Many green home advocates may not be leading you to a the best green option.
I was so happy to hear the report on NPR about a new green home,and they included the view that some green home programs do not consider restoring historic or older homes with proper consideration. Readers of this blog may recall that I have touched upon this topic. You should hear the report, or read the transcript, to find out what Linda Dishman said.
I have the problem that to many advocates of green items seem to be more concerned with their income than promoting real green values. Take Eco-Brokers or Green Realtors. How often have they suggested that you buy an older home with ideas of how it could be made green? Do they even know how that can be done? I see them focusing a newly built green homes, hopefully a LEED home. Why LEED? Well, the cost of producing a LEED home is much greater than other green homes, which means the cost of the home goes up, which leads to a larger commission. Let us not forget remodelers who guide us to the new green material (bamboo floors anyone?) instead of refinishing the floors that are there. The list can go on.
The LEED certification program is great for new commercial buildings, but I have favored the Green Verifier Program for residential construction. This program may not be perfect either (I am sure we can spend time taking pot shots), but the Green Verifier Program does reference building codes which deal with the concept of defining a green home. The International Residential Code (IRC) is used by many communities to create their own building codes, so I believe that the green code sections can be more easily adopted by cities.
To appreciate architecture, we need to preserve what we have, as much as creating the new. New designs and ideas are wonderful; however, they come out of a tradition, the historic home. Also, if we want to improve the housing stock which already exists, we need individuals who want green innovations, which will inspire others. Maybe what we need is a green verifier program for remodelers. I sincerely hope that Ms. Dishman succeeds in having older homes have more value in the LEED point scale. We need it. Thanks for reading my rant.