A new feature article in Environmental Building News examines how a focus on resilient design could advance green building more quickly than our current focus on sustainability.
Sometimes advancing sustainability feels like pushing a boulder uphill. Are we like a modern-day (benevolent) Sisyphus who keeps pushing the idea of sustainability uphill only to have it roll back down as other priorities grab society's attention?
I thought about this question during a six-week bike trip through the Southwest at the beginning of my sabbatical from BuildingGreen. To be sure, there has been a lot of improvement in building practices over the past few decades. Standard levels of insulation have risen in homes, and windows have gotten better. We're using daylight more effectively. Efficiencies of virtually all mechanical systems have improved. Photovoltaic modules have become more cost-effective.
There are innumerable improvements being made to buildings, but climate scientists tell us that we're only chipping away at the edges. If we are to prevent a climate catastrophe in the century ahead, we need to make far more dramatic progress. Rather than incremental improvement, we need threshold improvement--an order-of-magnitude reduction in fossil fuel consumption. How will we get there? I thought about that a lot in the hot, dry sunlight of Arizona and Texas as I snaked my way across 1,900 miles of gorgeous terrain.
Resilience as a motivation for change
I came to the realization that we need motivation beyond simply "doing the right thing" or staving off climate change--a distant and overwhelming-sounding task. What if people did all this stuff (building carbon-neutral homes and weaning themselves from automobile dependence, for example) not because it was good for the planet, but because of self-interest?
For you and me, that probably isn't necessary. Anyone reading Environmental Building News or perusing BuildingGreen resources regularly is probably already convinced that we need to make these sorts of changes for reasons of altruism. But for lots of other people, that isn't the case. And even people committed to the need for addressing climate change are sometimes overwhelmed by the shear magnitude of the challenge and what can seem like insignificant contributions that they are making.
We installed these in our new house and they work great. Excellent product.
With a little patience you can find the material information embedded in their pdfs. But it looks to me like some of the...
Bryan, the article above discusses mounting considerations relative to heating. I think it's up to you to weigh whether those considerations are..." More...
Bryan J says, "
Thanks Triston, but what do you think would be a suitable location for the inside unit, should I mount it up high, about 7 feet or mount it lower..." More...
Tristan Roberts says, "
Bryan, if you want to provide heating and cooling, and if doing so electrically is attractive, then I don't see any issue with using a mini-split..." More...
Bryan J says, "
I have been reading the comments on the mini splits, let me tell you what I have and what I'm looking to do. Any comments will help me. I have a..." More...
Margaret Tehan says, "
Hello Tristan and Kevin, thanks so much for your responses. As I was writing my question above and I was saying that the first order of business..." More...
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