Efficiency and economy are more than just the current trend – they’re the guiding principles for our future. These common sense goals apply across the board – to our energy, water, transportation, housing – virtually everything.
We simply can’t continue wasting valuable resources while feeding an increasingly unpredictable climate in the face of a faltering global economy.
Fortunately there are forward-thinking people like award-winning homebuilder and developer, Fernando Pages Ruiz, who’ve taken on the challenge of designing affordable, sustainable, and efficient housing that makes sense. Ruiz has written a great article – "Designing the Small House" over at Buildipedia.com – detailing his method of designing smaller homes by thinking "inside the box":
"Even at equal size, some footprints are more efficient than others. When I described the traditional neighborhood homes as little cubes, I was referring the basic structure. The cube works best when designing small homes because it yields the highest floor-to-shell ratio. In other words, it provides the smallest area of exterior surface to cover the largest proportion of living space."
Even if you’re not planning to build a new house – the article has plenty of practical design tips on how to make the best use of small spaces (like apartments) as well as a couple of eye-popping 3-D renderings to demonstrate his designs.
Fernando Pages Ruiz has also written two books on the subject of affordable home design – both available at Amazon:
The New Economy Home
Fernando Pages Ruiz has teamed up with Architect Marianne Cusato and Homebuilding Consultant Mark LaLiberté to develop "The New Economy Home". This efficient and adaptable home concept is the first of its kind – economic to build and maintain – and adaptable to changing circumstances:
ADAPTABLE IN GOOD TIMES AND BAD
The New Economy Home is designed with the flexibility to adapt to the owners needs in either good times or bad. An adaptable suite is located on the first floor with a private entrance and porch. The suite can function as part of the whole house or break off into a private suite or income producing apartment. In good times this suite can be used a a family room or guest bedroom. In tighter economic times, this suite can be rented to help offset the mortgage, used by an adult child returning home, an elderly parent, or even one member of a divorcing couple that can’t support two households."
With this kind of built-in flexibility, there’s no doubt in my mind that they’re on the right track and setting an example for how we all need to adapt to the new economic reality.