Reducing Carbon – a builders guide

“Reducing Carbon – A Builder’s Guide to Carbon-Neutral Building Practices” – By Craig Savage

in the Journal of Light Construction (JLC) is a thorough, well-worthwhile article. It’s a good look at building practices and materials to reduce green house gas emissions. What makes it particularly interesting is that it includes the whole life cycle from embodied carbon to possible reuse of materials after demolition.

I still read JLC despite being “retired” (the bathroom tiling is waiting to be completed…). Good magazine!

An article like this is excellent and I absolutely appreciate all the efforts made by conscientious builders and suppliers. I also watch and recommend some of the excellent series on YouTube about efficient home building/renovation methods.

BUT, as I struggle to communicate on my other site, we need to do much more to stop and heal the damage we are doing to the biosphere. We need to fundamentally rethink how we all live. It’s no good building efficiently if we then build giant houses, with multiple garages (for the multiple cars we need to get to the multiple places where we absolutely need to be), rooms for every purpose (so we don’t have to be anywhere else), full body showers, back kitchens* and so forth.

…enough of that griping here – it’s a good article.

* I can’t help but point to an article in the New York Times; What’s a Back Kitchen and Why Has It Gotten so Popular?

“It’s a kitchen for the kitchen,” said **** who estimates that together, the two kitchens accounted for about $400,000 of their $1.45 million building costs”. “With the dirty work happening offstage, the main kitchen can shine, an immaculate centerpiece to be marveled, not sullied by spaghetti sauce and sheet pans”. “I like a place that, quite frankly, looks like it’s not lived in”.  

I get it; if you have the money and want to spend it on dual kitchens rather than yacht(s) or plane(s) or “cottage(s)” by the lake, then that is your privilege. But in general let’s not aspire to, or laud, such pointless consumption. We have just one biosphere, and we need to share it.

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