Brix's newest major efficiency project was inspired by the cities of Berkeley and Boulder. Funded by a $1.24 million federal grant, it will allow home owners and business owners to borrow money to make city-approved energy-saving investments, repaying the funds through a special tax assessment. "Most of what's available to home owners [to finance energy improvements] is a home equity loan, which tends to be in the ten percent interest range," Brix says. He is certain the program can offer a much lower interest rate that will attract home owners.
Growing up in the Chicago suburbs, Brix wore a Boy Scout uniform with pride and took to heart the club's low impact / no impact mantra.
"It was great to do the extended backpacking trips, just carrying your food and your home on your back," Brix says. While "it was all very well orchestrated--you didn't have to hunt and gather to sustain your life...it did make me think about how I could live directly with the more-than-human world.
"We have this problem with talking about the 'natural world' as if it were separate," he says. "We forget that humans are entirely a part of the natural world. It is all one big system."