Green vs. Sustainable Building

As a small business owner in San Francisco that specializes in remodeling the time for shrugging off the importance of green building is over.  My east coast roots and years spent building there had, in the past, left me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding the concept of so called green building and, to some extent, rightfully so.
We, as builders (notoriously a stubborn breed), have been hit over the head with so called green building products that are not so lush.  Bamboo, for example, regenerates very quickly and makes a great material for flooring and cabinetry but mostly comes to us by way of ocean freighter from China.  So, while the plant itself holds great possibilities as a green building material, the practice of delivering it is not “green” at all.  Beyond deciphering what products are environmentally friendly and what potentially cause more harm than good, lies what I believe to be the biggest limiting factor…cost.  We would all love to have hot water that is preheated geothermally and a check from the electric company every month for selling back surplus electricity from our solar panels but until only recently these technologies have been cost prohibitive.
I believe that as builders one of our biggest responsibilities is to make sense of what is truly sustainable and what is simply mislabeled “green”.  Remodelling, by nature, is not a green practice.  We are replacing old with new and inevitably creating waste but I think if we are conscious about replacing old materials and fixtures with new ones that are sustainable and efficient, we are making positive changes not only in our homes but in the way that we think about using materials and energy.  I think we also have to remember that we don’t need to go far to find truly sustainable practices and materials.  In fact, the closer we look the better.  Local craftsmen using locally and readily available materials create sustainable practices.
Comments : 8
About the Author
Jake Cleveland is a principal with JRC Builders (Formerly JC Woodworks & Design) in San Francisco, CA
  1. ramyarajka

    On the outset, if you live in a highrise you should be commended for choosing to live in a dense, compact building form within the middle of an existing developed urban area. The benefits of being able to walk to work, shopping and social activities are not lost on you– but by channeling development into urban areas which use a city’s infrastructure helps to preserve outlying natural resources, reduce pollution and land development impacts from automobile use and associated sprawlBamboo, for example, regenerates very quickly and makes a great material for flooring and cabinetry but mostly comes to us by way of ocean freighter from China. So, while the plant itself holds great possibilities as a green building material, the practice of delivering it is not “green” at all.

  2. Balamurali k

    The article says about the small businnes and how its should be maintained.The tips to overcome the problems and competiotrs.This article should read by everyone to gather some knowledge in bosinees.

  3. Jarod Mitchell

    This is a great informative article. I my self am undergoing a green change in my home. I loved this article and I look forward to your next article. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK!!

  4. Sabeena Ibrahim

    Your article is great about small bussines. It is use full for all range of peoples. I relly like your article. Your article will help for job seekers and small business seekers. your idea is great.It will rocks.

  5. meeradevi

    This blog clearly indicates the new building contractors are not green to use the methods for the reason that they cost enormose expenditure.May be theuy are correct on their part but tthe eforts must be there for someone to change the scene for benefit.

  6. cangel

    This article takes a realistic look at the “green” issue in building and remodeling. It is one thing to say we are green and another to acually be green which means to use ecologically sound materials that do not cost a lot of make or transport. It also means to reuse (remember all the recycle ads) items instead of indiscrimantly disposing of them. If what I have replaced in my home with green products is then put into a landfill, I am not doing much to save the planet. Thank yoy for a blog that looks at all sides of the green issue.

  7. masonkirby (Mason Kirby)
  8. Auto Towing in Sun Valley

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.

    Anyways, I’m definitely happy I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back often!

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