Sustainable building construction and environmentally considerate living are at the forefront of the changes we are being encouraged to embrace into our lifestyle, and increasingly inspired by climate change precautions. Well, there is nothing new in that. It is as ancient as traditional Feng Shui, a name first found in existing texts that date back some 2000 years. However archeological evidence of its practice can be traced further back to the mid-neolithic era when arable and livestock farming communities with permanent village settlements first became established in China around 6000 BC, a transition facilitated by the global climate warming that followed the last ice age.

During that prehistoric early agricultural period, people lived in constant touch with the spirit of the natural environment. Like other ancient settlements found worldwide, Chinese dwellings were built using sustainable natural materials, mostly stones, mud, reeds, leaves and wood, that could either be returned to the ground from whence they originated or recycled to construct new dwellings, a practice that lasted through millennia until being replaced by the advancement of modern living.

Sustainable Feng Shui Design

These days it is inconceivable to live without the creature comforts of central heating, double glazing, electronic devices and so on. But the quality of indoor living environments is being challenged and depleted by various modern building materials and furnishings, disposable items and personal life choices. This is why it is becoming more important than ever to help reunite people with the essence of natural harmony. A healthier and sustainably harmonious balance can be restored by introducing the natural Feng Shui elements of Water, Wood, Fire, Earth and Metal appropriately into your living space and by making various adjustments based on the Feng Shui principles of yin and Yang.

For example:

  • Open windows and doors wide to release unhealthy residues and receive a sustaining qi circulation of fresh air indoors. Refresh the atmosphere with only pure natural essential oils.
  • Healthy houseplants will look after you by improving indoor air quality and absorbing CO2, but plastic ones will only gather dust. Plants have a very useful role in sustaining your home and your wellbeing, their element is Wood growing in Earth and the container can be Wood, Metal or ceramic Earth, also Water or Fire can be introduced through its colour.
  • A moving fresh water feature will enhance the ecology of your living space and in Feng Shui the Water element is associated with potentially sustaining progress, prosperity and communication.
  • Conserve rainwater drain-off loss by channelling it to create a rain garden or wildlife pond that will attract and sustain biodiversity. And if you can, plant a new tree as a sustainable gesture to the planet.
  • Use natural materials in preference to artificial ones that are not biodegradable or cannot be recycled. Where possible too, avoid using over-packaged and throw-away disposable items: eg.use rechargeable batteries and buy unwrapped fresh produce, preferably locally grown.
  • Check the origin and composition of your purchases. Many well-made, locally manufactured items can be found with some investigation, quite often at a similar price to imported goods from cheaper producing countries.
  • If you are refurbishing a property, wool and straw both make very effective and sustainable insulation materials. Agroforestry management, sustainability and regeneration programmes highlight the advantages and durability of wood-framed buildings, whilst timber beams are a preferable solution to steel girders or concrete pillars. When redecorating, use organic and natural eco- wall paint, especially if a family member has any allergies or respiratory health conditions.

These are just a few examples of ways to apply Feng Shui principles so that your home, your wellbeing and your health will thrive more sustainably. This ecologically significant aspect of Feng Shui is a fundamental part of its underpinning intention, which is to connect people more closely with the harmonious flow of nature.

Sylvia Bennett
International Feng Shui Master, Consultant and Subtle Environment Surveyor