JANUARY 17, 2012 BY CHRIS KEENAN
To many, going green means a lot of technological innovation. Green homes are outfitted with complex systems such as solar garage doors and a myriad of devices that control and track energy usage. But what about building to last?
Some people, when they look at how to design a home that is “green,” and efficiently uses resources, often look back to the days of old, when houses were built to last as well as with a consciousness of the environment in which one lives. Many terms these “resilient homes.” They are built to stand the test of time and be efficient in their use of resources.
These houses utilize principles such as passive solar. This is a practice where the home is oriented in such a way as to maximize the use of natural light from the sun. Houses that are oriented in such a manner, that have thick (sometimes double paned) windows are pleasantly cool in the summer and take advantage of passive solar heating in the winter.
Many of these older houses are very well insulated and built from sturdy, locally sourced materials that are able to withstand the travails of the climate.
Pairing some of these resilient building strategies of the past with some modern technology such as double paned windows with argon gas in between the panes, can help us to create not only green homes, but homes that will last; homes that are reliant on common sense building techniques.
These homes can be built with energy usage in mind. Insulation, double paned windows, passive solar, the use of low energy lighting and appliances create a home that will stand the test of time and maximize the use of resources. Houses that are resilient are those that take into account the local climate in their design.
Homes should be built to be protected by regular weather phenomena that can be damaging to buildings. They should also be built in a manner that allows for easy maintenance. That is one of the biggest problems with technologically advanced green homes, if something goes wrong, fixing it can be a big ordeal.
This is not to say that green building advancements have no place in a sustainable building future, but we should not forgot the techniques used in the past, before we had all these technological innovations, that allowed people to live comfortably within their environment, in a home that was built to last.