Low Energy Living

2005 July 16

had the opportunity to visit the Rocky Mountain Institute headquarters building while in Aspen. This building is something of an eighth wonder of the world with its energy sipping approach to modern living. A variety of powering means that include solar and geothermal sources are able to make this eco-house a space that is livable even in the middle of a cold Colorado winter. Inside the house is a year-round garden complete with fruit-bearing banana tree. Warm-blooded pets are also a part of the heating system of the home. Feeling cold? Throw your dog a ball.

I was most impressed with the energy- and resource-efficient kitchen. The sink uses a standard aerated faucet fixture as a means to increase the usable surface area of the water. At MIT there is a little known science museum dedicated to Harold Edgerton with a machine whereby you can see the individual droplets of water within a flow of water by virtue of the flashing of the strobe. This was one of the first things I saw when I came to MIT in 1984 and has really stuck in my mind. When I was introduced to the aerated faucet at RMI, I felt I could see the droplets disperse into a dense cloud of washable material onto my hand. Whereas the standard faucet struck me as terribly wasteful as I could suddenly see all the big gloppy droplets that weren't hitting my hand at all.

It is the combination of the image of Edgerton's stopping time together with the aerated faucet's ability to create more from less that rings in my mind as I scurry to make my new artworks for the Paris show.

Originally published here.