Should We Call It Green Building? Or Better Built?

See entire March 30, 2011 newsletter

One should probably not start a newsletter spouting off about how annoyed one (that be me) is about a certain “green” topic. But I am annoyed and writing about it will help me get it off my chest. With Earth Month just around the corner, it’s probably good to write about this. I didn’t JUST get annoyed. It’s been building up. Maybe if I share it, it will annoy you too – in a good way of course. And the world will change. It’s about the word “green” as it applies to green building.

In doing my research to better articulate, permit me to share with you the following which I read on a green building website:

The purpose of green built programs is to encourage homebuilders, multi-family builders, architects and developers to use technologies, products and practices that will:

· Provide greater energy efficiency and reduce pollution

· Provide healthier indoor air

· Reduce water usage

· Preserve natural resources

· Improve durability and reduce maintenance

Really? Standards that high? Sarcasm intended. Get where I am going with this? Shouldn’t these things be the standard for every home that is ever built and not just a GREEN home? Should builders be able to build homes that aren’t energy efficient? They do – like crazy. Should they be able to build homes that don’t have HEALTHY indoor air quality? What does that even mean? Why should GREEN homes provide healthier indoor air? Should builders be able to build homes that don’t conserve on water, like installing inefficient shower heads and plumbing that isn’t water saving? Shouldn’t high efficiency plumbing be standard and not GREEN? Should builders build homes that waste natural resources of which there is NOT an infinite supply? And that last bullet point REALLY annoyed me: improve durability and reduce maintenance. Do you see where I am going with this? How long SHOULD a home be built to last? Why shouldn’t ALL of the above be the standard? WHY ARE THESE THINGS CONSIDERED GREEN? Oops. Sounds like I am shouting…

Disclaimer: I am not a builder nor an architect nor a developer. But I am a person who was raised with a core value of anything worth doing is worth doing well. I don’t remember any exceptions like “except when it comes to building houses.” When did we, as a society, stop demanding that our homes be built well and be built to last? So as the self-proclaimed Queen of Green, might I encourage you to reframe your thinking to associate green building with better building? And to demand that our homes are “better built.” There, I feel better just getting all of that out. Now I will go back to doing everything else I can to preserve the planet. I like that better anyway.

1 thought on “Should We Call It Green Building? Or Better Built?”

  1. James Delker says:

    Greetings Ma’am,
    You are absolutley right. Standards and quality have gone down on just about everything made/built in the last decade.
    Drives me nuts. Consider the axiom “you get what you paid for”. So you spend more to get a quality product just to make sure you got a quality product. Considering how much I paid for my house, I still got ripped off. I’ve seen entire subdivisions built in less than six months. I realize that everything is “standardized” to improve speed, cut costs, etc. But at what cost? You can drive a screwdriver through the wall with a hammer. I know, I did it to help a friend install cable for his house. Then people wonder why houses are devastated so easily in a natural disaster.
    Sorry, I started my own rant. You are so right Ma’am, but now for the $64 question, What can we do about it?
    I listen to your show so shout right out when you find the answer.

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