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Green Building Is Dead

I just read a post by Paul Eldrencamp entitled, "Green Building Is Dead."

When I first skimmed it, I indignantly thought, "Well maybe he should try making buildings that work." Then I read it again, and again... and stewed on his credentials... and I have to say I agree, and am very much looking forward to reading his posts on this subject.

As a longterm fan of, and volunteer for, historic preservation groups and history nonprofits, I value historic preservation and how it can benefit a locale's charm and become a resource, promoting character vs. another bland "could be anywhere" cityscape for the community.

I am also a fan of what has been recently termed "Refab." Lloyd Alter's take on Refab Philosophy is practical and right on the (frugal waste-ye-not) money. (You may have noticed that I'm BIG on practical livin'...) ; )

I sell buildings.
I sell buildings that are passive solar design, that are supposed to function, to work.
How do I reconcile this with my preservation / non-waste philosophy?

Maybe we should look at crop tree release.

If we approach construction as we do crop tree release, we might be able to help our industry flourish by removing the ineffective, non-functional "weed" buildings, while preserving the ones that are of value. In crop tree release,
"...woodland owners have many different reasons for owning and managing their woodlands. Some desire woodlands that provide habitat for a variety of wildlife. Others want a woodland that supports particular types of recreation such as hiking, hunting, and bird watching. Still others want to harvest timber and non-timber products from their woods for home and farm use or to provide periodic income. Most aspire to maintain or improve the health, vigor, and attractiveness of their forest. For many private woodland owners, the ability of their woodlands to provide these and many other values can be enhanced through crop tree management. " (from
Now I'm no timber-er. But using crop tree release I will better the woods and land, benefiting the wildlife and strenthening the ecosystem.

Maybe we should look at construction business models:
  • Does your business sell to people who come to you with an existing need, where you provide a product that will work for generations or
  • Do you develop blocks of buildings people might not need or want that do not take smart-growth or passive solar design into consideration?
  • Are you building to just sell or fufilling a specific asked-for need?
  • Does your business mass grade soil on land parcels?
  • What does your business do to reduce waste?
  • Do your architects design for the product (i.e. the width of a SIPs panel) utilized vs. cutting, creating waste?
  • Do you encourage reuse and recycled materials when possible?
These are my first thoughts, and I look forward to musing over Mr. Eldrencamp's writing more. What do YOU think?

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At 3/15/09, 6:27 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was green building ever alive in Richmond? Of course, there have been a few boutique projects like the Rice Center, but overall green has alway seemed like an afterthought or a 'someday' proposition here. In particular, who locally is using SIP's?

At 3/15/09, 9:28 PM , Blogger Passive Solar Prefab Homes said...

Please know that anything I do is not with Richmond or surrounding county zoning in mind.
(Long look.)

That is why this company is, ahem, a national business?

With that, then recognize Richmond has changed, at least in regards to green building entrepreneurs- fantastic, vibrant, talented people here. Contact me, I'd be happy to showcase them.


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