Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"Eco-friendly" homes

A guilty pleasure to which I have referred before, is watching the shows about "green: building, constreuction, design, etc. So this evening after enjoying the rain that came through, and then enjoying the very clear night sky for a while, I came inside the big house, and turned on the idiot box to Planet Green (discovery). The show on is called "World's Greenest Homes" and you can guess that it highlights homes which are supposed to have less impact on the planet. (Strange how this is measured.. but that is another topic..)

One thing I continue to notice and I am certain will visit again here on this blog, is that all shows like this avoid, seemingly as if it were the plague, reduced consumption unless combined with increased consumption on new gadgets, gizmos, or garbage. They seem to celebrate using solar to power the private movie theater, but ignore the foregoing of a theater system. Building a huge home with a couple of solar panels to heat water is seemingly considered superior to building only what you need, and living without such a large physical footprint.

Don't get me wrong, I am not suggesting that everyone ought to live in 500 ft sq or the extreme of Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, which can be as small as 75 ft sq.. though anyone who can live like this I certainly respect.. But surely we can look at homes of say 700 f sq to maybe 1400 for two or more people, and recognize that these can be wonderfully comfortable and livable homes, as well as almost inherenetly "green"

Must we have the lastest gizmos, gadgets, and tech to be "green?" No.. I have no plans for artificial air conditioning in my own home, instead allowing the naturally cool temperature of the earth at 10 feet down to regulate the temperature of the house, using windows for further adjustment of temps. Rather than trying to force the world to please me, I am more than willing to work with the world to be comfortable..

Likewise, never have I heard even once any mention of logging snags or fallen timbers, such as I am doing. We hear nothing about reducing the loads needed, instead we are shown vast solar arrays like those of Larry Hagman (to his great credit he is powering his entire large home, as well as giving power to some needy families nearby) . Don't get me wrong, what Hagman for instance is doing is wonderful, but for those of us who do not have that much money, our easiest path lay in reducing our needs, and finding free alternatives rather than investing in the latest gadgets and gizmos.

It seems that there is little difference between the consumerist approaches whether they be fully wasteful approaches condemned by the "eco" shows, and the ways celebrated by those same shows which encourage us to spend willy nilly on the latest solar panels, water reclamation, or whatnot..

We can do it different and better by examining what we need, and not buying, reusing, or using something else entirely.

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