Thursday, October 13, 2011

Barrier to Green Building

The biggest barrier to growth in new green residential construction is not technological, and it's not even cost anymore, not directly anyway.  The existence of a green building and home energy rating industry to date have demonstrated that while there are plenty of customers who wistfully wish for a green home then complain about how much extra it will cost them, there are others who will pay for it, too, and those people can help bring the cost down enough to start encompassing more and more of the people in that first group.  It is very possible to build a moderately green home at a very modest 2% cost premium.  What's more, for all those builders who complain about the extra work or the hard sell of the extra cost, there are those whose livelihoods have been made on the differentiation of being green builders.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Greenwash of the Week

"Greenwashing" is the practice whereby a moderately green or even completely un-green product is given some variation of the name "eco" and marketed as the one and only choice you need to make to live lighter on the planet, you hippie.  Like whitewash on a fence, something greenwashed might look green from far away, but flakes of green veneer start to peel away upon closer analysis.

Building Green makes a good list of the many types of greenwashing:  which can take on the form or outright lying, specious arguments, claims that are simply poorly researched, making compliance with environmental law sound like something totally awesome and groundbreaking (no ozone-depleting chemicals!), highlighting one green aspect while ignoring a fatal flaw in the sustainability of the entire product, etc.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Are Solar Panels Just "Eco-Bling?"

This article and the subsequent comments (ignore the usual contingent of off-topic jerks and their environmental straw men) has generated some very excellent discussion about one of the fundamental questions in green building today: is renewable energy or energy efficiency more important?

The answer is "both!", of course,(but then you could get into an argument about whether any of it is worth it) but that would be an answer that denies the practicalities and subtleties we encounter in the field and in the preconceptions of our customers.