Green Building Curmudgeon


Let’s kick the “easy” habit

Posted on April 18, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Practically everyone has seen the Staples advertisements on TV featuring the "easy button." Few people question the idea that things should be easier, but maybe more of us should. "Easy" may appear to be a good thing in the short term, but most things that are easy are actually conspiring to cost us our future in terms of excessive waste, overconsumption of resources, environmental damage from energy generation and vehicle pollution, financial suffering, and declines our health.

Question the value of "easy" in daily life


Green Building Program Roadkill

Posted on April 8, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

First, a little history
The competition is heating up in the world of green-building certification. Things moved slowly and steadily, starting way back when Austin, Texas put together its local program. With a limited amount of green-home certification available in the late 1990s, the NAHB Research Center set up a project to assist local home builders' associations in creating their own green building programs.


Helping the Environment, One Drop at a Time

Posted on March 26, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

There is a lot of discussion about pervious paving and its contribution to the environment. Standard paving materials collect pollutants like oil, chemicals, and rubber tire particles from vehicles, pesticides, and dirt, only to have rain wash it off into our waterways, degrading our fresh water supply. Natural landscapes allow rain to percolate down through the soil, taking various pollutants with it, filtering and cleaning them as they flow down, typically arriving clean and clear by the time they reach the water table.


Product Verification – Are We SAVED?

Posted on March 25, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Following up on my comments on green product verification – One More Thing to Worry About– I recently learned about ICC ES-SAVE (Sustainable Attributes Verification and Evaluation), yet another program to verify the sustainability of products.


How Big Should a House Be?

Posted on March 20, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I am in the process of planning to build myself a new house. I currently live in a 700-square-foot cottage built in 1925 that I have determined is ready for replacement. While it functions fine, the basic design does not lend itself to renovation, and, considering the scale and design of other homes in the neighborhood, investing in the structure would not be wise.

LEED Home Logo

Logo Wars

Posted on March 19, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I am a provider representative for the LEED for Homes program. Working through an official provider licensed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), I certify homes under this august program. I appreciate all the work that has gone into this very rigorous certification system, and, while I certainly have some issues with it, I try to support and promote it when I can.


Local Food, Local Wood

Posted on March 12, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I picked up my weekly box of locally grown organic food today — not exactly a farm co-op, commonly knows as a CSA, but a small, farm-based business that distributes these fine products to individuals and restaurants in the region. I’ve been doing this for a few weeks, and it is interesting that what's in the box — the contents of which are unknown to me until I open it — dictates my diet now, rather than what looks good to me in the market. Right now cabbage, root vegetables, and lettuce are in season, so I’m eating more of those. I also got some nice strawberries and some peppers.


Time to stop building new single-family homes

Posted on March 12, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

A recent article in The Atlantic magazine by Richard Florida, "How the Crash Will Reshape America," has some very interesting observations about home ownership and the damage that our society has done to itself by creating artificial incentives for people to own homes. Home ownership has been subsidized in America for many years through mortgage-interest tax deductions and artificially low interest rates.

Ford Plant

Why Do We Have Waste?

Posted on March 8, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

Recycling is becoming firmly entrenched in society. Kids in school are taught the merits of recycling paper, plastics, and the like, and are successfully shaming their parents into changing their behavior.


One More Thing to Worry About

Posted on March 3, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

The NAHBNational Association of Home Builders, which awards a Model Green Home Certification. Research Center has just announced its “Green Approved” certification for product manufacturers, and the first seal of approval has been issued to Weyerhauser for its iLevel structural wood products. This is an interesting development that comes hot on the heels of the ANSIAmerican National Standards Institute. National nonprofit membership organization that coordinates development of national consensus standards. Accreditation by ANSI signifies that the procedures used meet the Institute’s essential requirements for openness, balance, consensus, and due process. -approved National Green Building StandardNational Green Building Standard Based on the NAHB Model Green Home Building Guidelines and passed through ANSI. This standard can be applied to both new homes, remodeling projects, and additions. , also a product of the Research Center and a group of industry professionals.

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