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Less money: Want to save the planet? Work less and spend less!

September 7, 2011

Finally a good excuse for putting your feet up and watching the laundry dry. A recent article entitled “Less Work, More Living” makes this point – “Earn less, spend less, emit and degrade less. That’s the formula. The more time a person has, the better his or her quality of life, and the easier it is to live sustainably.” Nations with shorter working hours actually use less energy and generate less carbon. The article cites a study that estimates that if Americans switched to the shorter working hours of Western Europe, it would reduce energy consumption by 20 percent. And another study that shows that people who voluntarily reduce their working hours are happier.

One of the principles of the “less is more GREEN” approach to design is to spend less money on your home. I feel that people who want to live more lightly on the earth should push back on the social norms of creating big trophy homes. Find the beauty in your existing home. Do a home energy audit and see how you can improve your home performance. Think of ways to optimize what is already there.

If your home is not right for you, sensitively transform it to meet your needs. Although it seems like a way to work myself out of a job, I strive to give my residential clients options that enable them to spend less on making changes to their home. Why work longer hours to afford a higher mortgage for a home that you don’t have time to be in because you’re always at work? It can become a vicious cycle, which is not only unhealthy for our bodies and spirits, but also for the planet.

See a related post: Exploring the aesthetics of less is more GREEN

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