Our green building company in Brooklyn, NY, has a kindred soul in Huntsville, Texas. It is called Phoenix Commotion and is run by Dan Phillips.
I’ve read about him a couple times, most recently in the NY Times.
He builds for lower income people and his buildings are almost totally out of trash. Yet they are to code, structurally sound, beautiful (to me and many others), and deeply affordable.
What he is doing is both completely logical and deeply revolutionary in our illogical building environment where it has been the norm to buy off the shelf materials and throw away everything else.
He calls this the “tyranny of the two-by-four” which for me nicely encapsulates the mindset of current mainstream building, which lacks character, imagination and morals. Not to say they are dishonest, they are just amoral.
Being amoral is not an option in life. If you don’t take a stand, somebody else will do it for you and there is no guarantee they are looking out for you or anyone elses best interests.
When you buy a 2×4 off the shelf you are letting somebody else define your life, from what kind of house you will build to what impact on the environment you will have.
That is why we see green building as a political act. We are defining our life in a way we feel is better for ourselves and the planet by salvaging as much as we can. And we don’t care what size it is.