Having recently awoken from a consumerist daze to realise that – duh! – oil is a finite resource, and that none of its replacements can produce even close to the same amount of energy, I decided to blog our efforts to reduce our energy consumption, ideally wean ourselves off direct & indirect use of fossil fuels as much as we can, and generally prepare ourselves an our community for the reduction in energy availability that is to come . . . so here goes.

We’re working on the premise that we’re not going to be taking to the mountains, going and living in the woods, or building a big concrete bunker. Rather we’re looking at the Transition Towns model, where we work on building a diverse, resilient community, increasingly able to supply its own basic requirements locally.

Our preparations are only slightly compromised by our imminent relocation from Australia back to the UK, but this does present a whole lot of opportunity to start again. We’ll be needing a new house, so we have the chance now to look for ones that will most support our post-peak-oil lifestyle. This means I need to work out what that really will require, before we can really hope to achieve it. From my initial reading, and skirting the apocalyptic doom-mongers, some of my thoughts are:

  • Large, south / south-west-facing unshaded garden for growing a substantial portion of our own fresh food. And / or close proximity to allotments.
  • Walking distance to friends & local shops, and the ability to do almost all our travel by foot, bike or public transport.
  • Our own water supply – at least for garden/non-drinking use.
  • A house that can be economically retrofitted to ensure that it neads minimal energy to heat and light, and minimal water to run.
  • Some form of local energy storage & off-grid lighting/power to cope with blackouts
  • The ability to cope without reliable access to main sewage disposal.
  • Little-or-no debt.
  • A long way from any prospect of flooding.
  • Part of a community – no mountain-top shacks for us.

That sounds like a great list to get started with – I’ll keep you posted.