Roof-mounted solar panels are one way of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and reducing the “carbon footprint” of a house.
Photo by: George Watt Architecture/Sun Electric Systems
There is no such thing as the perfect green home. Every house is unique. Each is built in a specific climate where there are varying amounts of sunshine; winds blow from a different direction by season and each site affords different views. Local building products are available or not, there will be small children in the home, or not. And so forth. There is no single green building solution that meets all possible conditions.
The best way to start is to take on some aspect of green building and get really good at it. Don’t try to do everything at once. Take on energy conservation and increased R-values in walls and roofs. Get a blower door test done on one of your homes. Try changing the paints and finishes you have always used. Test materials in your garage or on your own home. See what works best for you and your trade contractors. Identify the resistance points in your company or with your trades. Education is the top priority any time you are making changes in your business. Let them know why you are making the changes.
At the same time, there are certain inevitabilities that will affect all of us. Climate change will bring about increasingly weird weather. Floods and droughts will be more frequent, occur in strange places, and last longer. Hurricanes will become more intense as the oceans warm. More frequent and unusual tornados will strike unexpected places. The weather is unpredictable even when it is normal. Build to withstand the harshest weather conditions you can imagine for your region.
We will reach “peak oil” during the life span of homes built today. What than means is that all forms of energy will become increasingly expensive and with little forewarning by the powers that be. Natural gas is in greater demand just as it is starting to decline from existing wells in the U.S. How much will heating and cooling our homes cost in 5 years, 10, or 20? All we know is a lot more that it does today.