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Separated Home Systems

A Framework for Stability -- and Change

Our utilities -- electrical, plumbing, HVAC and communication -- are tangled together and buried behind finished interior walls, making our homes an aging snapshot of the moment they were built. No wonder moving a wall seems as daunting as moving a mountain. This inflexible design makes home upgrades not only difficult but costly. It's incompatible with both the pace of technological innovation and the very nature of our lives.

A better approach: separate the three major home systems. The structure of your home -- or the "building envelope" -- should be built for long-term durability. The utilities can easily keep pace with the advent of new technologies if we disentangle them from the floor plan, or the interior wall system. We call this "systems thinking," or "whole-house design."

In our homes as in our lives, we need a framework for both stability and change. Separated home systems provide that framework. They protect the durability of each system -- and they prepare us for all the possibilities that lay ahead.

Image of the three home systems

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Content updated on 1/5/2007

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