Let’s continue our exploration of permaculture design principles. From sectors in permaculture topermaculture zoning to relative location to the ideas that one element should have multiple functions, and one function should be met by multiple elements – we’ve already covered a vast array of tools and techniques that permaculturists use to create low input, high output sustainable gardens. The next principle on our list is probably the most familiar to most greenies – energy efficiency. But the permaculture take on energy efficiency goes a little beyond those Compact Fluorescent Bulbs you just screwed in.
Because permaculture is based on the idea of close observation and emulation of nature, energy efficiency is an absolutely central element. Every animal, plant and microbe has evolved to make the maximum use of the energy available to them – from the lean, muscular physique of a gazelle, to an oak tree’s collection of solar energy – nature is a master at harvesting energy and using it wisely. So permaculture aims to work with nature to minimize the need for energy inputs – be they human labor or mechanical/fossil fuel inputs.