One of the core missions of EcoHome is to show readers the variety of ways they can build and remodel green. It’s been a few years since “green building” automatically conjured images of walls made out of tires and giant swaths of intrusive solar arrays, but I think there are still folks who can only picture grand custom homes set against pine trees in the mountains. A quick look around proves there’s now much more than that to choose from. As more and more builders become comfortable with programs such as LEED and NAHB’s Model Green Home Building Guidelines, the variety of home styles and sizes—and the range of price levels—is expanding rapidly.
I see it at EcoHome every day. As I sift through e-mails, peruse news articles, and talk to so many readers who are eager to discuss their projects, I’m confronted with countless new examples of the ways this country is building and rebuilding sustainably. What I think makes me most optimistic is the sheer variety. Custom, production; small, large; Craftsman, modern. There really is a style and a method for everyone—both in terms of how you go green and in how much.
Some builders are focusing on energy first, others on water; most offer a balanced mix of everything. Some projects are from first-timers, others are from green veterans showcasing new products and techniques. Most important, almost everyone I talk to is starting with durability, recognizing that none of their other efforts are worth much if the house isn’t tight or won’t stand the test of time.
If you’re just thinking of getting started in green techniques, this volume of variety means that while you do have to make some adjustments to how you build, you don’t have to change the overall look that you offer or the market you target. Also, it means there are a lot of footsteps to follow. Even if you don’t live in a typical green hub such as Austin, Seattle, or California, chances are it’s still happening in your community if you take a moment to look around and to talk with your peers. There’s likely ample opportunity to learn—and to show your customers what green looks like.
Of course, you’ll also find plenty of examples in EcoHome and at ecohomemagazine.com. We’re always on the lookout for more great homes to spotlight, so if you’re working on an innovative and interesting project, e-mail me at email@example.com.
Katy Tomasulo is deputy editor of EcoHome.