Sensible Builder
  Custom Home, New Construction, Remodeling, Additions, Kitchen, Bathroom...   Member of Master Builders Association

Green Building



Quote From:

Green Building: What is it?

There are various ways to define it

Green Building is a collection of  advanced building principles and methods that goes beyond all existing building codes in creating a better interior environment while reducing the impact on the planet.  The primary motivations come from concerns about energy efficiency, excessive consumption of raw materials, the quantity of construction debris in landfills and health concerns.

Generally, we refer to a building as being "Green" if at least some environmental concerns are addressed in its design and construction and the result is better than building codes would have otherwise required.  While this is a fair definition, it still leaves an enormous range of possibilities: anywhere from minor changes from standard practice to radically different approaches to building.

Within all these approaches, there is a common thread of designing the building to take advantage of its environment, rather than just fight it.  This is called climate adapted design. Buildings that follow green principles are adapted to their environment and take advantage of sun, wind, and shading.  This differs dramatically from the normal approach of a fixed design placed randomly on the landscape. In addition, green building places a new emphasis on comfort and function:  a home is much more than how many square feet and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms.

The underlying principles of making a better environment in the house and reducing the impact on the planet don't necessarily come as a package.  It is possible to build a very lovely, but large home whose impact on the planet, while less than if it weren't green, is still more than most houses.  Likewise, it is possible to build a very tiny Spartan home that is little or no impact on the planet, but not especially lovely to live in.  The idea of the sensible house is to find the right compromise.

The problem with measuring the impact on the planet is that it is multiplied by 6 billion (and growing), so it raises the question of what is reasonable, and what is our fair share?


Environmentalism, that of protecting our "natural capital", is a concern for future generations even more than it is for ourselves.  We'd like our grandchildren and their grandchildren to have at least as good a life as we do.  The idea of sustainable use, addresses this: it is simply to not use resources to the point that we will run out of them some day.  The United Nations official definition states it more eloquently as: "meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs".

This idea in spite of having widespread use and being simple in concept, in reality figuring out if you're doing something sustainably isn't easy.

Sounds simple, but when you get down to details sustainability can be a vague concept.  Consider petroleum:  everyone agrees we will run out someday, but whether its 40 years or 4000 years is debated.  To be sustainable we have to either assume that future generations will find a way to avoid using it, or we can start doing it now.  Looking five or ten generations later may not be good enough.  What if humanity lasts another five or ten thousand years?

Alternatively look at wood products, which are certainly a renewable resource.  However they are only renewable if we are good stewards and cut only as much as grows, protect the soils the forests grow in and leave a safety margin for damage due fire, insects etc.

We also must never forget to look at the impact on the entire planet.  Sustainable means not just for our region, but from all the places we are getting materials and on all the places that have downstream or downwind effects.

Here we run into another set of cultural problems (and maybe one of human nature as well): how much risk are we willing to take?  How optimistic are we about future generations ability to solve problems we can solve?  How optimistic are we about the ability of technology to solve problems?  How much are we willing to that the "high road" instead of the "quick and easy".  The American culture has historically been one of optimism and instant gratification.  No matter where you stand, its likely that we'll be arguing about what is sustainable for a long time.

To more accurately define Green Building, we need to say that our environmental impact is sustainable, or at least that a reasonable attempt has been made to move toward sustainability.


In many ways Green Building is really a continuum of choices, with most designer and builders working within a set of overlapping areas.  In practice, Green Building is really a confluence of a related set of movements: solar homes, natural building, healthy homes, forest preservation and recycling, and energy efficiency.  Practitioners may focus more on natural building, or lean toward modernist high tech;  they may be more interested in environmental concerns or only mildly interested.

The Natural building movement probably has the largest following and has gotten the most press, although these projects tend to be in rural areas, far from mainstream development.  More recently, mainstream developers are building green homes that look similar to every other new home.  In general, the mainstream houses aren't as green as the natural building ones, but it seems likely the gap will close in short order.

In addition there is a movement toward adaptable houses-- ones that are easy to remodel in order to accommodate changing technology, changing technology and new owners.













经验丰富+真心实意 西雅图千万经纪人张女士

001 206 234 5132






Buying a home?
Selling a home?
A Great Broker
who thinks of
your needs first.
Call Jean
206 2345132
or email:



Real Estate Link
Copy right © Sensible Builder
2016 All Rights Reserved