Progress Updates

July 23, 2021 Embodied Energy

The block foundation was laid on July 14. Cement has high embodied energy which means it takes a great deal of energy to produce. For that reason, we want to use it judiciously. The crawl space is 32" high which is just high enough for pipes, etc. but required minimal layers of block.

These 8"x8" ash posts will be used as posts and beams inside the cabin. All of our ash trees are dying because of the emerald ash tree borer so the Motherhouse bought a portable sawmill which allows us to mill the dead trees for lumber. These timbers and the other wood we will use in the cabin store carbon that the trees removed from the atmosphere when they were growing so the total embodied energy for the cabin will be low.

I’ve been pondering the term “embodied energy” as metaphor. What kind of energy to I “embody”? Cement contributes to the imbalance of too much carbon in the atmosphere because it depends on extracting fossil fuels. The ash posts and beams, on the other hand, contribute to balance by storing carbon. Am I like wood or like cement? Do I embody steadiness and balance at a time when so much around us feels chaotic and in need of grounding? Or do I contribute to imbalance by allowing myself to be pulled into fear and divisiveness?