We’ve been following Alex Wilson’s excellent series, Top Ten Green Building Priorities featured on GreenBuilding.com.
#1. “Reduce Energy Use”
Wilson lays out the reasons for the primacy of energy conservation persuasively in his blog post:
- Slow global warming (the real biggie here).
- Reduce the environmental costs of fossil fuel extraction (like the Gulf oil spoil).
- Reduce the military costs of maintaining our access to Middle Eastern Oil.
The good news about reducing energy use is that it’s good for the Earth and for the wallet. In Wilson’s words:
“The great thing about using less energy is that you get paid for doing it. Most of the measures to reduce energy use pay for themselves–some very quickly. You get rewarded financially and you can feel good about doing the right thing for the environment.”
So how do we crack the energy conservation nut? On a myriad of fronts, but as green builders and green dwellers we can:
- Improve the energy efficiency of our homes through Home Performance Assessments and home energy retrofits;
- Preserve the embodied energy of our existing housing stock by remodeling to “upcycle” homes for today’s household needs;
- Build Accessory Dwelling Units that, by definition, have small footprints and promote walkable, bike-able, and transit-friendly urban form.
- Remodel or build to the Passive House standard, cutting ongoing energy use to a tiny fraction of conventional levels.
P.S. Wilson’s other top priorities are as follows:
Back to Field Notes
#2. Reduce water use
#3. Ensure a healthy indoor environment
#4. Reduce the need for driving
#5. Build smaller and optimize materials use
#6. Ensure durability and reuse existing buildings
#7. Protect and restore the site
#8. Use green products
#9. Create resilient, climate-adapted buildings
#10. Make it easy for homeowners to be green