[Greenbuilding] what makes it green?
corwyn at midcoast.com
Sun Feb 15 14:21:10 CST 2009
Gennaro Brooks-Church wrote:
> Didn't you just say energy is 90% of what makes a building green? If
> so then that is NOT what you are saying. Because I also think that
> without getting the other things right you are also bound to fail. You
> will have an energy efficient building but that doesn't make it a
> green one. A windowless block can be energy efficient.
I think we should stop talking in analogies and metaphors because
clearly we are not communicating.
I am a mathematician, so I think of things as wholes _and_ parts. I
look at a house as a whole and as a sum of parts. I see both the
concepts which make up a house (like heating, and shelter, and view) and
the whole concept of house. And when I talk about a part I
instinctively put a factors on that part.
If I want to look at the environmental harm that a building does, it
naturally in my mind falls into parts like CO2 produced, waste add to
landfillls, etc. The whole of that harm is hard for me to visualize.
So I separate those things in my mind and give each one a factor so I
might come close to comparing them. A pound of CO2 might be the same
harm 5 pounds of plastic waste in a landfill, as a hypothetical example.
So, when if I look at the environmental harm engendered by a building
and see that the heating system is equal to 90 tons of CO2 per year, and
that paint choice can make the difference between 0 and 10 tons of CO2
per year. I worry about the heating system first, and put the most
energy into solutions for that problem. I have a limited amount of
resources that I can apply to the problem. In my mind it makes sense to
apply those resources so that I spend them proportional to the factor of
harm that each problem represents. I would therefore spend 90% of my
resources on heating and 10% on paint choice. This to me is a solution
which is looking at the whole, but being most effective in reducing the
total harm caused.
Some things get so small a piece of my resources that no solution is
found. At this point, I can either abandon the project since it is
still has fixable harm (i.e. it is not completely wholey green in all
aspects), or effectively postpone it indefinitely. Is it worth building
a building which is 10% green, in my opinion, no. Is it worth building
a building which is 90% green, probably. Should I put off building
that 90% building while living in a 50% green building, that doesn't
I know that you don't believe that every building should be perfectly
green in order to be worthwhile, because you have argued against
insulation because it would cost you space and thus money. But I don't
understand how you can talk about a holistic approach which fails to
achieve perfection, without first portioning up and quantifying aspects
I am not sure where you got the impression that anyone was advocating "A
windowless block". Or even that since energy efficiency was 90% of the
issue, that it therefore got 100% of the resources. In my view, I
can't see any way to minimize environmental harm other than to spend the
majority of my work on the majority of the problem.
Can you please explain how you would describe your holistic approach
without splitting into parts and assigning factors. I won't claim to be
able to understand it as it clearly not how my mind works, but I will
try. Please leave out the metaphors, as they are not working.
Thank You Kindly,
Green Fret Consulting
Kermit didn't know the half of it...
topher at greenfret.com
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