The focus of this blog is construction-related topics. The purpose is discussion, so please feel free to comment! See Specific thoughts for thoughts from the daily life of a specifier.

15 October 2008

Sustainable Design - Is It?

sustainable: able to be sustained; the capacity to maintain a certain process or state indefinitely

Green design is necessary, but calling it something it's not may do more harm than good; "sustainable design" is not sustainable.

15 September 2008

The Making of a Curmudgeon

curmudgeon: A crusty, irascible, cantankerous old person full of stubborn ideas or opinions.

It's about four years since I threw my hat into the ring and ran for Institute Director of CSI. I recall thinking at the time, "Holy cow, when my term is done, I'll be almost sixty!" There may not be a lot of difference between fifty-six and sixty, but those round-number, milestone birthdays somehow take on added significance.

Thirty was the worst. Until then, you're still young by any measure. But there's something about thirty that distorts its real effect beyond reason. With current life expectancy well over sixty, it's not even a halfway point, but still, you're starting to see the downhill side of the slope. Surprisingly, forty and fifty were no big deal, but sixty might be a bit scary. In my mind, I'm just a little past thirty, which seems strange when I think about my children, both of whom turned thirty this year. How the heck did they catch up to me?

I had a short period last year - about ten days - when life was even better than usual. My first grandson was born; my son returned from an extended tour in Iraq; and I got a letter from the mortgage company saying I owed them only a little over a hundred dollars.

It was only a short time later when everything snapped back to reality.

15 August 2008

First Law of Green Design - Conservation of Energy

conserve: to avoid wasteful or destructive use; to use or manage wisely; to use only what is needed

At the end of  "Sustainable Design - Is It?", we were left with a grass hut on a tropical island as an example of truly sustainable design, and the observation that the farther away we are from that island, the less sustainable our buildings become.

Even though sustainability cannot be achieved, it seems reasonable that green design would result in buildings that use as little energy and other resources as possible. Taken to the extreme, this would mean that those of us not fortunate enough to live in San Diego would live and work in well-insulated, windowless cubes. Obviously, this is unrealistic, and would be unacceptable. It is, however, no more outrageous than many of the award-winning buildings that are touted as examples of sustainable design.