On Sunday, July 23rd, 2017, The Red House Community hosted what we hope is the first of many "21st Century Salons." We watched an episode of National Geographic Television's Years of Living Dangerously Season 2, Epsiode 1, "Into the Light". The episode contrasts the challenges facing India with its incipient demands for electric power and the flexibility they have with an undeveloped power grid, and political corruption and large power utilities' influence in the United States preventing reasonable adoption of alternative energy including solar. We discussed the complexities of energy policy including why energy concerns lobby so hard against alternative energy instead of just getting in on the potential profits. An article that was introduced in the discussion was "5 Reasons Utilities Are Hating on their Solar-Producing Customers" from Ars Tecnica. In Minnesota, the article notes that the Minnesota State legislature requires that Xcel Energy include the value of solar on the energy grid in its valuations. The result of this requirement has revealed to Xcel that they get a net benefit from solar gardens and individual solar energy installations. We also had a lively discussion of the challenges of triple bottom line accounting. A category of accounting with promise, but one that is very hard to promote adoption of a GAAP-like standard because of the difficulty in measuring damage to the "commons".
Welcome to the Red House Community
Founded in 1997 in Saint Paul Minnesota's Summit-University Neighborhood, our small "community" of between 4 and 6 adults has always been focused on a practical and unpretentious version of "intentional community". Rather than pretending to have lofty ideals of social perfection, we just make an effort in what ever ways each of us are able to be more intentional about how we live our lives. Why live a life of quiet desperation if you don't have to?
Simply put, we aim to eat lower on the food chain and try to reduce unnecessary use of electricity, choosing wind power through the local power company, buying organic and locally grown food when possible, and shopping with house money at locally owned stores.
We also make an effort to be interested in the well being of our fellow housemates so that we can all feel that our home is more than just a shelter. Many people react to the idea of Intentional Community as strange and probably complicated and stressful. What we have found is that intentional community is often far less stressful and much healthier than living alone.
Two of the members own the house, so the community is secure and stable in the current location.
House rules change with the housemates, but we make all of our decisions by consensus (except where a decision involves capital improvements or alterations to the structure, mechanicals, or large appliances. Such decisions are mostly consensual, but the two members who own the property are the ones who put up the capital to make the improvements).