commarch blog

Element. Energy.

March 01, 2020 - By Dean Horowitz

Akasha, in Vendantic Hinduism tradition, is the first ELEMENT.

It is the essence of the material world. A spiritual force that Earth, Air, Fire and Water descend from. Infinite space. Creative Energy. The binding force between elements.

FIRE, this issue’s cover, is the display of passions and skills with confidence. Our reputation and the ability to be recognized for our gifts. Passion. Confidence. Vibrance. Fire. Heat. Energy.

These are also known as the Five Transforms of Energy. Wood feeds Fire, Fire creates Ash (soil), Earth produces Metal (minerals), Metal condenses into Water, and Water feeds plants (wood).

Every element in the Five Transforms of Energy has an element that “creates” it and an element that “controls” it. Thus, creating balance and harmony. A Controlling Cycle to keep harmony in the world. Fire melts Metal, Metal chops Wood, Wood breaks through Earth, Earth dams up Water, and Water douses Fire.

The heat content of fuels and energy sources is measured by the British thermal unit, or Btu. The residential and commercial sectors account for about 40 quadrillion Btu of total U.S. energy consumption, or an estimated 40 percent. Later in this issue, we explore statistics on U.S. energy consumption: petroleum, natural gas, coal, renewable energy and nuclear electric power.

As the ones responsible for the planning, design and construction of the built environment, we wrestle with energy consumption. No less a focus is our yearning for balance and harmony. How do we properly use our resources as we see energy needs continue to escalate? How we can leverage historic thinking as a path to balanced energy types and their consumption.

There are no easy answers, but finding them begins with having the best information and acknowledging the facts.


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This commARCH White Paper focuses on how Wood shows psychological and physiological benefits, according to research. Wood has been used as a building material for millennia, but its benefits to people who live, work, and gather in the built environment are only beginning to be understood. Researchers are discovering that wood can contribute to the health and wellbeing of building occupants. While many people would agree that wood is visually pleasing, its aesthetic properties affect humans on a deeper level. Can the use of natural elements in building design enhance moods and reduce stress? Can they improve focus, creating environments that enhance productivity and learning? In this white paper, we’ll examine the benefits of an emerging design approach, and the science behind it