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Understanding Green Building Principals is Deeper Than the Materials you Choose

Carl Christianson

Green building is not a new concept in the building industry. Many of the principals that are used in modern green building were developed and tested long ago in the building trade. Look back in history and you don’t have to go very far to discover some of the great foundations of ecological building principals and sustainability. Early dwellers understood and selected their construction sites on comfort of having the most basic need water, within close proximity of their home. While early times may have called for this effort as a survival tool, no one disputes the effect that a water feature can have on the psyche of an occupant who can gaze upon the flowing life giving fluid and the calming sensation the sound of its flowing path provides us. Effects of natural light and ventilation within a closed living environment have been shown to have a direct correlation to the health of its occupants in animals of all species. Concepts like the blending of both indoor and outdoor out door living have led to utilizing smaller interior spaces that allow far smaller footprints and yet provide all the basic necessities of a modern home.

Principals of sustainability in design ensure that a building structure will be utilized to its fullest potential while modern materials and construction techniques allow for the design to lastingly serve generations of people without the threat of replacement due to poor product lifespan. We want to be happy in our homes, understanding principals that enhance this feeling allows us the comfort of living longer in them. Ideas like aging in place have been found to allow people develop a feeling of attachment to their homes. The security of knowing that they will not outgrow with accessibility or be forced to leave when the question of aging comes into place.

While changes in the economy in the past few years have led many families to question the growing trend of consumerism brought upon by the 1990’s. The reality that many are able to make due with less and actually find freedom in utilizing only what is needed. House sizes within the US took a new trend in shrinking back to natural human proportions. The giant interior spaces we were creating and filling with advertising driven needs of status have come into question and been replaced with the subtle back to basics trends and led many to find that less can actually be better. Less building to maintain, clean and repair can also mean lower cost to heat and cool. More emphasis on multi use areas within a house instead of the dedicated and often unused areas set aside for very occasional use. The formal dining rooms were never memory builders when compared to the friendly thoughts of the familiar kitchen table used day in and out. The inconvenience of having to share and crowd within a space for a short period of celebratory time could possibly lead to an even more memorable time. Especially in a time where society as a whole tends to isolate itself within technology bound devices. Now a moment of solitude can be found by simply opening up a smart phone to choose your distraction.

Where will the concepts of sustainability lead us next?

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