe and in commercial building systems in Canada. The referenceto masonry with a low proportion of joints highlights the very large role played bymortar joints in the overall permeability of masonry systems.Another controversial topic is UV and JR radiation. The argument is proposedthat light spectra outside the visible range should be important considerationswhen choosing glazing and lighting:“JR and UV radiation as well as the ionization of the air stimulate thethermoregulatory screm and the metabolism Qf the body, it intensifies therespiration and [he gas exchange; it helps to activate the blood circulation,stImulates the nerl’e and gland systems and increases the immune reaction. UVradiation is in(lispen.vahIe in the fhrmation process of vitamin D necessary forbalancing calcium and phosphorous for utilization” (1 9).Actually any form of heat stimulates the thermoregulatory system and these effects.This can be conductive heat or radiant heat (JR radiation) from any source. It isobvious that glazing systems have some effect on the visible and invisible spectrum; itis not at all clear what the effects are. The importance of the invisible spectrum isparticularly poorly understood. There is a tendency to claim that because lowemissivity coated glass alters the daylight spectrum it must have detrimental effects onhealth. But its effects are primarily in the longwave (IR) region which has no knownhealth effects, except the perception of radiant heat. Nothing more of consequence isknown about the effects of subtle changes to the daylight spectrum. On the topic ofUV light, it is necessary for vitamin D production, but the effects of different glazingtypes on UV are probably inconsequential since plain glass transmits so little UV.Adding coatings to the glass can only reduce what is already miniscule. Only someplastics can effectively transmit UV. Because there is so little UV indoors in winter,aHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 79Chapter IVexposure to occasional and moderate amounts of sunlight outdoors is considered theonly reliable source of necessary UV in winter (though some also promote “healthlights” which produce UV).The necessity among some people for exposure to bright light to prevent winterdepression (SAD - Seasonal Affective Disorder) is not mentioned. This is surprisingbecause it is a well known condition which can be treated with bright light from eitherdaylight or electric lamps. It would seem that the Baubiologie arguments would bemore productively focused on the importance of bright spaces in buildings, not on thesubtleties of the spectral properties of the light.The building principles expressed in Baubiologie are a result of a strong philosophicmodel which differs from the prevalent models which inform mainstream practicetoday. The emergence of Baubiologie is an expression of a “new paradigm”, at least inphilosophic terms. It is a model in which the importance of “nature” prevails and thepower of metaphor is given greater credence than the power of rational systems likephysics. This is evident in the adherence to ideas like “the lungs of the house” and “thethird skin”, in spite of the fact that the absolute interpretation of the metaphors lead tosome principles which seem to violate physics.The odd dilemma with the Baubiologie material is that it is both a strong alternativephilosophical system and an effort to use accepted science to support alternativepractices. Because accepted science already consistently supports mainstream practice,it does not serve very well to also support alternatives which seem to contradict it. TheBaubiologie authors therefore resort to inaccurate interpretations of science which aresomewhat out of context.To attempt to answer the question of whether a “breathing house” will work in a coldclimate is very difficult using building science principles. It is difficult enough topredict the complex variables in a highly controlled house. If air is allowed to slowlymigrate through walls and roofs, and vapour diffusion is largely unchecked, theunknowns are much more complex. What vapour pressure gradients would occuracross insulation? What air exfiltration rates would occur? Would there be moist airmeeting a dew point temperature inside a cavity? Would the breathable exteriorcladding allow adequate drying of any trapped moisture?Qfl-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY-Chapter IVThough a strict building science analysis suggests that this type of construction willsuffer from moisture damage, there are three important building science considerationswhich suggest that it may not. First, the Baubiologie wall is only vapor dfJiisible. If itis well built and the panels are tightly fitted, it will not allow unusual air leakage intoinsulated spaces. It is well known that only about 10% or less of moisture transporttakes place through d/fusion in cold climates. The bulk takes place through air leakagewhich is not likely to be excessive in this type of construction. Second, the concept ofneutral pressure plane in a house suggests that any air leakage which does occur inlower parts of the house will be inward from outside. This tends to dry the materials inwinter. The problem area is likely to be the roof where outward leakage is likely tooccur. Third, Lstiburek’s concept of “forgiving envelope” applies to this type ofconstruction because exterior sheathing and cladding materials are all highly permeable,thereby allowing any accumulated moisture to escape. The roof cavities are also wellventilated above the insulation for the same reason.SlatesAsphalt paper (permeable)Timber and plank frame250mm “wood wool” low density fibreboard25mm varnished ceiling panel19mm cementiwood siding20mm porous low density fibreboard150mm “wood wool” low density fibreboard35mm varnished cementlwood panelsOiled wood floorsTimber floor frame50 mm. sand floor fillLime cement plaster PaperLightweight concrete block 35mm “wood wool” boardWood wool board Lime plasterPorous brickSodium silicate sealerFig. IV-2A “Breathing Wall” Concept (AfterB.Berge)BATH ROOM-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IVWithout substantial experience with this type of construction there is little evidence tosupport either case. There are claims from European practitioners of success in coldclimates such as Norway and Scotland (20), but these are probably not adequate toallay the concerns of code authorities in Canada. On the other hand there are enoughunknowns about application of building science models to this type of construction thatit may be plausible.IV C. Is Batibiologie an Alternative Science?“It becomes rat/icr ohv,ous that in the process ofanalyzing the area of buildingand life, not only natural science should be used but also borderline sciences(science which is located on the border of several other sciences with regard tosubject and methodology) and the humanities. This will ensure a balancedprocess and result” (21).According to Kuhn, any problem outside the range of normal science can be considered“extraordinary science”, but it must still have the hallmarks of a science (22). One ofthese hallmarks is to reliably predict the results of actions, i.e., to stand up toexperimental verification. The alternatives proposed in the Baubiologie material hardlyqualify as “extraordinary science” because they are not engaged in determiningsignificant facts, matching of facts with theory and the articulation of theory. Nor willthey apparently help to predict the outcome of actions. The Baubiologie materialsprimarily attack current applications of building science using scientific terms andmethods inappropriately, without providing a coherent alternative structure. Thelanguage of the materials is the language of assertion and dogma, not of alternativescience. Baubiologie sacrifices the predictability of a rigorous science for ideologicalreasons.Baubiologie does not seem to he an adequate substitute for building science, but it j. amoral and philosophical approach to science and technology as it applies to buildings.The strength of Bauhiologie is not in the same terms in which conventional buildingscience is set, In terms of classical physics it appears very weak and lacking in rigour.However as an alternative philosophy, or rather as an effort to imbue building practicewith a “culture” which has long been lost, it has a great deal of persuasive power. Theterms in which it stands up well are historical, moral and ideological.It may actually be more accurate to say that Baubiologie proponents are attempting toforge an alternative “culture of building” rather than an alternative science. And theHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter IVvalue of this should not he underestimated. By substituting a strong philosophicalposition for reliance on science, it may serve a very important role in the contemporarydebate about science, humanity and nature. Perhaps it is not science which is inquestion at all, but fundamental values for which science, any science, is only a tool forexpression. These are metaphysical, not scientific debates.The question of whether modern, technologically determied values are appropriate tohousing, or if more traditional, low-technology solutions are a better fit is being takenseriously by Swedish housing researchers. In Sweden, Elisabeth Lillman proposesdevelopment of housing systems which start from a traditional base of somewhat leakyconstruction, and attempts to reach a safe and energy efficient solution without resort toa totally technologically controlled environment. The product is proposed as unifiedand harmonious with nature and architecture. It must be robust and capable of copingwith technological breakdown. Though very little detail about this project is yetavailable, the approach has some philosophical similarity to Baubiologie. It may,however, be placed on a firmer foundation of research expertise and experimentationwithout the reliance on assertion and dogma (23). This Swedish work also appears torely on the concept of the “fhrgiving envelope” as described by Joseph Lstiburek.CH IV Conclusions.Building science is a comprehensive system for applying thermodynamics, fluiddynamics and other aspects of classical physics to buildings. Though buildings arecomplex systems, applications of building science principles can produce a predictableoutcome. Physical parameters can be controlled within a defined range, and comfortand durability can be provided. Contemporary practice has, however, tended toemphasize increasingly rigorous and mechanical measures and standards for acheivingcontrol in housing. Examples are high insulation values, exacting draft-sealingmeasures, and fan operated ventilation. However this approach may be contrary tosome human values an(l cultural expectations in housing. It also may be proceeding inadvance of the understanding and education necessary to acheive broad acceptance.An alternative philosophy is Baithiologie, a system which seems to respond to theideological framework of the ecological movement. It is a strongly metaphorical and-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-Chapter IVsomewhat dogmatic system which contains some elements of science. However as ascience it does not stand up well to scrutiny. It’s merits are as an alternativephilosophy and ideology which challenge some of the premises of contemporarybuilding science and practice. Using Baubiologie principles may be likely to result inbuildings which are more passively adapted, and simple to understand and operate, butuncertainties are raised about basic thermal and moisture control.It may be necessary to forge an entirely alternate system which will perhaps begin fromthe uncertainties of contemporary building science. The “forgiving envelope” andgreater reliance on passive and intermediate technologies are some of the possible clueson which an alternative to current practice might be based. These are only the earlyformative days of a new paradigm, and it is not an adequate substitute yet for the modelwe rely on. The philosophical challenge is, however, a healthy sign.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 84Chapter VCHAPTER V House or housing? New technology, the limits of technology, andnew settlement patterns and community models.V A. The Single Family House. Social, economic and technologic ideology.The single family suburban home is the dominant North American house type of the20th century. Since the first streetcar suburbs of 1910, this individualistic model ofurban housing has prevailed, both in popular imagery and practice. In Canada this typeof housing has accounted for over 65% of all housing built in this century. The onlynotable exceptions are a few areas such as Montreal where multiple housing haspredominated. Though current trends are toward more compact multiple housing,particularly as the population ages, it is still too early to say that a more collective orcommunity based housing trend has taken hold.The contemporary single family home is a direct descendant of the post World War IIsuburban home with all of it’s imagery of family stability, comfort, convenience andconsumption. It is intended as a place for a working man and a housewife to raise awholesome family. She will be a cook, cleaner, homemaker and child care servicewhile he commutes to work. This home is profoundly influenced by the automobile,the two or three child nuclear family, and the explosion of household gadgets andpersonal possessions which characterized postwar society. The interior is large andplain in comparison to urban homes of the turn of the century, both due to modernesthetics, and because it is a vessel for possessions. In it’s more extreme form, visiblein high income suburbs today, the single family home represents agressiveaccumulation of capital and prestige to the elimination of communal goals:individualism becomes loneliness (1,2).In terms of public resources, this house is also a machine for consuming vast amountsof land, transportation energy, and public utilities. Consequently many cities arefinding it very difficult to maintain roads and transportation, water, sewers, energysupplies, schools, fire protection and policing in their suburbs. The costs of servicingthe dispersed suburb is simply increasing faster than the taxation revenue which can besupported in many cities.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 85Chapter VAccording to many critiques today, the single family suburban home is ananachronism. It no longer fits the social or economic patterns which prevail, and it isbecoming a burden, both to its owners and to the municipal authorities which areresponsible for servicing it. The house is no longer as likely to be kept by ahomemaker because she is likely to have a job outside the home. She may also be asingle parent, reliant on childcare services and fast food. The cost of the home mayabsorb over 50% of household income (CMHC recommended a 25% figure until themid- 1980’s), and the children may live at home until they are nearly 30.Furthermore, as the population ages, there are more childless households which areoverhoused if they wish to remain in the suburbs.The continued popularity of the single family home raises the question; “what is asustainable suburban home?” This question can be asked both in terms of theecological fit and the social match for prevailing conditions. The problem withattempting to reduce the impact on the environment of the single family home is thatthe consumption patterns are built into the type, and are difficult to extricate. Thoughenergy efficiency, water conservation and recycling can be improved in a single familyhome, it is still a model of dispersed land use, extensive transportation and servicing,large amounts of building materials, and extensive luxuries. At best it can be an“efficient machine for wasteful consumption”.Architect Paul Okamoto has asked (rhetorically): “What is an ecological suburb?” andanswered, “It is oxymoron” (3). His discussion of the recent neo-traditionalist suburbsand the transit oriented developments concludes that, unless the role of the automobilein determining land use is challenged (and it is not, even in the new transit orienteddevelopment), and passive solar design, other appropriate technologies and morecompact house forms are seriously incorporated, the subdivision is still a model forexcessive consumption.In terms of the social fit, the suburban home is designed for people during the mostmobile period of their lives, when they are capable and willing to drive to services andwork. In suburban isolation, the young, old and physically disabled are dependent onthose who are mobile. But those who are mobile may also already be overburdened.For empty nesters, singles, and couples without families (the fastest growing segmentsof the population), the family home is often too large, difficult and expensive to keep.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -86Chapter VIt also lacks the intimacy and contact with neighbours, and access to services,recreational and cultural facilities which many in these groups find important.There are, however, new trends slowly emerging which suggest more affordable,sustainable and socially relevant models for housing. In the mainstream market, forexample, townhouses and condominium apartments in three and four storey buildingshave become the fastest growing housing type in the past five years. Even in firmlyestablished areas of large single family homes like Surrey B.C., there are new zoningprovisions which will allow lot sizes of about 4,000 sq.ft. This is about half the size oftypical subdivision lots today and is reminiscent of the streetcar subdivisions of the1920’s. According to developers, the economic unit on the smaller lot is a simple, 2 or3 bedroom, 1 1/2 baths, single garage home of about 1600 sq.ft. This is a substantialdeparture in both size and features from the typical new home in Surrey today.In addition to the slow changes taking place in single family housing, there is also atrend towards more urban housing forms such as inner city apartments and townhouses.Toronto’s lakefront developments and Vancouver’s north shore of False Creek areexamples. At the fringe of market housing there are also new collective visions such asco-housing, as well as extremely simple affordable housing concepts such as “shellhousing” and “grow housing’. These are discussed later in the chapter with regard totheir role in providing a more ecological model for housing.While new trends slowly emerge for multiple housing, there is also a parallel effort todeal with the consumption patterns associated with the single family suburban home.V B. Advanced Houses and Smart HousesThe Advanced HouseProbably the most cogent effort to reduce the environmental impact of the single familyhome using new technology is the Canadian Advanced Houses Program. The programsponsored the construction of ten demonstration houses across the country in 1992 and1993. Qualification for program support required that the design meet energy budgetsof about half that o an R-2000 house (about 25% of a conventional house), that waterHOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 87Chapter Vconservation and material efficiency be incorporated, and that new technology which iseither available, or soon-to-be available be showcased (4).One example Advanced House is the Waterloo Green Home in a bedroom communityin Ontario. It is worthwhile examining the uses of technology in this project because itrepresents a strong emphasis on “ecological responsibility through efficient hightechnology”. This is a contemporary suburban home, but one which is designed withan advanced airtight envelope, passive solar energy features and no ozone depletingchlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) in the materials. The plumbing fixtures use less than halfthe water of conventional ones, and the appliances operate with about half the energy.The lot is large allowing orientation to the sun and private garden space.Short of an automated home control system, which this house does have, it has themost highly engineered and efficient envelope and mechanical / electrical systemsfound in houses today (5).The design is a simple two storey rectangle of 2500 sq.ft. with a gable roof. The lowerstorey, actually a walk-out basement, is earth bermed on the north side, and open to agarden-patio to the south. The entry on the east has a deep porch reminsicent ofbungalows, but unlike the bungalow, there is an actual foyer inside (a functional airlockentry). The kitchen! dining room is informal and linked to the main living area. Thereis a recycling area built in to the kitchen. The family room is in the basement, thoughthe dining area would double as family room for those with small children. The garageis as prominent in the plan as other suburban examples, but less visible from the streetbecause it is inside the simple rectangular form and not expressed by a separate roof.The master bedroom suite is less formal than most, without a separate ensuite bath butsharing the main bathroom with the living area. The basement contains the otherbedrooms (n.b. this is problematic for families with young children), a large familyroom and office. The architectural features or style of this home is understated. Theimage is of a solid, well-engineered suburban home which hides it’s differences underthe skin. This home is a technological showcase without show.The landscaping is unlike its neighbours in that the lot has almost no concrete or asphaltsurfacing. The driveway is made from “turf stone”, a hollow concrete paver filled withsoil which allows grass to grow and stormwater to permeate. The only lawn is buffalograss, a very hardy, drought-resistant prairie grass which doesn’t require fertilizer orSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 88Chapter Vmowing. There is also hardy white clover, serviceberry and cranberry for groundcover. There are a few deciduous shade trees to the south and west, and a prominentvegetable garden and compost area. This is very unusual landscaping for suburbia. Itrepresents a concern with utility and passive function over show. It will conservewater, reduce drainage problems, minimize maintenance, recycle waste and producefood. It will also provide shade, color, interest and seasonal variability, though not asdramatically as exotic species. A compromise has been struck between nature andstyle.Fig. V-iThe Waterloo Green HometPOut..aP-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -89Chapter VThe building technology is also unusual. The foundation is precast, cellular concretewhich was delivered and erected by a crane. It is moisture proofed by a texturedplastic membrane which improves drainage (a drain screen system). Both the walls andfloors are framed with engineered “I’ joists made from strand board, a pressed woodproduct. The insulation is blown cellulose batt made from recycled newsprint, with avapour barrier of polyethylene, caulked with a modified polyurethane caulking. Thesub-floor and roof sheathing are engineered wood (strand board) while the wallsheathing is an insulating board made with urethane foam and wood shavings. Thesiding is a pressed hardhoard product with a woodgrain texture. The roof framing ismanufactured trusses with stamped, galvanized steel roofing in a tile pattern. Theinterior finishes are of fiber-gypsum, a drywall replacement made with recycled paperand perlite (a volcanic sand).The windows are wood sash ‘superwindows” with triple glazing, inert gas filling, and aselective (low E) coating. The high dormer in the living room is glazed with atherrnochromatic film which will darken when the sun is very strong. The miliwork isprimarily birch and birch plywood, a local, fast-growing species. The exterior doorsare fiberglass with a foam core; the interior are hardboard. A good deal of the floor iscovered with polyester carpet made from recycled soft drink bottles.This house emphasizes natural gas usage and has both a gas furnace and a sealed gasfireplace. The furnace is unique, combining a mid efficiency burner with a rockstorage medium for very high overall efficiency. It is exhausted and supplied with airthrough the ventilation and heat recovery system which is also unique. Even the gasclothes dryer is connected to a heat recovery unit. There are at least 4 fans operatingcontinuousy and several pumps to operate the water system and cooling cycle(discussed below). There are two automatically-timed, motorized dampers which cycleair through the heat recovery rockbeds. Another automatic damper closes the gasfireplace vent when not in use. Both the range and the clothes dryer are experimental,sealed-combustion, gas burning units, only a few of which are in existence. There isalso a gas barbeque and a water heater. The water heater is connected to a solar uniton the roof which is expected to supply about half of the hot water demand.There is a large underground cistern which collects both rainwater from the roof(through a filter) and foundation drainage water from the perimeter drains (through asump pump). Stored non-potable water is pumped to the washer, toilets and outdoor-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -90Chapter Vtaps. It is also used to cool the house in summer by circulation through a coil in thefurnace ducts. All-plastic plumbing serves eight low-flow fixtures of stamped steel orpolyester. The lighting is entirely fluorescent, indoors and out, with some photovoltaicoutdoor lights on the garden path. The communications wiring is simple, incorporatingonly telephone and cable TV systems. Though this is not a “Smart House”, it has anextraordinary number of electronic controls for the conservation measures. The valuesexpressed here are convenience with conservation; ecology through efficienttechnology.This home has transcended, to some extent, the prominence and features of thesuburban home. It is reserved in appearance, does not offer luxuries or sales features(with the possible exception of the gas barbeque and fireplace) and is a typical size forthe 1990’s family oriented home (though it is twice the size of the prewar familyhome). But it j a highly technological house with a great deal of complex machinery,albeit energy conserving machinery. To design and build this house required severalenergy specialists, ventilation specialists, and controls specialists. Thepremanufactured foundation and blown insulation also required special equipment. Theoccupant must now either be trained in control systems or rely heavily on outsidetechnicians. There are an enormous number of things to go wrong, some of whichcould be dangerous, such as failure of any of the powered gas venting mechanisms.The advanced technology in this home is also very costly; approximately doubling thecost over conventional construction. This is justified for a “one of a kind”demonstration home, hut “value for cost” questions will have to be faced before themainstream adopts any of these features.It is said that “environmental life-cycle costing” was factored into the design of thishouse (6). This type of costing includes the impacts of materials production, themaintenance and replacement of materials and the cost of saving energy in the home.But considering the suburban setting, it may be asked if the life cycle costing shouldinclude the energy and environmental cost of transporting the people who will livehere? Should it include the multiple visits and future service calls by several technicalspecialists? Should it include the energy, material and environmental cost of makingand maintaining the complex machinery it depends on? These considerations mighthave generated a very different result.- I-loUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-•Chapter VAlmost all of the chosen Advanced House projects are new, detached single familyhouses in suburban areas. Drawing on this prevalent model for the “Canadian familyhome”, the program is clearly a well intended effort to marry the image of suburbanliving with efficiency. It is an effort to offer a “business as usual” image, with a lot ofhidden efficiencies. It does not attempt to explore a more socially and ecologicallyappropriate housing type.The Smart HouseThe Smart House is a concept of the mid-l980’s. As individual control technologies inhousing became more sophisticated, it was an obvious step to invent an integratedsystem of controls operated by microprocessors. This is done through a system ofnetwork wiring, sensors and actuators throughout the house. These are operated bysoftware through a standardized communications protocol. But what can integratedcontrols offer in housing? According to Langreth (7), and Smith (8), the current list offeatures and functions offered by manufacturers of integrated control systems is quitelong. The following discussion describes what each integrated control can do and,following, in italics, what is currently available with discrete, non-integratedequipment:Lighting controlAutomated control systems can switch lighting based on room occupancy,daylight levels or a programmed sequence used when the home is empty to deterburglars. (Most of these basic functions can also be provided by simplephotosensitive or timed switches, without the electronic network.)Home security systemSecurity features are a large selling point for home automation. Since manyhomes already have security systems, what the network can do is to providemore sophisticated monitoring, as well as remote monitoring of the systemthrough telephone lines. (The basic features are already available in many homesecurity systems without a control network. The integrated systems simplymake simultaneous use of the occupancy sensors, and window and doorswitches already used for lighting, heating control etc.)-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -2Chapter VTemperature controlThe automated system can provide programmed temperature control, andremote control if this is a system feature. (Programmed temperature control isnow quite common without the control network. The only difference offered bysome systems is remote control.)HVAC equipment controlVentilation equipment can also be controlled through an automated network.For example C02 sensors, humidity, volatile compound sensors or occupancysensors can be used to regulate ventilation based on demand. (Some of thesefunctions have been acheived experimentally in homes without automated homewiring, and some “demand controlled” equipment is now marketed. However,to control ventilation on a zoned basis requires a substantial amount of hardwaresuch as motorized dampers, variable supply and exhaust grilles etc. Thesesystems would benefit from the network wiring used for automated homesystems, but are generally considered too complex to be acceptable in housing.)Audio/video distributionNew homes already typically have cable TV outlets in at least three rooms.More recently, many homes are being prewired for audio systems which arecentrally located hut have speakers in several rooms. Home theater is also anew luxury feature which is beginning to appear in a few homes. Home theateris defined as very large screen television, usually operated by digital video, andwith high quality, multiple-channel sound. (Home automation networks maysimplify distribution and control of home entertainment systems of this kind, butmore modest, dedicated wiring systems are presently adequate for most systems.Interestingly a few “home automation” systems actually provide Qfliy thisfeature of distributed audio and video, without any of the other expectedfeatures such as heating, lighting and appliance control. It is difficult tounderstand how these systems can be called home automation at all when theyprovide on I y entertainment features.)Appliance controlLarge appliances, such as ovens, laundry machines and dishwashers, can becontrolled by programs, by remote within the home, or by telephone link if thesystem has the capability. The actual usefulness of this control, above andbeyond what is already available in programmable appliances, is not clear.Remote control seems to be the main selling point, and the value of even this is-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOOGY-93Chapter Vnot entirely clear. Presumably a busy houseparent can plan a meal, put it in theoven, and turn it on by remote before coming home. (However timed auto-cook capabililty has been available in ovens for over thirty years. The onlydifference is that now it can be remote controlled.)Access to persona I coml)uterSome automated systems are linked to a home PC. These use special PCsoftware for home control rather than having dedicated microprocessors for thehome. One result of this connection is that the PC can be contacted, by remote,through telephone lines and data exchange can be done if the systems has thiscapability. (This capability already exists with modem hardware and softwarefor PC’s, but automated home software can extend and simplify the remoteaccess to home monitoring data. The question is “what is this informationuseful for?”)Electrical safety featuresA feature of the controlled electrical outlet is it’s “ground fault electricalinterruption” capability. Any device connected to the outlet is protected, so thatif an electrical fault is detected, the power is interrupted within a fewmicroseconds. This is typically rapid enough to prevent any electrical shock atall. (Individual ground fault devices are already used in homes, under currentcodes, for outlets in wet locations such as bathrooms. The difference withautomated systems is that ll outlets can be protected this way.)Automated Utility ManagementThough home automation generally is focused on providing more automatedcontrol wit/i/n the home for the (questionable) benefit of the resident, a furtheroption (one with more community emphasis) is to use automated controls forutility demand management. In this scenario, the control system is connected toa neighbourhood or regional demand management centre which has somecontrol over domestic hot water heating, some appliances, and possibly spaceheating in the home. The purpose is to distribute electrical and gas loads overthe day so that the minimal amount of coincidence occurrs, thereby reducingutility sizing requirements. Clearly it is only possible to do this withoutinterrupting service to customers for those few demands with a large storagepotential (i.e. hot water and some types of space heating) or low priorityappliances such as laundry and dishwashing.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY-Chapter V(The role of automated home systems in demand management is an interestingone because it is one of the few uses which have been proposed which reallycould acheive a regional environmental benefit, and for which there are notknown alternatives which are as effective. Though individually timed storageheaters are widely used in Europe, they are not controlled by outside signals.The only existing dedicated hardware which can respond to outside control isthe air-conditioner cycling switch used by some electric utilities in the U.S.midwest. These reduce the cycling of air conditioners when a signal is sent bythe utility during peak demand periods.)Consumer response indicates that there is very little interest in home automationsystems, and very little willingness to pay the high cost. While consumers with highincomes are buying many of the individual features, such as security systems andaudio/video distribution, they are buying them as individual items, not as part of a fullautomation package (9).With the possible exception of utility demand management, it is difficult to justifycontrol systems in ecological terms. Their ability to save energy is marginal comparedto important life style choices, effective passive measures, and efficient appliances.The fact that an individual can monitor their energy consumption on a regular basis,instead of waiting until their utility bill arrives, is questionable as a motivator towardslife style change. Their implied social value has already been questioned in Chapter II.It is likely that high technology home control systems will not stand the test of time,but will become mechanical curiosities and a footnote to housing history.V C. The Technological Possibilities for Change; Meeting an Ecological AgendaThe ecological agenda in housing can be broadly defined as:“minimizing the impact of housing on regional and global habitats includingterres[rja/ and aquatic ecosystems, soils and air quality”The obvious technical means of achieving this are:• Minimizing the extraction of raw materials for construction which have a highimpact on ecosystems. The method of extraction is also often as important asquantity.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -95Chapter V• Minimizing materials processing which entails toxic agents and high impactsolid, liquid and gaseous wastes.• Minimizing the use of non-renewable energy in materials processing,transportation and construction.• Minimizing materials use and waste by optimizing building design andengineering efficiency.• Minimizing non-renewable operating energy use and water use by optimizingbuilding design.• Minimizing building maintenance and component replacement requirements bydesigning for durability.But what is the actual potential for meeting these ends through technology, and whatare the limitations of technology?Materials extraction methodsTechnological change can assist in resource preservation through several means:In/bimation based management. Information systems can provide a betterunderstanding of ecosystems than was previously possible. Examples aresatellite scanning of forests, geological and biological information databases,atmospheric and water quality sampling, and computer models which help topredict impact on ecosystems. These tools, if appropriately applied, can leadto better resource management that what is possible using more empirical andmanual methods.• Recycled content. Advances in recycling can reduce the demand for virginraw materials. Examples are insulation and fiberboard made from postconsumer paper, construction panels made from agricultural waste, fly ashconcrete, and textiles and lumber substitutes made from post-consumerplastics.• Substitution. Advances in chemistry and engineering can relieve pressure onthreatened ecosystems to a degree by providing alternatives to raw materialswhich are scarce or have a high impact. Examples are plastics made from-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-’Chapter Vvegetable oils, and engineered wood products made from “undervalued”species or reconstituted woods.Efficient extraction. Advances in forestry and mining practice can improvethe recovery ol useable materials and the protection of those not harvested.Materials processing and wasteWhile some construction materials such as wood require modest amounts ofmanufacturing, others such as metals and plastics require a great deal. Technologicalchange can improve the conversion of raw material into useable building products andreduce the waste stream. The key concepts here are:Conversion efficiency. Production technology can increase the conversionrate of raw material to product. An example is the computerized sawmillwhich calculates log dimensions before cutting.• Co-product development. Production which leave a useable waste can belocated with another process which can use that waste. Examples are asawmill which sends chips to an adjacent fiberboard mill, and a mineralconcentration plant which sends it’s slag to a mineral wool insulation plant.This is sometimes called “industrial ecology”.• Process energy efficiency. Process redesign, process heat recovery and plantinsulation are some of the steps which can reduce plant energy use.Examples are dry process cement kilns, kiln flue gas precalciners, andenclosed (insulated) steelmaking furnaces. In some cases, excess energy isgenerated by a process and can be used for adjacent steam heating, or sent toan electrical utility for sale.• Solid, liquid and gaseous waste. In some processes, waste is actually lostproduct. These are the most amenable to waste recovery technology. Anexample is the recovery of dust from cement grinding or metal scraps frommachining for return to the process. In other cases, the waste is less useful,or possibly hazardous. Process redesign and emissions control technology inthese cases is directed at minimizing the making and release of waste. Anexample is a solvent reduction and recovery program in a painting plant.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOY-97Chapter VNon-renewable energy for transportation and construction.Transportation of construction goods can be a large energy consumer. Obviously usinglocal sources as much as possible is a primary strategy for reducing transportation. Inaddition, shipping via water and rail is far more energy efficient than by road and air.Also some products can be shipped in a ‘knocked down” state, or in a concentratedform to reduce shipping energy.Energy use during actual construction is a relatively small factor, though temporaryheating can be significant (Cole and Rink, 1993). Obviously seasonal timing andscheduling is a primary strategy for reducing construction energy, but moveableinsulation and other technologies are also used.Materials use and w’aste in construction.This is largely a matter of design and detailed dimensioning, though choice oftechnology is also important. For example a material efficient floor or roof design inwood or steel should provide adequate depth for lighter weight, trussed elements. Interms of dimensioning, wood products are usually sold in 24” increments, while steel isshipped precisely made to length. The wood scrap is only partly reuseable while thesteel scrap is fully recyclable. It total, the potential for reducing waste by constructiondesign and technology choices is relatively small, often due to other design constraints.For example the extra building height produced by using deeper floor sections mayexceed zoning limits.Non-renewable operating energy use and water use.Considering a lifecycle of 50 years or more, the operating utilities used by a householdare the overwhelming direct factors in environmental impact. Experience with theCanadian R2000 program suggests that primarily passive design strategies, usingavailable technologies such as high performance windows and insulation, canpractically reduce energy consumption by about 50% over conventional construction.The active technologies required to meet this goal are high efficiency heatingequipment, heat recovery ventilation equipment and efficient lighting. These are nothighly sophisticated technologies, and the payback on investment may be from five toten years, depending on climatic region and utility rates (Kadulski et al, 1993). Thewater conservation measures are also quite simple. They usually entail modifiedlandscaping and low flow fixtures.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter VThe Advanced House program, on the other hand, aims to reduce consumption to 25%of a conventional household, within the single family housing model. This nextincrement of conservation is much more difficult to acheive. Many more activemeasures and more control technology is required. Logical control of power drivenfeatures may add to energy efficiency of the home, but most of the consumption isinherent in the nature of the system and its use, not in its programmed control.Reducing maintenance a 11(1 replacement requirementsOver the lifespan of a home, the cycle of maintenance and material replacement is alsoa large environmental factor because new material is consumed and old materialdiscarded. Detailed design and material selection is a primary strategy, but materialtechnologies can also he an important factor. For example, high-pressure laminatesprovide very durable surfaces using small amounts of common raw materials. Anotherexample is semi-permanent resin coating for flooring which dramatically reducesmaintenance and improves wearability.But all of these measures can only reduce impact, they do not eliminate it. They aresteps which stretch the utilization of resources by 10%, 30% or even 80%, and reducewaste. But if growth in demand continues, this only delays the inevitable approach ofthe limits of ecological carrying capacity (Rees, 1992). For example the conservationgoals of a program like Advanced Houses are met by using high technologyconservation steps, without comprimising luxury features. But these goals couldprobably have been met, or exceeded, with a compact design, offering very modesthousing, with basic features, and without the need for the high technology conservationequipment. This option is discussed in the next section.In the final analysis, all technical measures can only deal with the house as a materialartifact. They can only help to reduce the impact of making and maintaining housing.But housing exists within a context which is much larger than its material dimension.There are very important larger questions about the assumptions and concepts behindhousing which also have a major influence on ecological and social impact:• Who is the housing for?• How much housing is needed per person?- HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY--Chapter V• What features, amenities and luxuries are appropriate?• What are appropriate social and community structures for housing the changingpopulation?• How much land is to be allocated for housing?• What type of settlement patterns can best alleviate growing urban problems ofinfrastructure, services and transportation?These are questions which have only been marginally faced by conscious individualdecisions and public policy in Western society, and which can only be answered to asmall degree by techiio/ogical chotce. They are typically left to the market todetermine. Thus the income available and the ability to borrow determines what sort ofhousing a person receives, and what features and technologies it will have. Wherehousing development and urban settlement patterns are primarily determined by urbanland economics, and not by policy, ecological and social values are lost. Becausemarkets are notoriously insensitive to ecological costs, social costs, and even to fiscalcosts in the long term, the mainstream market model is failing to provide housingforms and settlement patterns which are appropriate for the future. Particularly formeeting the sort of social and ecological agendas which are beginning to emerge. Itdoes appear that convcioiiv ‘ffi)rts to alter these trends are necessary. One example ofconscious change is the voluntary simplicity’ movement.V D. The Urban, Social and Collective Possibilities for Change. Density, GrowHouses and Co-housing.Ecology and DensityThe density of human settlements has been a prominent concern of planners andtheorists, particularly since the industrial revolution. Though the subject will not beexplored in detail, it is important to note that there is a prevalent belief in NorthAmerica that high density dwelling patterns are pathological and produce social andindividual stress and crime. This is one of several reasons why low densitydevelopment has prevailed. This belief persists in spite of the many examples of veryhealthy communities at urban densities, and the many pathological communities atsuburban densities. In terms of ecological impact, it may be argued simply that themore land that is altered by development, the more ecosystems are upset. This may be-hOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -100Chapter Vcalled a “containment” model of ecological responsibility. It suggests that minimizingexcavation, paving, planting of lawns and ornarnentals, roadbuilding, powerline, water,and sewer construction and other development steps is more ecologically responsible.A more sophisticated evaluation using the appropriated land area model suggests thatthere are ecological benefits at both extremes of density, but that these are dependenton life style choice. In the detached single family home on acreage, it is possible toacheive a substantial degree of local energy, food and water self-sufficiency as has beenshown by the autonomous house experience of the 1970’s. Some argue that aminimum of about two hectares of land are required for a household if the residents areto garden, provide water, disposal and pasturage for domestic animals, and to heat withwood with any degree of self-sufficiency. This possibility is, of course, dependent onthe serious life-style choice to live by one’s own direct labour.This postulate matches well with the conditions of mainly self-sufficient agrarian peoplein many parts of the world today who require a minimum of about 1/4 hectare perperson (or about 1 .5 hectares er household) for food sustainability on relativelyproductive land. (Note: the land area required for wood fuel energy often extends wellbeyond that.) These self-sufficient situations are only sustainable if a very modestamount of convenience, mobility and other modern expectations are assumed.At the other extreme of density, in urban settings where there are upwards of about 20dwellings per hectare, the possibilities for individual self-sufficiency are somewhatlimited. A small amout of intensive food production can be done on small allotments,and a limited amount of rainwater collection and solar collection can be done. But theactual contribution of this production is likely to be small, due to urban constraints. Atmoderate to high densities, garden space is limited, solar access is limited, rainwatermay be contaminated and space for composting and wastewater disposal is severelyrestricted, The possibilities for individual energy self-sufficiency are practically limitedto a modest amount of solar heating and possibly some photovoltaic electricity.However, at urban densities, the possibility for collective production and collectiveeconomies are far better than at suburban and rural densities. Neighbourhood foodproduction on commons, regional water collection and treatment, regional wastewatertreatment, and regional energy production are practical and economic if there areenough participants in the immediate vicinity (13). Transportation systems can work•1°1HoUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter Veffectively and housing that is closely packed, particularly where there are commonTABLE V. Densification of Residential Neighbourboods (3 storey, ground oriented opt s_(Site ales- 206.3 Ac., Park area- 11.9 Ac.) IEXISTING USE I______ WITH INFILL., PHASE I WITH STREET INFILL, PHASE IIr Sttve(sas%ofS,te: 30% iStreetsas%ofSite: 30% Stsas%ofSite 17%SitedwelliagslAc.: 5.0 16.8 SitedwellingslAc.: 19.1• Lots dwellings / Ac. 7.6 [ Lots dwellings I Ac. 25.5 Lots dwellings I Ac. 24.8I IUNIT MIX (.o.6rsR) j UNIT MIX ( 0.75 FSRt UNIT MIX (@ 052 FuR)488 2376 so.ft Sinnlefa1tr_________ 538 over 2000 sq.ft Full size family unit 538 over 20(8) sq.ft.143 2880 na.ft SineIefpIiy_______ 542 app. 1500 so.ft Modest family unit 848 . 1500 aqit.341 3600 sa.ft Sjg(1ilJ 538 app. 1050 sa 2bedtoonit, 614 ,. 1050 aq.ft. 2 bedroómi54 4320 sa.ft SJgti1y 1712 app. 750 aq.ft I 1788 app. 750 sq.ft. StudinS.Annual gas useAmit 2,050 M3 854 - Annual gas use/unit 6064nnual water use/unit 270,000 Tjttes 112,500iAnnual water usefanit 79,764 LitresI IAnnual effiuentAinit 216,000 Litres 90,000 -. Annual effluent/unit 63,811 Litres ,jThe existing housing emphasizes very large units for small families. The first phaseinfill increases the population by 2.7 times and reduces the land and street area perperson accordingly. With energy and water conservation measures the per-capitaconsumption drops to less than half. The second phase infill increases the population byanother 14% reducing the land use and street area again. The energy and water use percapita drop further through alternative energy, water,and waste treatment requirements.[ I:58WW*‘L’!!!L 69.i2OILiIsUsp1.EEl NFILLPLR PERSON— 276,1030.16ng older homes.83eThis potential is largely untapped in North American settlements due to the emphasison the individual, the lack of participatory culture, and the lack of ecologicalawareness. There (ire two emerging housing movements, however, which suggest aslow progression of change. These are the voluntary simplicity movements, perhapsbest expresed by the grow house and shell house’ phenomena, and by the cowalls and roofs, also has substantial energy performance and structural efficiencyadvantages.1026 Total units at App. 2.4 persons / unit- l43Iapp.350 nq.ft.ESTIMATED EXISTING RESOU3473 Total units at App. 1.9 persons I unit-6599ICE USEPOPULATIONLAND PER PEgSSTREET PER PERSESTIMATED ECONOMIESPER PERSON2t9I. 350ITntal units,rn ItuluI I PULAT1ON•1 AIB9din,om!ut1.832 KWH3.22 0,1.5Tonneswar_______- -- maintain a net decrease ofresourcei____________ ________New retnstntct,on such as coachouses must meet best current standards. Street tnflhls must exceed best c ear stundanta by ustngáeniIve eseegy water recyding oaq7oang toilets etc.Boffi smaller usst size and nflkiencv measures are considered in conservation esrimarex I I- I55,296ILitresTable V-iDensllication of Residential NeighbourhoodsI— . I102HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGYChapter Vhousing collectives. Though both are primarily social and political ideologies, theyhave a strong association with ecological awareness and appropriate technology.The selected site is a low density, older Vancouver neighbourhood. The phase I infillassumes full use of the existing allowable developed area, including additions anddivisions of existing large houses and coach houses. The phase II infill assumes that thestreet pattern is modified to create new residential lots.With each densification there are energy efficiency and water conservation measuresassumed (as requirements) which actually reduce gross consumption and utilityrequirements for the neighbourhood.Fig. V-2Neighbourhood DensificationAll housing is ground oriented, maximum three storeys, with garden space for each unit.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -103Chapter VGrow houses and shell housingThe “grow house” or “urban starter” concept was developed at the McGill UniversityCentre for Minimum Cost Housing. It is one of several incentives to promote verycompact, modest housing which occurred in the mid 1980’s. Since then there havebeen several low cost housing competitions and demonstrations projects, allemphasizing houses with basic features and simple construction details which could bebuilt for about $40,000 to $50,000 CDN. The grow house is a 2 or 2-1/2 storey unitwhich was conceived to fit a 20 to 25 ft. wide urban lot in Montreal. It is a simple boxwith a steep gable roof which can contain several different floor plans. The plan isdesigned to begin from a minimum finished space, and “grow” with household needs.For example the bathroom, kitchen and a few dividing walls would be all the interiorfinishing provided for the first stage. Then, if household needs and income dictate,further finishing could be done to make another bedroom upstairs, add an office oranother small bath etc. (14,15).The major point of the grow house is that simple needs are met affordably andincrementally, and the user is a major participant in making and changing the house.The strict emphasis on simplicity and low first-time cost has not led to a great deal ofenergy efficiency measures in this project, but it i very modest in terms ofconsumption of land and resources. There are few conveniences and high technologyapproaches in the concept, except perhaps some resource efficient engineered woodproducts. This is a concept which promotes social ecology, economy and simplicity.Though it is highly compatible with the con’iinunity scale ecological responses discussedabove, these are not necessarily reflected within the homes. Though the grow homedoes not have an “ecological emphasis” by strict definition, it is quite compatible with acommunity interested in low ecological impact, participation and simplicity, becausethese values are closely allied.The grow house is an example of a larger phenomenon often called “shell housing”,“serviced core” housing or other terms (16,17). It is made in quite a different wayfrom the usual housing in wealthier societies, in that the house is not a finished“consumer item” but a process of participation. The lack of emphasis on finishedfeatures appeals to those who live simply, whether by choice or necessity, and livingsimply is a key to reducing ones impact on ecosystems.>..CzC-))C-)Zirj)D0)Ca,C>0)0)00)--0-0LuI—IzmcCLuC,,x0LUcC0ciz000IzIEI.0-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -105Chapter VCo-housingAnother emerging model is a more collective housing form called co-housing. It isreally not a new idea, but an interpretation of ancient village concepts with a strongemphasis on common areas and communal activities, especially dining. It is not a“commune” in the sense of a community focused on a religious belief system, or acharismatic leader, nor does it particularly attract people with intense “communitarianspirit”. For most, co-housing is a practical solution to living a busy life in aneighbourhood with affordable housing under local control, and where common areasand facilities are managed by cooperative arrangements.According to Catherine McCamant and Charles Durrett, authors of the recent bookCohousing, “Cohousing. . . Qf/ers a new approach to housing rather than a new wayof life. Based on (leniocranc principles, cohousing developments espouse no ideologyother than the desire/or a more practical and social home environment” (18). Thoughthe social advantages of cohousing are emphasized, there are many land use,transportation, resource efficiency and community scale economic advantages ofcohousing. For example:• Many cohousing communities use compact cluster planning thereby reservingcommon land in a more natural state.• Many cohousing communities emphasize work at home, public transportationuse, carpooling and other trip reduction strategies.• All cohousing communities have shared kitchen facilities thereby reducing thespace allocation in the home and the use of many individual kitchens.• Many cohousing communities have energy efficiency, resource conservation andrecycling programs which are exemplary.• Most cohousing communities have shared laundry, workshop, gardening andrecreation facilities thereby dramatically reducing the individual space allocatedto these things and the individual ownership of equipment.An intentional community is more likely to include ecological considerations because“community minded” people are more likely to be aware of their relationship with theenvironment. An intentional community also has the potential to incorporate ecologicalconsiderations on a neighbourhood scale, and this is just what some cohousingcommunities have done. One of the pioneering Danish cohousing examples, Sun andWind completed in 1980, is a good example:-110 USING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -106Chapter V• The houses are two storey to minimize land coverage and maximize solar accessto the roofs.• The entire cluster is pedestrain access only. Autos are confined to theperiphery.• The buildings are highly insulated and have shutters and high performancewindows. All have water conserving fixtures.• There are solar collectors for space heating and domestic hot water on thecommon buildings and houses. These supply 30% of the total energy needsthrough a district storage and heating system. A wood fired boiler and gas firedbooster supplements the central heat supply.• The group owns a 55 kw. wind turbine located on a nearby hill. This provides10% of the total energy needs. The power is sold to the local utility and thenpurchased back, a far more effective method than attempting to have localstorage and distribution for self-generated electricity.CH V Conclusions.The single family home is increasingly inappropriate to the social needs and emergingecological agenda in industrial society today. Yet it is still an important model in themarketplace and in the public imagination. It is a model which is difficult to amend tomake it more socially and ecologically responsive, particularly using technologicalmeans.A high technology approach to conservation in the single family home is represented bythe “advanced houses” program and by “smart home” control system. Both haveserious flaws in that they fail to challenge the limitations of the single family homemodel, and the real value ol more complex electronic conveniences in the home.Furthermore they increase dependency on devices which may fail, and which willrequire technical support because they are not accessible to the resident.There are “known and available” technical means of reducing the ecological impact ofmaking and operating housing, and many of these are being slowly taken up by themanufacturing industries, design professions and the building industry. However, onlyrecently has a comprehensive conservation agenda begun to emerge in demonstrationprojects. But the actual potential of these strategies for reducing ecological impact islimited to their usefulness in improving how housing is designed and made. The largerframework in which housing is set is one of social, ethical and economic issues whichraise questions of why housing is made, how it is distributed among people, and what- [lOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -107Chapter Vsort of settlement patterns occur. Furthermore there are growth limits set by ecologicalcarrying capacity. These are not so amenable to technological change.However there are both social and ecological advantages in higher densities and moreparticipatory and collective approaches to housing. Densification has merit inproviding for community economies in utilities, local food and energy production, localwaste management and transportation. Two examples of participatory and collectivehousing are “shell housing” and “cohousing”. Though primarily economic and socialmodels, these housing forms demonstrate that ecological consciousness and communityvalues are inti mate! y connected.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 108Chapter VICH Vi. Conclusions. Technology and ecology in new housing concepts. The limitationsof technological change. The broader agenda of changes in values and community.In 856 Henry Thoreau wrote:“And i/il is asserlecl I/ia! civilization is a real advance in the condition ofman,—and! think that i/is, Ihough only the wise improve their advantages-, it must beshown that /1 has produced helter dwellings without making them more costly,and the cos! of a thing is the amount of iihat I will call life which is required to beexchaiiged/r if, immediately or in the long rim” (1).The major physical changes in housing over the past century have been technologicalchange in the way housing is produced and in the utilities and climate control systems. Interms of mechanical conveniences such as refrigeration and appliances, almost all wereintroduced between 191 0 and 1960. Manufacturing trends, mechanical climate controltrends and incorporation of mechanical conveniences are expressions of the scientificmaterialist paradigm and the value of efficiency and market forces in the housing industry.As such they are not adequately connected to the social and culturalaspects of housing.Furthermore there are unexpected, detrimental results of the pursuit of mechanization andefficiency as a single purpose in houses, because the physical and cultural forces at playare far more complex than the oversimplified models which inform these decisions.In terms of the ecological agenda, there is some promise in new technology, particularly inthe fields of energy efficiency and resource efficiency, but these technologies must bechosen as a means to carefully examined ends. If not, new technology is used to cover thefailings of old paradigms.The potential for technological directions forward in the several aspects of hometechnology can perhaps be summarized this way:Building technology. Technologies which improve material and energyconversion efficiency in manufacture can prove beneficial, as can those whichallow substitution for rare or sensitive resources. Actual changes toconstruction technology are very limited given the expected home size andfeatures. In all cases it is necessary to careftilly examine the ends whichefficiencies are serving. How much is appropriate, for whom and why.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 109Chapter VISer’ices technology. New technologies such as biological systems whichprovide utilities and waste processing can be beneficial. However utilities mustalso be controlled to gain the most community benefit, perhaps at the cost ofindividual convenience.• Climate control technology. Technologies which enhance passive performanceand which employ simple and transparent means to improve energy efficiencycan be the most beneficial. However it is important to question the degree ofcontrol which is appropriate.• Convenience technology. Technologies which displace heavy and tedious tasksusing simple and effective means have a liberating benefit. However it isimportant to justify the need, and to understand the social and economicconsequences.• Comnn,nicaiions / inlorination technology. Technologies which reducecommuter trips and provide meaningful information to assist importantdecisions are the most beneficial. However it is important to question the needfor trivial information and enhanced entertainment.The prospects for beneficial change through technology alone, however, are not verypromising, particularly in view of the enormous inertia of consumer patterns and currentdirections in housing and technological development. And change moves particularlyslowly in the residential sector. Counter to the very small “high-tech housing”,“community based housing” and “natural housing” movements in North America, there is amassive mainstream with immense resi stance to re-evaluation of economic, technologicaland socio-cultural priorities.The potential for adaptation of the single-family, detached home to ecological concernsmay be questioned, simply on the basis of house size and per-capita allotment:-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -110Chapter VITable Vl-IHouse Size Per Person (Canada) 1920 to 1992Year Typical New Dwelling Type Floor Area Floor Area Per(Sg.Ft.) Person (Sg.Ft.)1920 “Urban cottage’ on compact lot or 1050 300walkup apartment1950 Compact bungalow (1-1/2 storey) on 1000 313large suburban lot1960 Modest split-level rancher on large 1280 366suburban lot1970 Large suburban home or concrete high- 1500 536rise apartment1980 Large suburban home or concrete high 1750 648rise apartment1992 Very large suburban home, or wood 1900 826frame townhouse or apartment(2,3,4)When average home size nearly doubles in less than two generations, at a time whenaverage household population has dropped from nearly four to less than three persons, thenet increase in per capita housing consumption is nearly three fold. This trend does notstand up to ecological or social scrutiny. These increases in individual resource use addup to an ever growing demand on nature exceeding the point of maximum carryingcapacity.Given this, how is housing to adapt to changing times, and how is necessary innovation tooccur if it does not have a direct cost advantage and expediency for the builder andconsumer? Because the individuals concerns are often not consistent with innovation andresponse to social and environmental agendas, part of the answer is in public policy. Thisis the reason that CMI-IC and other national and provincial agencies have supportedhousing research and demonstration programs to influence the industry. They have alsosponsored many upgrading programs with a technical policy mandate such as the homeinsulation programs, and the residential rehabilitation programs. There are also socialpolicy programs such as co-op housing, low income housing, and housing for thehandicapped. More recently there have been “green housing” programs added.HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 111Chapter VIThe dilemma of public policy when promoting innovation is “under what system of priorityand values and for whom’?”. Builders will argue that they already produce efficiently anddon’t need innovation unless it saves them money, gives them a competitive edge, orreduces their liability. They are driven directly by market demand and consumerpreference and resist bureaucracies. The housing consumer is looking for an affordable,quality house which they CHfl purchase with some measure of protection from grossfailures and hazards. The national code and building research programs have thereforehad to determine a policy mandate by treading carefully through conflicting agendas. Forexample attempts to introduce higher insulation, air barrier and ventilation standards intocodes have taken nearly 1 5 years, largely due to resistance from the builders lobby andconsumer groups. Arguably a more successful approach is to introduce incentiveprograms such as the Canadian R-2000 program instead of codification of standards.Incentives are always better accepted than standards which appear to be prescriptive orpunitive.But almost all of the discussion is centered on how technical innovation in housing is toproceed. The assumption of this position is that it is possible to hnilda way out of ourcontemporary social and ecological dilemmas using more efficiency and better technology.However this is unlikely to occur unless socio-cultural and ethical problems become anadmissible part of the currently limited “technical debate”. Is this possible within thescientific materialist paradigm?According to Thomas Kuhn the revolutions in science throughout history have had twoimportant results:b;cic’h produced a consL’cplen/ shifi in the problems available/or scientific scrutinyand in the standards by I1.hich the pro/’,ssioii determined what should count as anadmissible problem or as a legitimate problem solutionEach Irai,s/ormed the .scietiii/ic Imagination in ways that we shall ultimately needto describe u.s a transformation al/he world i’ithin which scienqfIc work was done(5).If there is to he a revolution in the terms described by Kuhn, it must be a revolution inwhich the uses made of’ science by society are fundamentally restructured usingphilosophical and ethical values. In which every technology is scrutinized to determinesocial value using some community standards and the ecological cost using some-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -1 12Chapter VIecological logic. In a sense this is a return to an ancient model because prior to thenarrowly defined views of progress which prevail today, progress in art and science meantthe result of successftil creative work on behalf ofa group or before god. It meant anaddition to collective acheivement.But technologists who are imprisoned by a paradigm consider themselves as the solepossesors of the rules for evaluation; i.e. that only the experts, ‘the initiated” are qualified.Lay persons (the outsiders) should not, many scientists believe, participate in critiques oftechnology because they are not experts (6). But it is precisely because they are outsidersthat the non-expert is qualified to comment on the relevance, ethics and social-historicalcontext of scientific and technological work.It may be precisely because the proponents of building energy efficiency in the 1970’s andhigh technology housing methods in the I 980’s did not anticipate the cycle oftechnological and human adjustment that would be required once the first steps weretaken that we now have “natural house” proponents. This entire movement may besymptomatic of the cultural shock brought about by indequate understanding of theimplications of change. Particularly in a field like housing with its deeply imbeddedcultural values.And this is not a new phenomenon. At the turn of the century Tolstoy wrote:“Atid lo and behold, the .vcien/isLc ofour limes, instead of employing all of theirstrength to abolish whale ver hinders manfrom utilizing the good things preparedfur him, acknowledge the conditions under which man is deprived of these thingsas unalterable, and instead of arranging the life of a man so that he might workjoyfully aiicf bef’dfiom the soil, the)) devise methodc which will cause him tobecome an artificial abortion. It is like not helping a man out of confinement intothe fresh air, but dei’i.sing means, ms/cad, to pump into him the necessaryquail/it)) 0/ oxygen anti arranging so that he may live in a stifling cellar instead ofliving at honie” (7).Today as the technologies of efficient production, climate control, luxury and informationincrease in housing, more questions are raised about the central shelter, culture and socialrequirements of housing in the broader sense. In fact many of these technological changesare rendering houses less affordable, less understandable and less flexible; trends whichmay counter some of the cherished expectations of housing and housing policy. It mightbe said that, though the convenience, luxury and information technologies are serving amarket demand, they raise more questions about housing values than they serve to answer.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -113Chapter VIJacques Ellul describes ours as “a civilization commuted to the quest/or continuallyimproved means to carelessly examined ends” (8). We produce machines to enhance ourmaterial wealth and control over the physical world, but this leads to the need for moremachines and information to control the machines. Each technology and eachtechnological decision carries with it an agenda which is determined by the social,economic and political context in which it was engendered. This agenda may be life-affirming and may not add any significant value to human culture, or to life on earth.In his conclusion to TeCQpQ1y, Postman posits several characteristics of those who canlive in the modern age while resisting the cultural deterioration brough on by unrestrainedtechnopoly (9). A few of these are:“those who re/usc’ to accept e//!c/enc).’ ci.s the pre—emineni goal ofhumanrelaiion.s’;• those who hare /i cccl fheniseli’esfroni the belief/n the magical powers ofnumbers, do iiot regard calculation as’ an adequate substitute for judgement, orprecisioli ((5 ci .syiioiiyni /or truth;• those who are at least suspicious of/he idea ofprogress, and who do not confusein/brine Iion with unc ler.sIa,idinçr;• those 11110 luke the great nurrati’ees o/ religion seriously and who do not believedial science /s the only system 0/ thought capable ofproducing truth;• those who ac/mire technological ingemii/y but do not /hink it represents thehighest possible /brui o/humai, acheivement.According to Mumford:“f/we are to prel’ent inegatechnics from further controlling and deforniing evetya.spect (?f hitinait culture, we .s’hali he able to do so only with the aid ofa radicallydiffr’renl model deriecl directly, no/from machines, hut from living organisms(Hid from orgailic complexes (ecosystems) This new model will in time replacemegatechmc’s with hioiechiiics; and Ihut is the /irst step towardpassingfrompower /0 p/en/line. once an orgamc 1I’or/dpictilre is in the ascendant, theworking aim of an economy will he, not to feed more human functions into themachine, but to c/eec/op /iirther man’s incalculable potentialitiesfor self—actualization ((lid se!/—transcentleiice, taking hack into himselfmany of theactii’ities he has too supinely suri’endered to the mechanical .system” (10).Thus far the examples provided of “ecological housing” are limited and somewhatdisappointing. This is perhaps because the results will be contradictory until basic qestionsof settlement patterns, social equity and community are included. The design professionsproceed by example, but the example flOW needed must resolve many conflicting and-HOUSING, EC()L()GYANDTECHNOLOGY-114Chapter VIdifficult questions. How much housing and for whom? Facing ecological imperatives willrequire a lot more than new technology. It will require a shift in fUndamental outlook:what we expect from our houses, what we are willing to put emphasis on, and what weare willing to do without, In short, a revolution in values.North American society is the most overhoused in the world in terms of per-capita floorarea, the most excessively serviced in terms of bathrooms per capita and other features,the most excessive energy users for households and transportation, and one of the mostaffluent in terms of the material goods and accessories of the household. In terms of landuse, residential densities are the lowest of industrialized countries and highways andutilities the most widespread.All of these conditions mitigate against more ecologically responsive housing simplybecause each of these consumption patterns has an associated ecological cost, and the costcannot be eliminated by technological change, it can only be mitigated for a time.There is a strong connection between ecology and social justice because raising questionsabout consumption must necessarily also raise questions about human priorities and thedistribution of wealth. In terms of housing type and urban settlements, there is also aprominent issue of gender bias which may be partly addressed within the ecologicalagenda. Feminists have argued that the single family home in a suburb is a physical andpsychological trap fUr women which reinforces their isolation and traditional role. Manyhave argued that this is a housing form and settlement pattern conceived by men which isinappropriate for the needs of women. The alternatives proposed are more collective andmore constructive of community, and inherently more resource efficient.New urban, participatory and collective housing models are beginning to provide a focusfor adressing many social concerns at the same time as environmental preservation. Forexample:• Densification of suburban areas reduces pressure for land development,transportation and utilities requirements. It also promotes community services andaids local area communication.• Urban repair and restoration reduces the need for new construction, improves thesocial climate, and can provide more affordable and convenient housing.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -115Chapter VIMore collective housing types such as co-housing provide a supportive communitywhich can also enhance the environmental responsibility of members and the publicby education and example.• Energy efficiency improvements and other retrofit conservation measures createnew employment while reducing public costs and new demands on overstressedutilities.• Public emphasis placed on modest housing promotes better affordability, therebyreducing family stiess It also promotes a community of voluntary simplicityinstead of conspicuous consumption.Appropriate technology often means lowering expectations and using available methodsand materials, similar to those accessible to poorer people, instead of developing moresophisticated ideas and technology. It is interesting that some of todays passive energydesign and ‘green housing” emphasis in the industrialized world is essentially anappropriate technology movement similar to that applied in poorer nations. It can beasked, “what can be learned from poorer nations about our own housing conditions’?Appropriate housing models and technologies potentially have a good deal in commonbetween rich and poor. Voluntary simplicity is perhaps not very different from necessarysimplicity in ecological terms.One possibility of emerging post-industrial society is that we may use information moreappropriately to discover technologies of”accomodation” with nature. These may bemore consistent with the root meaning of the word “accomodate’ from the Latincommoclare, to make fit. To fit with other species, with minimal disturbance to naturesproduction and cycles of water, energy and material flow, etc. But such an agenda mustalso accomodate concepts of social justice and community if it is to be constructive andwidely applicable. Further isolation between those who have information and capital andthose who do tiol is rapidly leading to social collapse and consequent environmentalcopllapse.But to do this, new paradigms must first be formed, and if these are to be appropriate,they will not be business’ us usual. They will reflect fundamentally different attitudestoward nature, and social and ecological responsibilities. These are being driven both by a“push” from anti-technology and alternative social movements, and by a “pull” from betterunderstanding of ecosystems as models for all activity.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -116Chapter VIMore ecologically and socially responsive housing will not come about throughtechnological change alone, but only by making conscious choices about the cultural,economic and social value of more ecologically sound concepts.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -117ReferencesREFERENCESINTRODUCTION1. Wisernan, H. Introduction, to Nef, J., J. Vanderkop and H. Wiseman (Eds), Ethics andTechnology, University of’ Guelph, Guelph, 1989, (p.viii).2. Giedion, S., Mechanization Takes Command, , Oxford University Press, N.Y., 1948,(Part VI, Mechanization Encounters the Household)3. Rybczynski, W. Horne A Short History of an Idea, Viking Books, N.Y., 19864. Rubin, Nancy, The New Suburban Woman, Coward, McCann, New York, 1982,(Introduction)5. Schneider, A. (H. Ziehe trans and ed.) The Baubiologie Course Guides. Institute forBaubiologie, Clearwater FL. 1990, (Introduction)6. McDonald, NI. lthic.s Versu.s’ Ixper/ise: ihe Politics of Technology, in Nef, J., J.Vanderkop and H. Wiseman (Eds), Ethics and Technology, op.cit., (pp.1 19-120)CR11. Postman, N., Technopolv. the Surrender of Culture to Technology, Random House,Vintage, New York, 1993 (p.123)2. WaIler, Robert, Scietili/ic material/sin, ihe Strait Jacket of Western Cu/hire, The9jgist V. 10 #6&7, pp.224-229, July-Sept, 1980 (p.224)3. Ibid. (1)225)4. Postman, N. 1993, op.cit. (p.23)5. WaIler, R. 1980, op.cit. (p.229)6. Grady, W. Green Home, Planning and Building the Environmentally Advanced House,Camden House, Camden East Ontario, 1993 (p.29)7. Maclntyre, A., (l/iliic,,,ianism and (‘osI Benefit Analysis, Ch. 6, Sayre, K.(Ed.) Valuesin the Electric Power lndustry University of’ Notre Dame Press, 1977 (p.22 I-223)8. Kuhn, T. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Univ. of Chicago Phoenix Books,Chicago, 1962 (p. 1 69)9. Giedion, S. 1 948, op.cit. (Part IV)10. Nelson, G. and Wright, H. Tomorrows House, Simon and Schuster, N.Y. 1945 (p.2)11, Wright, F.L., In the Cause of Architecture, McGraw Hill, New York, 1975-HoUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -118References12. Collins, P., Changing Ideals in Modern Architecture, (ch. 14, the Biological Analogyand ch. 15, the Mechanical Analogy), McGill Univ. Press, Montreal, 1967 (p.155-156)13. Ibid. (p.lIO)14. Ibid. (p.152)15. Bender, T., Environmental Design Primer, Schocken Books, New York, 1973,(pp.114-125)16. Collins, P.. 1967, op.cit. (p.157)17. Guiton, J., The Ideas of LeCorbusier on Architecture and Urban Planning, G.Brazilier,New York, 198118. Glassie, H., Folk Housing in Middle Virginia, The University of Tennessee Press, 197419. Ibid. (p.130)20. Mumford, L., The Pentagon of Power, The Myth of the Machine, Qh.4:5 The FailureofMechanomorpho.sis, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, New York, 1 970 (p.95)21. Gendron, B., Technology and the Human Condition, St.Martins Press, New York,1977 (p.23)22. Postman, N. 1993, op.cit.CHIt1. Thoreau, H., Walden or, Life in the Woods, Signet Books, New American Library,New York, I 9422. Wright, Gwendolyn, The A/lode! i)omes/ie brI’/ronmenl: Icon or Option? in Women inAmerican Architecture, Susana Torre (ed), Whitney Library of Design, New York, 19773. Okarnoto, P., I)e,signing ihe ico/ogica! Suburb? The Neo—Traditionaiisis: Peterca/thorpe andAiidres Duaiiy /Jdizabeth Plater-Zyberk, The Urban Ecologist, Fall, 1991,(pp. 7& 14)4. Kelbaugh, D. The (‘osi ofSpraiiI, Cascadia Forum, University ofWashington Collegeof Architecture, Seattle, 1993, VI #1, pp. 20-265. Turner, J,F.C., Housinghy People, Marion Boyars, London, U.K. 1976, (p.61)6. Ibid. (p.52)7. Eriksson, J., J)n’e/li,ig kalue,s, Swedish Council for Building Research PublicationSB:54, Svensk Byggtjanst, Solna, Sweden. English summary in Synopses 3:93, SwedishCouncil for Building Research, I 9938. Mumford, L., 1970, op.cit. (Ch. 6:3, Technical Liberation)-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -119References9. Rudofsky, B., The Prodigious Builders, Notes Toward a Natural History ofArchitecture...Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, New York, 1977 (p.14)10. Glassie, 1-I., 1974, op.cit.11. Schweitzer, R., and Davis, M.W.R., Americas Favorite Homes, Mail OrderCatalogues as a Guide to Popular Early 20th Century Houses, Wayne State Univ. Press,Detroit, 1990, (p.S I)12. Glassie, H., 1974, op.cit.13. Vogel,Robert M., Building in ihe Age of$/eani, in Peterson, Charles E. (ed), BuildingEarly Arneric Chilton Book Co., Radnor PA., 1976 (p.121)14. Doucet,M.J., and Weaver,J.C., Housing the North American City, (Ch.5, MaterialCulture and the North American House: The Era of the Common Man, 1870’s to 1980’s)McGill-Queens University Press, Montreal, 1991 (p.221)15. Doucet,M.J., and Weaver,J.C., 1991, op.cit. (p.202-203)16. Glassie, H., 1974, op.cit. (p.138)17. Ibid. (p.188)18. Rybczynski, W., 1986 op.cit. (p.22)19. Giedion, S., 1948, op.cit (p.262)20. Ellul, Jacques, The Technological Society, Random House, Vintage, New York, 1964(p.66-6’l)21. Giedion, S., 1948, op.cit. (p.529)22. Ibid. (Part VI)23. Ellul, Jacques, 1964, op.cit. (p.66)24. Giedion, S., 1948, op.cit. (p.510)25. Ibid. (p.541)26. Ibid. (p,625)27. Ibid. (p.591)28. Cowan, Ruth S., More Work for Mother, Basic Books, New York, 1983, (p.203)29. Wright. G., 1977, op.cit. (p.72)30. Bergrnann, B. R., The Economic Emergence of Women, Basic Books, New York,1986 (p.34-531. Cowan, Ruth S., 1983, op.cit., (p.63-64)-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -120References32. ElIul, J. 1964, op.cit. (p. 114)33. Schweitzer, R. and Davis, 1990, op.cit. (p.68-69)34. Doucet,M,J., and Weaver,J.C., 1991, op.cit.35. Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp., Housing in Canada, 1945 to 1986, CIvil-IC,Ottawa, 198836. Doucet,M.J., and Weaver,J.C., 1991, op.cit. (p.215)37. Canada Mortgage and 1-lousing Corp., Qportunities for Manufactured Housing inCanada, CMHC, Ottawa. 1985, (p.20)38. Nutt-Powell, Thomas E., Manufactured Homes : Making Sense of a HousingOpportunity, Auburn 1-louse, Boston, 1982, (p.92)39. CM1-IC, 1985, op.cit. (p.viii)40. Doucet,M.J., and Weaver,J.C., 1991, op.cit. (p. 224 & 241)41. Turner, J.F.C., 1976, op.cit. (p.83)42. McKelIar, James, Industrialized Housing, the Japanese Experience, CMI-IC, Ottawa,1992, (p.86 & 153-181)43. Neubacher, F. The Swedish Factory Crafted Home, CJVLHC, Ottawa, 1992, (p.ii-vii)44. Postman, N., 1993, op.cit, (p.136)45. WaIler, R. 1980, op.cit. (p.228)46. Postman, N., 1993, op,cit. (p.88)47. Kadulski, R., Proposed Code (‘hunges, Solplan Review, The Drawing Room, NorthVancouver, B.C. ,Oct. 1993, pp. 11-14CH III1. Lovelock, James Gala: a new look at life on earth. Oxford Univ. Press, New York,19792. Mc Laughlin, Andrew, Regarding Nature: industrialism and deep ecology StateUniversity of New York Press, Albany, 19933. World Resources Institute, World Resources, 1992-93, (Part 111), Oxford, N.Y., 19934. Risebero, Bill, Modern Architecture and Design, and Alternative History, MIT Press,Boston 1983, (p.240)5. Vale, Brenda and Robert, The Autonomous House, Thames and Hudson, London,1975HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 121References6. Farallones Institute, The Integral Urban House, Sierra Club Books, San Francisco,19797. Bender, Torn, 1976, op.cit.8. Grady, W., 1993, op.cit.9. CIvil-IC, 188, op.cit. (p.9)10. British Columbia Hydro, Electricity Conservation Potential Review. 1988-2010.Summary Report, B.C. 1-Jydro, Vancouver, Feb.1993 (personal communicationwith co-author)11. Schneider, A. op.cit. (Sec. CC2I.8 p.36)12. Pearson, D,, The Natural House Book, Fireside Books, Simon and Schuster, NewYork, 198913. Rees, XV., Ecological Too/prints and Appropriated Carrying Capacitj.’ What UrbanEconomics Leai’es Out, Environment and Urbanization, V.4 no.2, 1992, (pp.121-130)14. Wackernagel, M. et al. How Rig is our Ecological Footprint?. Using the Concept ofAppropriated Carrying Capaci/y/ir Measuring Suslainahility, Task Force on PlanningHealthy and Sustainable Communities, UBC Centre for Human Settlements, 199315. Bergrnann, B. R., op.cit (p.34-35)16. Rothschild, J., 7 ‘echnology, Hoi,,ceivork and Women’s Liberation: A TheoreticalAnalysis, in J. Rothschild (ccl.) Machina Ex Dea, Pergamon Press, NY and Toronto, 1983(p.79)17. Torre, S. , The Pyramid ai’icl the Labyrinth, in Torre, S. (ed) Women in AmericanArchitecture, Whitney Library of Design, New York, 1977 (p.200)18. Hayden, D., Challenging-/he America,, !)omestic Ideal, in Torre, S. (ed) Women inAmerican Architecture, Whitney Library of Design, New York, 1977 (p.39)19. Mumford, L., 1970, op.cit (p.66)20. Wann, D., Biologic, Johnson Books, Boulder, Cob., 199021. McKibben, B., The End of Nature, Anchor Books, N.Y., 199022. Suzuki, D., Inventing the Future, Stoddart, Toronto, 1989CHIV1. Kuhn, T., op.cit. (p.33)2. Ibid. (p.46)3. Ibid. (p.37)-HOUSING, ECOLOGY ANDTECHNOLOGY-References4. Handegord, G. and B.Hutcheon, Building Science for a Cold Climate, Wiley, Toronto,1983 (i)4. Ibid. (p.3)5. Ibid. (p.287-29l)6. Ibid. (pp.292 306, 309-310)7. Lstiburek, J., Building Science J.Lstiburek and Assoc., Downsview Ontario, 1992(p.23)8. Proskiw, G. Utilization of Residential Mechanical Ventilation Systems. The FlairHomes Demonstration Project, Canmet, Energy Mines and Resources Canada, Ottawa,May, 19929. Ellu!, J., 1964, Op.cit. (p.32!)10. Schneider, A., 1986, op.cit. (Sec.I, p.13)11. Ibid. (Sec. 3.3.3, p.34)12. Ibid. (Sec. 4.3.4, p.27)13. Ibid. (Sec. 4.3.4, P.28)14. Ibid. (Sec. 4.3.4, p.39)1 5. Rou sseau, M. (‘onliol o/Sur/cice and Concealed Condensation, Humidity,Condensation and Ventilation in Houses Building Science Insight ‘83, National ResearchCouncil of Canada, Division of Building Research, Ottawa, 198316. Hutcheon, NB., Researchers Break Through the Vapour Barrier, Moisture Control,Southam Business Publications, Don Mills, 197917. National Research Council of Canada, Associate Committee on the National BuildingCode, National ng Code, Seventh ed. 177 “Thermal Insulation and VaporBarriers”— 1 977. (Sec. 9.26 )18. Schneider, A. 1986, Op.cit. (Sec. 4.3.4, p.41)19. Ibid. (Sec.CC 11/6, p.8)20. Berge, B., ihe Metabolic I-louse: ihe House as Part ofan Ecosystem, HealthyBuildings 1988, Stockholm, June 1988, Swedish Council for Building Research, V.2,pp.193-20021. Schneider, 1986, Op.cit. (Sec.5.0, p.4)22. Kuhn, T., 1962, Op. cit. (p.33)23. Lillrnan, E. New, Single Family Timber Building Report #34, The Royal Institute ofTechnology, Stockholm, 193-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -123ReferencesCH V.1. Wright. G. 1977, op.cit.2. Rubin, N. 1982, Op.Cit.3. Okamoto, P., 1991, opcit. (p7)4. Kadulski, R., Ad’aiic/ Concept Houses, Solpian Review, The Drawing Room, NorthVancouver, B.C., April-May 1991 (pp. 12-13)5. Grady, W., 1993, op.cit.6. Ibid. (pp.15 1-152)7. Langreth, R., S/oii’ Co/iig I’or Sniarl Homes, Popular Science, Feb. 1993, (pp.60-3&90)8. Smith, R.L., Smart Housejhe Corning Revolution in Housing, GP Publishing,Columbia MD, 1988.9. Langreth, R., 1993, op.cit. (p.62)10. Cole, R. and Rink, K., Building Assemblies Construction Energy and Emissions, AReport for ‘Building Materials in the Context of Sustainable Development,” TheEnvironmental Research Group, The University of British Columbia School ofArchitecture, Vancouver, I 993.11. Kadulski, R., Mattock, C., Cooper, K. and Rousseau, D., Updating the R-2000Technical Standards, Final Report, Canadian Home Builders Assn. and Energy Mines andResources Canada, Ottawa, March 3], 1 99312. Rees, W. 1992, op.cit.13. Gaitanakis, J. and Rousseau, D., i)en.sification of the Single Family Neighbourhood,Submission to the Sustainable Communities Design Competition, American Institute ofArchitects, 1993 (Text available from the authors The School of Architecture, TheUniversity of British Columbia)14. Rybczynski, W., i/ic’ Home o/the 90’s, /)e.signingf’r Affordability, The CanadianArchitect, April 1990, (pp.26-3 I)15. Freeman, A., The Hoine of the 90’s -2: Ai Urban Starter, The Canadian Architect,April 1990, (pp.32-33)16. Kendall, S., Open Building/br Housing, Progressive Architecture, Nov. 1993, (pp.95-98)17. Habraken, NJ., S. pprts An Alternative to Mass Housing, The Architectural Press,London, 1 972-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -124References18. McCarnant, C, and Durrett, C. Cohousing: A Contemporary Approach to HousingOurselves, Habitat Press, Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, 1988 (p.13)CHV11. Thoreau, H. op.cit.2. World Resources Institute, 1993, op.cit.3. Schweitzer, R., and Davis, M.W.R., 1990, op.cit.4. CMI-TC, 1988, op.cit.5. Kuhn, T., 1962, op.cit. (p.6)6. McDonald, M., 1989, op.cit7. Tolstoy, L., What is Art? (Chapter XX, Conclusion), Walter Scott Publishing, London,U.K. (p.208)8. Ellul, J. 1962, op.cit. (p.64)9. Postman, N. 1993, op.cit. (p.184)10. Mumford, L. 1970, op,cit. (Ch. 14:3, p.395)HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY 125Appendix ITABLE 11-1:CHANGES IN RESIDENTIAL CONSTRUCTION AND SERVICESTECHNOLOGY 1900-1990CONSTRUCTIONSlick framing; Invented approx 1 835, widely adopted by approx. 1870. Platformframing was invented in the 1920’s and widely adopted by the 1940’s. Portableelectric saws have been widely used since the 193 0’s.Mass’ produced nai/s, Cut nails were invented around 1830. Wire nails wereinvented around 1 880 and fully adopted very quickly. Little change then occurreduntil the late 1 970’s when pneumatic nailers were widely adopted.(‘a.v/ coticrefe; invented about 1890, not widely adopted until about 1910.Concrete blocks invented about 1895, widely used by about 1905, Site mixing ofconcrete was largely replaced by delivered ready-mix in the 1950’s.(.‘on.sirucfion pal/c/s, plywood was invented in the 1920’s, but not widely adopteduntil the late I 940’s. One non-structural pressed board (Beaverboard I-IDF) wasinvented in 1910 and slowly gained acceptance throughout the 20’s and 30’s.Other non-structural fiberboards (MDF’s) were invented in the 1940’s and 50’s butnot widely adopted until 1 970. Structural strand board (OSB) was invented in the1970’s and was widely adopted as a substitute for plywood sheathing by the late1980’s,Jn.su/alioii (,,,c/ air i’apour barriers’, insulation materials such as sawdust and plantfibres have been used for a very long time. Manufactured mineral fibres weredeveloped around 1900, but were not used in buildings until the 1930’s. Mineralfibre building insulation with a crude asphalt emulsion vapour barrier was incommon use by the late 1940’s in colder regions. The current approach of higherinsulation values and plastic sheet barriers was developed in the 1960’s, though itwas not in codes in many regions until the 1 970’s. Plastic foam insulations wereintroduced in the 1960’s, and shredded recycled paper in the 1980’s. A completelysealed air/vapour barrier standard appeared in Canadian codes in 1990.J)oors an1 windows; manufactured wood sashwork appeared in the 1870’s andquickly replaced hand manufacturing. By 1920 larger glass sizes were available.Aluminum sashwork appeared in the 1 950’s and quickly became popular. Thermalglazing and plastic sashwork appeared in the late 1960’s but took about 10 years tobe widely adopted. High performance glazing systems and selective coatingsappeared in the I 980’s and are slowly being adopted.P/aslei syc/em.v,’ paper faced gypsum lath was invented in 1898, marketed in1909, but didn’t substantially replace wood and metal lath as a base for plaster untilthe 1 940’s. It, in turn, was almost entirely replaced by gypsum wallboard (drywall)without plaster by the early 1 950’s.Ingineered roof trusses,’ these were widely available by about 1960 and hadnearly replaced site-framed roofs by about 1975.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -126Appendix IJ’refahrica/ed panel and wail systems; These have been around as concepts sincethe 1930’s. Several have appeared in the 1970’s and 1980’s but still have amoderate share of the Canadian market by 1990. Their acceptance in the U.S. ismuch broader.SERVICES AND COMFORT TECHNOLOGYCentral healing and hot wa/er; available about 1 880 and widely adopted by thelate I 890’s. Hand fired units were then largely replaced by automatically firedunits in the 1930’s and 1940’s. Forced air heating was available about 1940 andwidely adopted by about 1955. Higher efficiency combustion equipment (> 70%)began to appear in the 1 970’s but has only been widely adopted in the late 1980’s.1-leat pumps have also been available since the 1970’s but still are not common,even where gas is not widely available. (*Note: this is partly due to electric heatingrate subsidies once provided by large hydro utilities in Quebec, Manitoba andB.C.)Air condilioning; invented in the 1030’s, it did not have practical application inhousing until aler WWII. The widespread use of residential air conditioning inhot regions has largely occurred since the early 1 960’s.kei,l,lation A)vleIns, residential systems were developed in the late 1970’s inconjunction with energy conservation steps in housing. By the mid 1980’s therewere many reliable central exhaust and heat recovery systems available, but by the1990’s they are still used in only a small segment of housing. Basic mechanicalexhaust is mandated by code, and complete systems may be included in the 1995Canadian code (Cli. II reference 46).Liec/ric fig/il/ag; available about 1890 and widely adopted by about 1910.Higher efficiency lamps (>25 lumens/w) such as fluorescents have been availablesince the 1 940’s but have not been widely accepted for residential use. A newgeneration of high elliciency lamps, such as compact fluorescents and halogens,has been available since the mid- 1 980’s. These are beginning to be adoptedresidentially.Electric kitchen appliances; available by about 1930 and continuously adopted asdeveloped. Mixers and automatic toasters were the first, followed by blenders,countertop ovens, kettles and can openers. Food processors and microwaves arethe most recent additions as well as more specialized items such as popcorn,yogurt and ice cream makers. Cordless mixers and electric knives are also recentphenomena.Reside,,!lal c/cc/i/c rc’/rigerafion; available about 1930 and widely adopted byabout 1940. Home freezers were commonplace by about 1955. Frost-freerefrigeration was available by about 1 960 and was adopted quickly. More energyefficient refrigeration was developed in the I 980’s but has a small market share.CFC-free refIigeration is still under development.Elevators; available by about 1910 and widely adopted in the 1920’s for buildingsover 4 stories. However residential high-rise construction was not common untilthe late 1950’s.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TECHNOLOGY -127Appendix IWater supply; early municipal water systems were built in the 1860’s and watersterilization began in the 1920’s. Galvanized iron piping was available by about1880 and replaced most lead pipe by the 1920’s. Copper was available by the1940’s and replaced galvanized iron by the 1950’s. Polybutylene plastic wasapproved in the late 1980’s and has replaced about half of copper’s market share bythe 1990’s.San,Iarj’ dmiii,v; early municipal sewers were built in the 1850’s, though sewagetreatment was uncommon before 1 940. Cast iron drain pipe has been availablesince the mid 1 800’s, used in combination with lead and brass. Copper drains wereavailable about I 945 and replaced some cast iron. ABS plastic was approved inthe mid 1 960’s and rapidly replace most metals for residential use.Jlimhingfixiiiies. cast iron tubs were common by the 1860’s and the modernflush toilet by 1 880 in urban areas. The full bathroom suite and the showerbecame popular well after 1900. Fixtures were exclusively cast iron and ceramicuntil the introduction of cheaper enamelled steel in the 1940’s. The major changessince then have been the introduction of fiberglass, styrene and acrylic plastic in the1970’s, A number of luxury devices such as packaged spas and saunas alsoappeared in the I 960’s and 70’s. Water conserving fixtures were widely availableby the late 1 980’s, and even composting (waterless) toilets have gained a smallmarketCONTROL AND COMMUNICATIONS TECHNOLOGYPrograinmalIe iheiiiios/ats, a basic mechanical clock form of this unit has beenavailable for decades but has been very little used residentially. The fullyelectronic, programmable type has been available since the mid 1970’s but has stillgained little acceptance. Recent marketing of low cost units and promotion byutilities promise to increase their use.Seeuri/j’ alarms; basic, hard-wired systems have been available for decades, buthave been little used residentially except in some security consciousneighbourhoods. Developments in infrared detectors and low-cost wirelesssystems have coincided with increases in urban crime, so that many new urbanhousing units have included these systems since the mid 1980’s.1”iretsmoke a/aims; have only been commonly available for residential use sincethe early 1 970’s. In the I 980’s the price dropped dramatically and reliabilityimproved. By the late 1980’s they became commonplace in most new and olderhousing, and were mandated by codes in many circumstances.Cable fe/ei’isioji; local master antenna TV systems were common in the 1960’s inmultiple housing. These simply provided broadcast signals received by oneantenna. Cable companies began to provide direct service in the late 1960’s, andby 1980 very little urban housing in reach of cable did not have the service.Automatic ugh/lug couuluo/,c; these use occupancy sensors or timers to operatelights only as needed. They have only been readily available since the early 1980’s.Primarily intended as security devices, particularly when used outdoors, they alsohave a convenience and energy conservation value. They are becoming commonfor a few applications in housing.-HOUSING, ECOLOGY AND TCNOLOGY -128Appendix IWired audio/video home enierfainmeni ‘ys!ems, these are a phenomenon of thelate 1980’s and are sometimes linked to home control systems. They are notcommon in new construction, except in luxury oriented homes.Home colIIro/sy.sIem.s; these also are a phenomenon of the late 1980’s. Theyprimarily emphasize luxury conveniences and, to a smaller degree, energyconservation. They are seen only in a few demonstration homes.


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