Green Building Curmudgeon

CSA

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.

Burbs

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.

Logos

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.

Devon Hartman

You said it, Devon

Posted on March 2, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

At a press conference at IBS, Devon Hartman of HartmanBaldwin Design Build described his introduction to green building. Pointing out that he had been doing high quality design build work for over 25 years, he told the group that when he learned about home performance and building science, he suddenly realized that much of what he had been doing so far in his career was wrong.

Orb

Another Nudge

Posted on February 16, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

If you haven’t read my earlier post Nudging Us Towards an Efficient Future, I recommend doing that first, as this post is a follow up.

Greenwash2

What is Really Green?

Posted on February 13, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I recently read an incredible book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan. He writes about the food industry - industrialized farming, huge cattle feedlots, how corn is a prevalent ingredient in almost everything we consume, and other delightful subjects. It is enough to make you stop eating altogether. One subject he addresses is the idea of organic food. While its origins go back to J.J.

Drip

Getting In Hot Water

Posted on February 13, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

As homes become more and more efficient, we need to look for new frontiers in energy and resource conservation. One of the next ones on the horizon is water heating. We have many great options for heating water efficiently including tankless heaters, super high efficiency tank units, geothermal, and solar. They all have their pros and cons, depending on the particular project. One thing that they all have in common is that none of them are effective when connected to a poorly designed hot water distribution system.

It’s the piping, stupid!

Manhole Cover

Green From the Start, Part III

Posted on February 13, 2009 by Carl Seville, GBA Advisor

I hear one particular question very frequently these days – “How much more does it cost to build a green home?” While this is an excellent question, it makes me realize just how far we still have to go in order to move towards a completely sustainable economy. Everything comes down to dollars with everyone. Even people with practically endless amounts of money are cost conscious. Not that it is a bad thing to be aware of what you are spending, but it isn’t good to make every decision based on cost.

Urinal

Nudging Us Toward an Efficient Future

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

I read an article in The New York Times today about the concept of “nudging” people towards better behavior. The story noted that after etching images of flies in the urinals at the Amsterdam airport, “spillage” on the men’s room floor dropped by 80%. An expert in behavioral economics stated “Men evidently like to aim at targets”.

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