Do Judge A Book By It’s Cover

Last week I was giving a talk and tour of our first LEED-certified home to a group of Davidson College students. I was making the point that a green home can (and should) look like a ‘normal’ home, and I mentioned that I’d once seen a home built out of old tires by Dennis Weaver.

I quickly realized that at 19 or so years of age, these students were probably not familiar with Dennis Weaver. Any chance I’d had at seeming like one of them flew out the window with my generation-defining reference.

But, the point remains. A green built home should look like any other home (well, actually better). As you can see by the photo of our current LEED home, it’s a lovely house, one that is attractive to most homebuyers. While homes built out of old tires or bales of straw are interesting, they aren’t likely to take off in appreciable numbers any time soon.

Another point that I made while talking to the students is that in order for green building to have an impact, builders need to build homes that are affordable to most people. While it’s great that there have been several demonstration projects built by well-to-do individuals and organizations, most people cannot afford a home with every green bell and whistle. All builders, from production builders to high-end custom builders need to incorporate green building into their homes.

Once we finish the landscaping on the house I’ll write more about the exterior features of this home, and how they contribute to a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle. One item of note on this house is the siding. Made of fiber cement, the siding on this house will last for several decades due to its moisture and termite resistance. An added benefit is that there is significant recycle content in the product. Instead of going into landfills, materials are reused in the manufacture of the siding, benefiting the environment without any negative impact on quality or cost.

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