Green Tract Housing
August 2nd, 2011

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Tract housing has always been a cost driven adventure.  If the price point isn’t right, the product doesn’t move.  So, how can you apply Green ideas to tract housing?  I have been working with a small tract builder in Windsor, CO whose base price of homes is 200K.  Instead of adding costly features such as solar panels, I designed the homes to use as few resources as possible.  I attempted to eliminate waste by working with 4′ increments, increased joist spans, and laying out windows on existing stud patterns.  The homes took much more design effort but reduce their material impact on the world.

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It is time to think bigger about architecture and sustainability.  I named my company ecotecuturestudios in order to emphasize the need to combine ecology and architecture.  Well, everyone is jumping in with acronmymns like BIM (Building Information Modeling) and BIPV (Building Integrated Photovoltaics).  These are a great first step, but I think it is time we all think bigger.  Instead of integrating just information or photovoltaics or some fancy recycled insulation, let’s begin designing our buildings (BIG).  BIG is where Green is the norm, every detail has been analyzed for its ability to be sustainable and the amount of energy it takes to make the product.  Everyone wants to run out and buy a new Prius, but they never stop and analyze how much energy it took to build that new car.  Why not buy a very fuel efficient car that prevents the construction of a new one?  The same practice should be applied to architecture and construction.  For example, I love the idea of Insulated Concrete Forms.  However, the foam form is made from a petroleum product.  Isn’t that the real enemy here – the harmful release of CO from the cars we drive every day and our dependence on foreign oil?  This is the point I have made over and over.  We must integrate Green but we must do it wisely.  We must choose the products that make economic sense, we must choose the products that make environmental sense and then we must incorporate them seamlessly into he architecture.  It is time to go BIG with knowledge and passion.

Global Warming – Man-Made or Natural Phenomena is not the Issue

The Visible Human Virus

Ok, here it is.  My first step upon my soapbox.  My opportunity to discuss the issues that face human kind and our planet.  Personally, I do not feel that global warming can be PROVEN to be man-made.  I personally believe that the science involved is far too complex for us to factually assert that the rise in global temperature is the result of 100 plus years of man and machine.  I am not saying it is not possible – it is just not factual.  The real problem I see facing the earth is the uninhibited expansion of mankind and his inability to blend with his surroundings.  For those of you who thoroughly enjoyed the Matrix Trilogy, the most powerful and accurate scene in the whole movie is when a machine describes mankind as a virus.  We must face this reality – we are quickly destroying the host that provides our survival.  We are destroying nature at exponential levels in the name of progress.  Let me make this clear right now – I am a capitalist.  I believe that freedom and the ability to make money in a free market fits the will of humankind better than any other political model.  That being said, we can create capitalistic markets that transform us from being a terra-virus.  We can create a symbiotic relationship with the earth while promoting capitalism.  People can make money, build beautiful & sustainable dwellings, engineer fuel efficient yet aesthetically pleasing means of transportation, and distribute goods throughout the world without the use of fossil fuels.  IT CAN BE DONE!  It doesn’t have to be tree-huggers vs. big business.  It can and should be man living in harmony with the earth versus a virus infecting and destroying the host it cannot survive without.  Whether you are an environmentalist, an activist or a capitalist you must face the evolving human virus.  It is time to act.