SO YOU WANT TO BUILD A GREEN HOME?
Green, eco, sustainable, ecological.You hear these terms used more frequently but what do they mean? These words are use to define the same thing and are often interchangeable. In recent years, the term 'green' seems to be the most popular, but back in 1954, R. Buckminster Fuller, the famous architect and theorist, defined sustainability as: the conscious design of our total environment, in order to help make the Earth's finite resources meet the needs of all of humanity without disrupting the ecological processes of the plant.
At its heart, the green design movement is all about "market transformation." A market transformation occurs when a new technology or method of doing things emerges which is so superior that everything which came before it eventually becomes obsolete. This puts a new spin on keeping up with the Jones'!
So you ask yourself, "Self.so you want to build a green home?" I contemplate the idea with much deliberation."will this be like teaching an old dog a new trick?" When you're married to a land developer and home builder you begin understanding early on that a home is no more than a place to hang your hat for a couple years, max, before moving your beloved belongings to another more desirable address.
With each new home we move in and out of our family finds more and more reasons to want the next one to be healthier, safer and more efficient than the last. In this process we have found many reasons to build smaller, and smarter. By reaching out to those who have 'been there and done that' when it comes to building green and living a sustainable lifestyle, we've relied on two organizations for guidance: SiGBA (Sierra Green Building Association) and the United States Green Building Association. Their leadership is invaluable when it comes to setting new green building industry standards like LEED.
The term "green building" can be unfamiliar territory for those setting out to make a sustainable change in their living environments. Green building is a way of looking at buildings that allows people to be more responsible with energy and natural resources. Below is a simple list of categories used to describe the design and construction of a green building with some or all of the following characteristics:
- Buildings that have minimal adverse impacts on local, regional, and even global ecosystems;
- Buildings that reduce reliance on automobiles;
- Buildings that are energy-efficient in their operation;
- Buildings and grounds that conserve water;
- Buildings that are built in an environmentally responsible manner from low-environmental-impact materials;
- Buildings that are durable and can be maintained with minimal environmental impact;
- Buildings that help their occupants practice environmentalism, e.g. by recycling waste; and
- Buildings that are comfortable, safe, and healthy for their occupants.
Green building addresses the relationship between a building and the land on which it sits; how the structure might help to foster a sense of community or reduce the need for automobile use by its occupants; how to minimize energy use in the building, and how to create the healthiest possible living space.
We are literally between a rock and responsibility. As January 1, 2010 approaches and the new and improved building codes go into effect, we are driven by the necessity to comply, but mostly we want to do our part to protect the environment and help make the Earth a better place for future generations. At long last we are ready to build a green home. And just maybe. this will be for the last time?