Monday, April 21, 2008

Green Bullshit

Elizabeth's new neighbors are building a "green" house. They knocked down a nice little livable home and hauled it to the dump (no re-use/recycle). Then they nuked seven nice mature trees. Fuckers.

I was going to comment (again) on her post, but it would have been too long. More like a diatribe and less like a comment.

Here's how a house would have to be built to be "truly green"...

#1 Less than 2,000 square feet. Even smaller would actually be better.

#2 Passive solar design. Avoidance of solar gain in summer. Heat sink elements for thermal collection and release on heating months.

#3 Passive common sense cooling - bring back higher ceilings with transoms above interior doors, double hung windows that go to the ceiling, whole house ventilation (remember the whole house fan in the hallway?), and other passive ventilation - like in the "old days" before air conditioning.

#4 Active solar - photovoltaics - either an array in the backyard or on the roof, or photovoltaic shingles. Solar hot water system - or at least as a backup/supplement.

#5 Wind turbine if in a windy locale...the idea is to be self sufficient energy-wise and get the thing off the grid...the electric utility company is only a back up...

#6 Geothermal or earth coupled heating and cooling...ground source heat pump...

#7 Thicker walls/insulation...carefully crafted insulation installation...draft barriers...foam @ all penetrations and outlet boxes...weatherstripping, etc....this is huge...and needs Owner supervision...the crews/labor will fuck it up...pay extra for this to be done properly...oh, and use "green" insulation materials...cellulose or recycled blue jeans...

#8 Truly "green" products/finishes throughout...low voc...low toxicity...low/no outgassing...paint, carpet, cabinets, everything....this also means no fucking imported Italian marble trucked and railed and shipped and trucked across the ocean and quarried in a big ugly polluted hole/scar on the earth...no fucking articulating gesticulating expectorating German faucets...think local local local local

#9 Low flow everything...faucets...shower heads...toilets...include a bidet and shower less...sorry, but no gigantic two person japanese soaking tub...this means no water "event" computerized vibrating articulating gesticulating expectorating automatic gigantic rain head and side body sweeping and ass spraying shower systems...

#10 Four Car Garage, with plugs for electric cars...or hybrids...or hydrogen fuel tank...or recycled cooking oil...or a two car garage with a car stacker...or even better...a four car garage with a wood floor would make a nice ballroom...

#11 This is a biggie for me in cooling climates...use the "loft" principle and locate ductwork in the conditioned space...exposed...not in the 250 degree hot attic!

I could go on and on...you get the picture...

Less is more...small is beautiful...we are consuming too much energy in our way of life...if we were all as "green" as we could possibly be, we would still be consuming too much energy...we live on a finite planet with finite resources...even renewable resources become "finite" when faced with eight or nine billion users of those resources...

1 billion of us have begun to damage (or already damaged) the planet in less than 100 years...what do you think will happen when the other 6 billion who aspire to the western, industrialized way of life, start consuming and wasting, to the degree that we have...

It ain't gonna be good...

5 comments:

tangobaby said...

If you were a fly on the wall in our office, you would go mad. Our clients clamor for "green" materials, and they are so concerned about sustainable wood. 2,000 square feet is a good size for the guest house or where the help live.

Then they select marble that has to be imported from Italy on container ships (or from China), climb into their Bentleys and drive off to see their plastic surgeons.

But at least their heated wooded floors aren't made out of unsustainable cape walnut.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks Alex,
The specifics you give are good ones, better than my whining for sure.
The thing is, I would even support the building of a new (2000 or less sq. ft.) house if it fit the site in any way. It is an ongoing drama here....
Think I need tango!

studio wellspring said...

incredible, informative, inspiring. i couldn't agree more, and would also add: using as many local materials, laborers & artisans as possible for every aspect {including furnishings}. let me know when you're ready to start a business together! ;o)

Alex said...

Hola baby...one house I did preconstruction for (it never got built)...was 2500 sf...just for the kitchen, butler's pantry, and dining room...the entire house was 45,000 sf...

it's sad...

at least the city of aspen is cracking down on new homes now...with very stringent green building codes...and maximum allowable square footages....modeled after Boulder, Colorado, which modeled their program on the one in Austin, Texas...

Anonymous said...

You are so right. I am so sick of the hypocricy, especially from fucking, self-absorbed, narcissistic, hollywood celebrities. Virtually none of these punks could pass high school algebra, let alone understand partial differential equations and climate modeling algorithms... But then again, neither can the pathologically lying politicians we have to put up with. And, I'll use one piece of toilet paper when Sheryl Crowe comes over and licks my ass clean.