Below is a great post from Jeff Geoghan about sustainable design in general, and the Make It Right Foundation that is building sustainable homes in post-Katrina new Orleans. Jeff makes some great points about how sustainable equals practical and affordable, which is a definite departure from the conventional wisdom on green building.
For the last 25 years, industrious American pioneers have been laying the groundwork for a new revolution.
With developable land diminishing and existing homes aging, the time is coming and is here now for Americans to look for the better option in homebuilding - what has been termed "sustainable design" or "green building". All politics aside, the trend towards better homes benefits all Americans who want a better life for their children.
Why would a homebuyer do well to look at a new sort of design? The benefit of owning a home boil down to the following:
- Equity building over the life of the ownership - the longer the better. Our parents lived in cramped post-World War Two homes for 50 years - we can do it, too.
- A safe, stable environment for our children to learn, play and grow. We can tailor our homes to fit our family's lifestyle.
- Participation in a community. Yes, this is coming back strong after a generation lost in the suburban wasteland. Community is a strength, and common bonds of ownership cement that.
The new homes being designed to be sustainable enhance every aspect of the home ownership experience.
- Homes built with longevity coupled to efficiency are more likely to cost less and appreciate faster, allowing homeowners to put increasing amounts of their utility and repair dollars back into the family fund. And we don't need to sacrifice space or convenience in the new breed of home design - quite the opposite. Spaces are intelligently designed for real living and convenience is the pairing of cutting-edge technology with new, affordable methods (instant-on hot water heaters being a current example of this).
- A home that is "green" designed put the health and welfare of the occupants first. By looking at the various systems and materials that we come into contact with, the new home designer works hard to eliminate toxic compounds that adversely affect air quality, and designs the home to be almost self-sufficient, relying more on natural energy sources such as the wind, sun or rain. By removing the hazards and adding cleaner, reliable systems the home of the future will be incredibly stable and safe for families.
- The rise of the "green building" and "green remodeling" movement, coupled with the increased interest in home projects to improve the sustainability of a building, have created a new community that reaches from neighborhoods to nations. There's a vested interest that environmentally-responsible homeowners have that is shared. One needs only to look at Brad Pitt's "Make It Right" New Orleans home building initiative to see the energy and sense of community fostered when folks decide to do home building a new way.
It's exciting to be at the cusp of a new era in home building. Many innovative builders are stepping out from traditional design and seeking new options in home design. Other builders are adding "green" features every day to their existing home plans, in response to the demand. And the real winner is YOU!
It's a great time for real estate professionals to step out, too. The cadre of Realtors who have taken on the task of educating the public on their new home building options have a lot say, too. Those who are Activerain bloggers hold in their hands a great tool, the nation's most influential network of local real estate practitioners. We have the opportunity to get excited about what Mr. Pitt is doing in New Orleans and encourage him and his team to share their home plans, plans for affordable, smart structures that meet the needs of families. Let's take a first step by contacting the "Make It Right" foundation, asking that they offer the plans to green builders and communities for a nominal price - in the interests of pushing the home revolution that much further along in 2009. We can all benefit from the amazing work being done in Louisiana - let's contact Mr. Pitt to say so.
Organizations like the "Make It Right" Foundation are doing the work of building the home of America's future today. And it's happening in your community too. I'm excited to be here, now, watching the next evolution in the American home take place. The question is, are you?
For further reading:
Green Building Is No Mystery - It's Bettter Building (National Assn. Of Homebuilders)
Built Green, But Maybe We Should Have Called It Built Better (Built Green Colorado)
Innovative Products & Processes (Toolbase.org)
Homebuilders Can Build An Affordable Green Home (HousingZone.com)
The Green Home Guide (U.S. Green Building Council)
Why Build Green? (GreenHome.com)
Jeff Geoghan is a Realtor in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania focusing on Green real estate ideas & projects. As an advocate of greener living in Central PA, Jeff is the author of www.LancasterCountyBlog.com and offers advice and presentations of the benefits of buying & remodeling green.