baosol's blog

Year of the Energy Audit

Your government wants you to save energy and they are getting ready to help you do it. The buzz from Washington is a "Cash for Caulkers" program that puts your home front and center. Nobody knows what this really means yet, but you can bet the Energy Audit will be a central part of it. Many local utilities and cities have already made energy audits available. A home energy audit provides an invaluable diagnostic of the two largest energy and comfort issues of a home: air infiltration through the air barrier and heat loss/ heat gain through insulation.

The Gift That Stops Taking

Welcome to the holiday gift guide from the sustainable line. Rather than soap boxing about how you should stop buying more stuff (want less) or to start giving your money to well-deserving charities, I thought that this holiday season we could celebrate by buying more that uses less. First, of course, don't buy gifts that are cheap crap.

Your Third Skin

 A house essentially acts as your third skin. The second skin is your clothing and the first skin is what you buy all those moisturizers for. Comfort and protection is the name of the game. Your own skin is excellent at this. Your clothing is not so bad and when it doesn’t work you can put on something else. Weirdly, to me, your third skin often does a miserable job at keeping you comfortable. The unfortunate thing is you’re willing to pay so much for it none the less.

Sustainable Building: Location and Site

 Ideally, sustainable building is about setting priorities and moving to the next decision when the previous one has been adequately addressed. Simple as a concept, but often not a reality when you hear different green building folks chime in to say that they have the “green” solution for you. In this spirit, I have tried to boil down what I think of as the core principles that guide sustainable building and how they should be ranked in importance. This is for new and old buildings, large and small.

Selling the Green Shark

By this time many of us have seen about as much green as we can handle. As a marketing point the word “green” is getting close to jumping the shark. Just in time I suspect. If “green” ceases to be a word of distinction then it no longer provides us with a better way to distinguish the environmental degradation of our consumption from what is less so. We will still see the word around for quite a while, maybe as a verb.

In the Neighborhood

It is true that we choose to live near those that are like ourselves- ethnically, financially, and even spiritually. But even this is not enough of a power for a real neighborhood to be created. Many folks often no longer know what they have in common with their neighbor. Can you blame them? We have built homes for quite awhile now as though they are little islands with the garages as their port of entry.

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  • Real Green Builders Collaborate

    The green building movement has its spurts and starts, but on the whole sustainability is still a theoretical notion, an interesting side note in the building world. While a lot of people are taking notice, very few of them are taking real steps in adopting the deep knowledge base within their own buildings. Someone told me to think about it like this-- in the tech sector, new processes change the industry every two years or so, in the automobile industry it takes maybe ten years, but in the building trade it takes fifty years to adopt new thinking.

    Green building is for conservatives: a financial case

    Green building is for conservatives: a financial case

    Our buildings are central to our lives, and we put a tremendous amount of our wealth and skills into making them. Current standard building practices are not a natural fit for the experimental, odd looking, obscure buildings often associated with green building. However, in reality the modern green building movement is a highly tuned, intensive, and measured approach to building that values efficiency, health and durability.

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