Doing Things Differently

Green building is not mainstream. The systems and habits are not in place. Doing a green job is part construction part education part experimentation because once you start thinking off the grid there are very few reference points to guide you.

I had a plumber walk out of my job today before even giving a bid. He couldn’t get his head around some of the things I’m doing. His last words were, “I hope what you are doing works out, but it’s not the way I do it.”

It is definitely not business as usual. We have different ways of installing our pex tubing and they were at odds with what he knew. I believe our way is better and I’m betting on it. We’ll see.

I had to go through several carpenters before I found one who was willing to do things my way. They are used to reaching out and grabbing a perfectly clean and sized piece of wood for their work. They have no part in preparing the wood. It comes from the lumber yard and all they have to do is put it in the house like Lego. There is something to be said for the efficiency of this.

But on my job they have to pick through a nasty pile of salvaged ugly wood, pull the nails and wires off, rip it to size and only then can they get back to their job. It takes some getting used to and there is no end of grumbling about it.

But I point out to them that I can pay them to do that or pay the lumber yard to get clean wood. From that perspective they have no problem with me paying them instead and the grumbling lessens.

I don’t pay for the wood. I pay a little more for the labor. In terms of my costs it comes out to the same, maybe a little cheaper. But it is not purely a financial issue.

By salvaging the wood I lessen the impact on land fill. I also lessen the amount of wood being cut down. I also get much better quality wood, since the salvaged wood is old growth and miles better than the crap you buy today.

IT COSTS PRETTY MUCH THE SAME FOR ME TO DO THIS YET THE BENEFITS IN MY EYES ARE MUCH HIGHER. This for me is a revolutionary concept. Clearly from the initial resistance I get from industry professionals it is a change from the status quot.

Going from this scrap to wall:

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