Building Permit!

July 17th, 2008

building permit Finally, after many months and over $9,000 in fees we’ve our building permit in our hot little hands. We’ll be breaking ground either tomorrow or Monday. Stay tuned…

FSC vs. SFI

April 24th, 2008

A nice 2001 case study by Yale comparing the Forrest Steward Council (FSC) and the American Forest & Paper Association’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI). Reading the summary of findings makes it all too clear that the SFI certification falls well short of being sustainable. Even Google seems to back this up – the number one result, when searching “SFI certification”, being dontbuysfi.com.

Seeing Red…

April 24th, 2008

One of the biggest prerequisites of the Living Building Challenge is the Materials Red List – materials that are deemed toxic, persistent (in the environment) and otherwise unsavory to all involved and cannot be used on a Living Building. Upon first blush I didn’t assume this to be too difficult, but, to put it bluntly (my friends expect nothing else), it’s damn hard.

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No more baby steps

April 20th, 2008

After lots of coffee and many miles driven (we wish a craigslist rideshare could have materialized or the train schedule could have meshed with ours) Garrett and I have made our pilgrimage to the Living Future Unconference in Vancouver, BC and back to Portland. Jason McLennan, the CEO of the Cascadia Green Building Council, delivered a great opening talk on our, the building industry’s and society’s, need to shift from the current status quo way of living and building. He stated that people resist change big or small – the process of change is difficult for most people. He said that often when people try to change the status quo they do so in baby steps, hoping to make it more palatable for people, but since people don’t like change, even in baby steps, they resist and push back. So the baby step is met with resistance and subsequently the path towards the goal is modified. This process happens ad nauseam, affecting the trajectory away from the goal (see doodle below). With this paradigm in mind, Jason said it was time to make a radical change, no more baby steps. We couldn’t agree more – I’ve been telling people this for quite a while. The other analogy that I like, in this regard, is from Daniel Quinn – he says society is like an airplane, everybody thinks we’re flying, nobody notices that we’re actually in free fall…

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* LEED has done a wonderful job of transforming the building industry and bringing focus to more environmentally sound building practices.

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