This era in history may be remembered as the "Peak Age", a brief time when nearly all materials used to power and create our society reach the maximum extraction and production potential. Past this point, all of these resources become increasingly difficult to extract until they are no longer economically viable resources to be using. There are hundreds of examples of resources, currently embedded in our industrial society, which have reached their peak in the 50 years surrounding 2010, but the one which will most impact our society is petroleum.

The goal of living for 100 days without oil is to understand the extent of our dependance on oil in American society today. Specifically, how it will affect my life, as a 25 year-oil living in Minneapolis, MN. By using myself as a metric I can take a close and conscious look at where oil dependance occurs in all aspects of our daily lives : How we transport ourselves from one place to another, what we eat, how much waste we create, how water is cleaned and transported, where oil is used as; an energy resource, in conventional medicine and for hygiene and how oil affects how we entertain ourselves and communicate with others. By demonstrating how someone would be forced to live without using any oil resources, outlining both what the sacrifices will be as well as the benefits, we can can identify the many systems which will have to be re-designed in a world without cheap oil, and explore a new way of living in which we live in an energy balance.

(At the bottom of this page is a link to my version of a flow diagram of 'Where Petroleum Exists in Our Daily Lives' (using information from the Energy Information Administration-Annual Energy Review 2008 fig 5.0 Petroleum flow) click and zoom to enlarge)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


8 October 2010

After analyzing how much time is dedicated to various activities in my life in the last post, I wanted to see how my use of time translates to the built environment of my house:

The diagram below shows how the use of space in my house relates to how much time I am spending in these spaces.  My use of space has changed during the course of this project just as the time dedicated to certain activities has.  I spend more time doing dishes, tending to plants , dealing with waste and cooking, and less time washing, and relaxing in my living room :).  um, wow.  Homes in a post-oil age would help to accommodate these changes in lifestyle by dedicating more, and better quality space to activities which we spend a lot of time doing. 

Figure 1 shows the spaces in my house which are dedicated to various activities

Figure 2 uses my pie graphs of time spent doing various activities (from last post) and translates them onto the plan of the house

Figure 3 reorganizes and re sizes the spaces in my house to be more reflective of how I use my time (and what emphasis should be placed on certain rooms). 

The size and quality of spaces in my house does not necessarily reflect the amount of time I spend there.  For example, my kitchen is a fairly large space, but not a great quality space. Many kitchens are designed for function and are quite small compared to the living room.  If you had a tiny kitchen and spent 7% of your life cooking (as I do now) you would be happier with a larger, light-filled kitchen (as many living rooms are).  By making the kitchen a better quality environment you are able to enjoy the spaces of your house which you spend a majority of your time in. 

The majority of the time I spend in my house is sleep, working and cooking.  My sleeping space does not need to be as large as it is now even though I spend a lot of time in it because, well, I'm unconscious :)  This 'frees up' space for a bigger kitchen and work space.  The living room space is typically the space people hang out in, however, when I have people over to cook (which is a lot) EVERYONE hangs out in the kitchen.  That's where the action is and everyone is pitching in to help.  By integrating the living space with the kitchen it allows the kitchen to become a large, quality space and still provides room for those people who are just hanging out. 

Adjacency's are also important.  Although this is a quick sketch, the logic behind where to put spaces in relation to each other is an important part of helping to facilitate the activities of the house.  For example, all the 'water use' spaces are located next to each other (washing dishes, bathroom, shower).  My experience using water from a rain barrel has made me realize that all of the uses of this water should be close together (less hauling).  This means the kitchen needs to be next to the water spaces as well as the bedroom. 

Both the kitchen and growing spaces should be near the compost.  Food goes in on one side and can be accessed for use in soil on the other. 

As mentioned the kitchen is adjacent to the living space, and the grow table runs along the kitchen, living and working spaces.  The grow table could be a very pleasant environment, filled with living things, but also has a functional use.  Food can be harvested literally IN the kitchen, but the growing plants can be enjoyed throughout the living spaces.


  1. I dig this exercise. Interesting to compare to your thesis house you developed for AZ.

  2. yeah...I've learned a lot LIVING the research question. I'll leave it at that.