The green show house is an experiment in building. Sometimes we really get it right, sometimes we totally don’t. This kind of experimentation can’t be done on a clients house. But since this is a show house we want to show the process, both good and bad.
The hope is that we find better ways to do things or at the very worse confirm that we couldn’t improve on the existing way. Of course because we catalog the whole process, good bad and ugly, we do get flack from conservative builders who have their idea of how things should be done.
Here is a comment by one such person who posted on Brownstoner.com:
“oh christ its the former wedding officiator from ibiza that is attempting to redefine himself as a green contractor…look at the eco brooklyn blog..the guy does not have a clue about anything..everything is done 2 or 3 times because he keeps trying to reinvent the wheel instead of biting the bullet and paying a professional to do the work the right way..”
Yes I did try my hand at being a wedding officiator in Ibiza :). Interesting but didn’t get me excited like green building.
Part of our process in building is to step back and admit that MAYBE we don’t have a clue about building. And who says the wheel is the best tool for the job?? Just because everyone up to now has used a wheel doesn’t make it the best way. How well is that working for us? Not that well if you ask me.
Lets face it, buildings take up insane amounts of energy and resources. It is one of the largest consuming sector in the world. Building a home is the largest expense most families will ever have next to college tuition for their children. The energy to run homes is also one of the largest drain in the world.
Why is that acceptable? Sounds like a pretty crappy wheel to me.
The waste and destruction that goes as the norm in building should be a pretty good indication that maybe we need to reinvent the wheel or get rid of it completely. We need to stick our necks out and try to find a solution that works better.
Sometimes we at Eco Brooklyn have found better ways. Sometimes we’ve discovered that the wheel is completely broken. For example I’ve posted before about the waste that occurs in Brooklyn when one sub-contractor throws out bricks and another sub-contractor buys bricks. ON THE SAME JOB.
The second guy was pissed when I pointed this out to him. But for the GC, this was normal practice. He didn’t care. The expense was simply passed up the line to the owner and the loss was passed down the line to the second sub-contractors profit.
We make sure our bricks get used again. That saves a lot on many levels.
I admit it is difficult sometimes when other contractors call me an idiot for wasting my time taking materials out of their dumpsters. “Why would you want that junk. It is garbage.”
It WAS garbage. But after I pay my workers to fix it it becomes FREE material. Even if it costs the same due to what I pay the workers I still see the benefit in doing it. But usually it costs less.
As green builders we have to do it better and if we don’t see the solution then it is up to those of us in the trenches with the knowledge to find one. The worst that can happen is we get it wrong or someone who hasn’t caught on thinks we are stupid.
I don’t care because there is no doubt for me that in five years there will be two kinds of builders: green builders and unemployed builders.