IN PRAISE OF LEEDcomments (5) March 20th, 2011 in Blogs
I read recently about a larger than 10,000 sq. ft., LEED certified Platinum house that was built in Aspen. The article extolled all the “green” elements that had been used into his house to cut down on energy use. Nothing was said about all the energy it cost to build this structure bringing in materials from all over the world and carting them by truck way into the beautiful Colorado Mountains.
Beyond this, I have a contractor friend in California who specializes in high-end work. He recently finished a huge, LEED certified house sitting on an expanse of land overlooking the Pacific Ocean. He told me that the couple that owned the house said they built it “because they could.”
Can you help me? What about this am I not understanding? Sometimes I still feel like I am still the country boy who migrated out of western Nebraska 60 years ago with mud on his boots and frost on his nose.
With all the LEED bashing going on what can I say that is praiseworthy? From my point of view, down here in the trenches, what LEED has given us is awareness. They have given us a list to measure the greenness or sustainability of a building. They told us that we can, really must, do better using the finite resources we find on this tiny spec of a planet we call home. If we can truly understand, actually feel, the importance of this knowledge and begin to introduce it into how we build, then I think that LEED is worthy of praise.
By the way, can you help me with this? Where does this “bigger is better” concept come from? Is this the American way---“Don’t tread on me”---I will build whatever I want so get out of my way. Should we take note that Native Americans encourage their people to not undertake any project unless they consider what effect it will have on the next seven generations?
There is a mega-house not far from where I live that has seven bathrooms and five fireplaces. A granddaughter says it looks bigger than her middle school. Are the couple and their dog that live there happier than we are in our 1000 sq. ft. house? I hold no moral high ground, but I have never lived, by choice, in a house with more than 1,200 sq. ft. even with a growing family. I say by choice because small houses allowed me to be free to do what I really wanted to do rather than work to pay a large mortgage and insurance bill, spend endless hours in upkeep, pay property taxes beyond my means, and worry about whether I was keeping up with my neighbor or not.
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