Among the many contentious issues of our day, the concept of being ‘environmentally conscious’, certainly strikes a few hot buttons for some. This post isn’t going to explore the politics of Al Gore, or Rush Limbaugh, because, controversial as that subject may be, there’s just not enough space to do the topic justice, and frankly, I don’t find it that interesting.
My personal angle on the Green Movement tends to slant more toward the practicalities of implementation, and looking at the cost/benefit balance for long term value. Given the condition of our current economy, and the impact of rising energy prices, and prices overall, I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say everybody’s looking for ways to save money.
From that perspective, the question becomes one of whether it’s more practical to save money now (which frequently means either making do with less, or doing nothing), or to take the preventive and holistic steps that provide for long term cost and resource savings through conservation, thoughtful design, and practical implementation of new home-building technologies.
The Green Movement is really just a convenient handle for the overarching conversation that revolves around the management and distribution of resources within a given community, and attempts to provide quantifiable benefits for the conscious, thoughtful, holistic use of those resources.
The holistic view can be overwhelming but done well, it brings together the critical elements of a home: location (both within the community, and the specific site), materials usage, durability, water management/usage, power usage, lighting, walkability/transportation, and landscaping to name a few.
As resources in our finite world become increasingly difficult to procure, and consequently more expensive, finding cost-effective ways to recycle old materials into new products, and avoiding the dead end of landfills, will become yet another major industry- as we’re already seeing in many third-world countries. It’s not a matter of ‘if’, this is truly a direction all developed nations are already heading towards- from mining turkey carcasses for oil, to reinventing formica countertops– the race is already on for renewable solutions to our most challenging environmental questions.
There are an endless array of opportunities within this shift, some of which have been proposed as elements of a recession-ending strategy, and others that feel truly sci-fi.
Having recently earned my Realtor, Green Designation, I find this topic to be an endless source of ideas and look forward to implementing as much as I can in my own home. If you have questions or ideas about green construction, I’d love to chat.