Why is it when we talk about green building or sustainability its many times an all or nothing venture. Homeowners would embrace green building practices if they were inspired, for the most part they are not. If green living saved money, consumers would flock to it, it doesn’t and they don’t. There’s a problem, and what is this problem.
What we have here is a failure to communicate.
We owe the next generation a healthier planet, we should build better products, we could easily do some things to ensure this happens, but we don’t. The list of easy things to do is so long the New York City phone book would pale in comparison. But it ain’t happening because the need for doing simple things that would make a difference isn’t attractive to most people. Plus they don’t get it, I don’t get it always either.
What about the experts?
Unfortunately experts don’t always agree and even when they do they often impress each other but seldom the main group of people they would like to influence. Its an arrow that misses because its shot at the wrong target. Many homeowners faced with a choice to go green or not aren’t ready to commit because they have seen many fads come and go. Not a fad? Not to you or I, but it is to some people.
What are sustainable practices and what is green building?
Why should I spend money on green when I really don’t understand what it is? And here is a big part of the problem, today green is everything that can produce income. This is what homeowners see the most, green cars? Gimme a break! Green plastic bags, Green is everywhere and has now worked its way into being a cliche. The list of make believe green products grows daily and its become a matter of advertising over substance. I saw green candy bars recently and noticed they were more expensive than the other candy bars. That’s the message that we are getting, feel good spending a little more because its green.
And therein lies the rub as Shakespeare would say. Green is becoming the new leisure suit, a hot topic for many and a fashion miss for many more. People either get it or they don’t, and even many that get it don’t think its worth the price. Why? Because green is green when it should really be crystal clear, and its not.
Is there a solution? Sure, have an agreement that everyone can work towards and then take science and acumen out of the picture. You can have sustainable practices in stages, a simple pamphlet that could explain what green practices are within reach of all homeowners. Forget the prizes for green building, make it common, until green becomes common it will be a boutique achievement. It will make a few people feel good and make most people feel it is out of their reach.
Written by Paul Lesieur/ Silvertree