Green building is so complicated sometimes, with everybody peddling green gizmos and stuff to put on your house, when as this wonderful drawing from Albert, Righter and Tittmann Architects demonstrates, the real trend is toward simplicity. Over at Green Building Advisor, Martin Holladay muses about the contradictions and mixed messages.
Green building websites can be confusing. One site might tell you that a green home should include spray foam insulation, a tankless water heater, and a geothermal heating system. After you’ve absorbed this advice, you visit another website, where you learn that spray foam is a dangerous petrochemical, tankless water heaters are overpriced gadgets, and “geothermal” systems aren’t really geothermal.
It is confusing, and constantly changing. While Martin and I do not always agree, (He called me a Luddite!) He is right about one thing: this isn't rocket science. There are basic, sensible principles that anyone can follow to build a healthy, green and affordable house. Read them all here.
Martin also has suggestions for what to ask your architect or designer, the most important of which is:
What makes a house green? (A designer who mentions things like “keeping the house small” and “keeping energy bills low” is on the right track. A designer whose first answer is “choosing green materials” may not be the one you want to hire.)