NOTE: Updates of this post can be found at EcoMajority, my web-based forum focused on sustainable home building.
The house project is going well. We’re just less than a month from move-in. As things wind down, and most (if not all) of our material choices have been made, I’m having a chance to reflect a little bit on our goals from the very beginning of the project and where we find ourselves now.
There were a number of things that caused us to up-root from Queen Anne and move to Bainbridge Island, but I’ll save most of those reasons for another post. One of our main goals was to build as sustainable a house as we could manage. To do that, we knew we would need to balance aesthetics, costs and practicality.
What I hope to do over the next several weeks/months, is to review how we did. But the bottom line is it was a ridiculously hard process. I kept thinking to myself how hard it is to be green. There are few, if any, decisions that are clear and simple. And finding products and information — even with the amazing power of the Web — often fell between futile and simply a waste of time. Admittedly, I am not a green-building expert. I’m just someone who has built or remodeled a few homes. My wife was an architectural designer for more than a decade. We like this stuff, but that didn’t make it any easier. (By the way, I have some ideas for how making green choices could be made easier in the future but I’ll save that, too, for a future post.)
Purists may say we copped out on some of our choices. Pragmatists may say that we were highly idealistic, and overspent in some areas and in some ways. Both are probably true. I’m hoping that others might learn something based on our decisions — not because they were the “right” decisions from a green perspective (because certainly many weren’t), but because of how and why we arrived where we did.
Stay tuned. I’ll probably tackle decisions in roughly the order they came up in the design and development process.