Green Building – Energy or Morality?

There is a general disagreement in green builders. You have basically two general types (you have a lot of types but these are two big ones).

You have the scientist type who thinks that green building is about energy efficiency. Seal up the house, use energy efficient tools, lower the carbon footprint, save the world.

Then you have the green builder who sees it as a moral social issue. Energy efficiency is part of it but more importantly is the aspect of creating a healthier environment where humans are happier. OK. I’m not explaining myself, but anyway I’m trying. The moralists don’t see building so much as a scientific thing of increasing efficiency but more of a psychological thing of increasing human happiness.

And this might not be the most energy efficinet thing, although usually it is.

A classic example is when you look at community building in green building. The scientist will build a very energy efficient house and be done with it. The moralist will be just as concerned with how the house fits into the surrounding community. Does it match the surrounding architecture? Does it create an increased sense of connectivity between residents?

This post is more a reaction to the scientists who are more interested in measuring Btus of furnaces than how the furnace effects the social interaction of the residents.

Not sure if I explained myself. But it is an important point. I guess it is an age old criticism of the scientific style.

About the author: Gennaro Brooks-Church

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