If you look at Hong Kong harbor, that’s the classic feng shui setting. You’ve got the open waterfront that brings all the energy to the place, all the travel, the boats, the trade, the commerce. All of that energy comes into the place and it’s completely supported by a mountain range at the back. And then you’ve got this harbor basin where everything kind of thrives.
On the greatest level like a city, a setting of a city like that, or even New York City for that matter, right the way down to how you would arrange any particular room in our house, a bedroom, you need to do exactly the same thing.
You have full view of the door from the position of the bed, there’s a good strong head to the bed where you’re protected and there’s a sense of protection either side and we need that because our instinct is we need to be protected when we sleep that way, simply because it’s programmed in from the earliest experience as a child where we’re held in a mother’s arm, against a mother’s breast and that kind of crook of the arm, the head is supported in that position.
That’s for life. We need that to go to sleep. These are all what I call primordial instincts that feng shui, when it’s practiced at its most common sense, most fundamental understanding or observations of those human needs and how we fit our needs into our surroundings or how we manipulate our surroundings to meet our needs, then these are very ancient things. They’re as old as we are as a species.
That’s sort of a very common sense approach, we have very specific needs and how do we meet them. Feng shui was the first eco-science. It was a scientific understanding through observation and repeated observations about what goes around comes around. That’s to do with the physical location.
Another aspect of feng shui is really astrology for houses. We’re looking at what we’d call phenomenology, which is the movement of time, and how the celestial bodies, way out there in the heavens, the movement, the subtle movement of those electromagnetic forces, how that plays out on the surface of the earth and how that affects our experience of a given location when there are different electromagnetic forces.
They’re very subtle and so a lot of this, in my observation, now a days, with the advent of electricity, roads, general noise, the urban setting of all the noise and chaos and microwaves and all of the rouge frequencies of electromagnetic forces from turbines and generators and cell phones and all of that noise, it’s piled on top of the natural environment now. Even Central Park isn’t really nature in the real sense – It’s a kind of slice of nature, a little sample of nature to remind us what the natural world feels like. Like the rest of the city, it is flooded with microwaves and cell phone signals. That’s what I mean by not being real nature.
It’s a little more difficult to feel the forces and the effects of those traditional observations of feng shui, particularly the celestial type influences. So we tend to look a lot more at the form of feng shui – the physical walls and the position and the layout and the function of a property.
The astrological component still has some bearing but I’d say only really probably about a 20% effect on what we really experience on our life because there’s so much other stuff in the way to be able to experience it. And so in a modern sense, in a modern setting, where we now look at sustainability – how we can create homes and buildings that are less taxing to the planet, that they have less embedded energy within them, right the way from how we source the materials, how we then treat those materials, whether we do use a lot of heat, to create that concrete.
The cement that’s in the concrete, how much energy goes into that, how much carbon do we have to produce to create that physical building block or form or mold that piece of wood to make it into a shape that we can build with. If we want to look at the world of eco-built science is looking very carefully at how we can reduce all of that embedded use of carbon in the manufacturing and the building, both the manufacturing of the products, building products, and the actual act of building that house.
How do we reduce that? And how do we reduce it in their lifetime, the usability of that house so that we can lessen the amount of energy we use as we dwell. I’ve worked on projects where there’s zero carbon. I’ve worked on zero carbon houses in Britain and Europe. The house is so phenomenally insulated that actually the heat coming off the human bodies in that house is the thing that heats the house, and that’s in Northern Europe, in a cold climate.
And in the real extreme winter, you need a little wood burner to top it up just to get a little extra warmth on the house. The science is there and the actual building practice, the building code is there too. They’re sort of changing the codes now, as we speak, as they have been for the last 15-20 years.