By Amy Knight

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The House We Live In: A Series on Building the Sustainable Home in Tucson, Arizona


It’s been another one of those weeks where Matthew worked his butt off on the house and I barely thought about it.

Partly that’s just the timing of the process, but it’s also because I’m very busy with work. In fact, I’m writing this from the airport, on my way to Montana where I have a case left over from my practice there. I haven’t been back to Helena (my most recent previous home) since this house project began. I wonder which things will look different to me. A friend and colleague has put up some PV panels since my last visit and I’m excited to see those and hear what it’s like in a decidedly less solar-friendly place (both the physical climate and the culture). I’m excited to be back inside my beloved local brewery and see what I notice about the building that never occurred to me before. I probably won’t so much as drive by my old house there; it’s someone else’s house now. But I’m interested to look around in a place where the architecture is so very different, where people are more worried about -20 degree winter days than that scorching sun.

And of course, my Montana buddies all want to hear about it. It’s always an interesting exercise to talk about the process with new people, to think about where I am with it all so I can explain it to them.

Also fast approaching is another long weekend with Matthew. I have given myself homework, to be completed before he arrives: figure out as many of the details of the most recent plans as I can on my own, so we can maximize the time we have together on things I truly need him for.

In the mean time… Takeoff!


Amy Knight is the fiction editor for Terrain.org. In this weekly blog series, she chronicles the process of designing and building an eco-friendly house in Tucson, Arizona. The series will explore both how it’s done and what it means, from the perspective of someone who wants to do the right thing but knows almost nothing about sustainable building. Look for new posts every Monday. You can email Amy at [email protected] or leave a comment here.

Terrain.org is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.