Friday, August 6, 2010

Light Green is Good Enough

Save the Earth ! Go green ! Sustainability !

There are many shades of “green-going.”

From the excruciatingly scientific LEEDS Certification, to the silliness of straw bales and yurts. [Here comes the straw bale disciple and Nomadic hate mail...]

From the sublime green to the hippie scene. How about LIGHT GREEN instead of lime green?

Less science mathematical and New Age fanatical, and more to the fore common sense.

We can provide energy-efficient and not-wasteful-of-materials buildings without squeezing the pleasure from the architectural profession, the practicality of the building industry, and without succumbing to wishful thinking.

Keep your construction dollars as near to home as you can. Many products are available locally and your neighbors need jobs.

Example flooring choice: Bring Far Eastern grown bamboo across the Pacific Ocean in high-sulfur bunker-oil-belching container-ships, glue the strips together in California, and market it as "sustainable" because new bamboo will regrow from the root stock of the harvested canes, OR buy solid oak flooring that is sawn and milled from oak trees in the next county.

Pay for higher-end products with VERY long lives. They will cost more and will be tagged as being less "green" because of their manufacturing energy and pollutant costs, but in the long run they save energy because they won't be replaced often if ever.

Example of hydrocarbon use choice: Provide government subsidies to convert natural gas into nitrogen fertilizer to grow corn to create ethanol to create Gasohol OR burn the natural gas in brick kilns which turn clay into one of the most maintenance free products available.

Consider sheet metal of longer-lasting-than-steel aluminum and copper. (Lots of electricity is needed  for smelting the ore). Consider sturdy concrete, concrete blocks, fiber-cement shingles and siding. (All contain Portland Cement, the manufacture of which releases some contaminants into the air). Consider tough and beautiful brick. (Lots of gas is burned to fire them.}

You can "sustain" foreign growers and powers. You can “sustain” the energy costs of longer-haul-than-necessary transportation. You can “sustain” the use of short-lived disposable products.

Or you can keep your dollars closer to home, support local industry and labor, and use long lasting materials. Look in the mirror. NOW who’s green?

No comments:

Post a Comment