Architecture and The Green Movement

I have been frustrated with the lack of awareness concerning the value of “Green Technologies” in the construction industry. Everyone wants to know if the products they are using are “Green”. A whole industry has emerged that instructs us (architects, builders and contractors) on the principles of green building. State and Federal agencies spending public dollars on construction projects want us to be LEED certified. The whole process of teaching the next generation good old Yankee Ingenuity has dissolved into marketing. Not that marketing is bad, but where is the meat?

The meat is in common sense. 100 years ago people did not build homes with bamboo flooring, or vinyl siding. They used locally available materials that were inexpensive and close to the end user. Why? because it cost less. There is no mystery here. Craftsmen were trained in the art of masonry, or carpentry and they understood the classic styles of architecture. They built homes that developed into neighborhoods that displayed a local style based on climate considerations, customs and local materials.

Now we have Plastic Homes, that do not display the organic nature of local natural materials, they do not reflect any style. The natural materials that ground us to our environment and give us a connection to mother earth call to us intrinsically. I have found communities built in the 1920’s, 30’s and 40’s reflect a sense of style and of place and most are still viable communities with well maintained homes today. That is the value. Not does bamboo grow commercially in quick manner that is easy to replenish. If we build disposable housing it does not matter what we put into them.

The value is in economics. Good old common sense. We have become so affluent that we have lost or ability to understand value.

Steve Eyke, owner
LaFollette Custom Homes, Ltd.