For at least five years now, I’ve had a standing email conversation with five other guys. We cover topics from building to politics to business to our marriages and divorces. They’re smart people who care deeply about the world around them. Most of us have experience in the trades and in publishing. We don’t pull punches with each other. The other day, I mentioned this blog to that group. One of the guys, who’s been a green builder for 30 years or so, and whose wife is an environmental scientist, responded with the following:
“If we actually gave a damn about the environment, we’d be applying pressure in places where it could actually make a difference. Saving the environment by super-insulating the reclaimed materials in your tiny house is as futile as imagining world peace.”
Cue sound effect of a needle dragging across vinyl.
Another replied, “These may be the best single lines about ‘green’ ever written. I do think there is more to it and a possible butterfly effect, but mainly, YES. Want to lower greenhouse gases? Carbon capture. Make Petroleum pay for it. Solar panels or green roofs on every commercial building available. Solar parking lots in every mall there is worldwide.”
Well, yes. I agree that it will take big action to really make a difference when it comes to climate change. And I wonder sometimes what the point is of the green building we do. According to the US Energy Information Administration, residential use accounts for around 21% of our total energy consumption. That’s significant. However, there are about 138 million housing units in the US, a number that grows about 1% per year. Even if every new home built going forward were net-zero, it would take a long time to move…