A home is part of a wider social community and the impacts of living in our communities have greater implications for our CO2 emissions than those associated with the construction and running of our homes. For example, for a standard 2002 regulations house, the impact of transport, food production and distribution total some 40% of CO2 footprint (www.bioregional.com). A low carbon house therefore needs to promote the convenience of environmentally conscious living both in its design and its relationship to the district within which it is located.

Carbon emissions are reduced through the efficiencies of successful community projects such as car pools, transport schemes, heating systems, local food production and distribution schemes and waste processing. The BaleHaus® has been developed with these factors in mind. In addition, the relationships and associations implied aim to provide convenient and lifestyle enhancing development as opposed to the general conception of low carbon living as restrictive and dull.

The principle encompasses housing, food, education, work, energy, transport and leisure. In this respect our proposals embody the principles of the One Planet Living (OPL) framework. A joint initiative of BioRegional and WWF, this recognises that our domestic carbon impact goes far beyond merely providing a low energy home. The aim is to produce stimulating and creative environments to live and work. Flexibility is designed in, enabling, for example, home work in a number of patterns, as well as adaptation over time in response to personal requirements.