When building green, context is everything. To build a sustainable future, we need to embed homes in walk-able, bike-able neighborhoods that offer alternatives to the car.
Today, Alex Wilson of GreenBuilding.com released “Priority #4” in his Top Ten Green Building Priorities: “Reduce the Need for Driving”. It’s a notion we’ve covered in this blog before. No matter how “green” you make a building’s components, if the home’s location forces denizens to drive everywhere, then you haven’t created a sustainable living space.
For a typical household, the energy and environmental costs of conventional transportation (ie., the single occupancy vehicle) are as important as those of conventional building (ie.energy inefficient structures built with “gray” materials). As aspiring green builders and green dwellers, we need to tackle both sets of issues. How? Through things like infill development, accessory dwelling units, and remodels in communities that feature “traditional neighborhood design” (you know, neighborhoods with sidewalks, corner stores, close-by services and parks, and a compact urban form that supports walking, biking, transit use and vibrant community interaction).
As Alex Wilson writes in his blog post:
“…if we want to significantly reduce energy use and carbon emissions, we need to re-examine where we’re putting our houses. Urban infill housing and renovation of older houses in more densely developed neighborhoods is greener than building new houses in suburban and rural areas… As they say in the real estate industry: location, location, location!”
Here’s a handful of Field Notes posts that expand on the themes that Wilson raises in his quote … please check ’em out!:
- Don’t Let Green Structures Go Gray, about the importance of infill projects, ADUs, and remodels.
- What’s Your Home’s Walk Score?, about a cool online tool that enumerates the “walkability” of any address in Portland (and elsewhere).
- Accessory Dwelling Units Are Good For Your Waistline, about the connections between compact urban form, walking and good health.
-ZackBack to Field Notes