Everyone who builds a home on a pristine lake or in a secluded area of the woods, or invests in urban-sprawl development, is part of the same global pattern of encroachment that displaces wildlife and decreases the wild space our own species needs for its survival.


9.1. Research publications and sources that will assist in your efforts to follow a "Building/Living Green" philosophy. Contact your State Department of Ecology and your County Solid Waste Disposal agencies to discover if a demonstration home exists incorporating materials and methods that are energy efficient and environmentally effective. Check-out Woods’ Designing Your Natural House.


9.2. Contact local businesses that specialize in salvaged windows, doors, and electrical or plumbing fixtures. Read the "Classified" section of your newspaper for bargain deals on recycled or reused construction materials. Visit a garage sale, especially if it's at the home of a local trade contractor, looking for surplus materials. As you develop your Conditions document for your project, don't forget to assign responsibility to each trade contractor for site cleanup, disposing of their debris, and recycling debris. Become familiar with Chappell’s Alternative Building Sourcebook.


9.3. Incorporate "Building/Living Green" features that utilize standard sizes, recycled, and sustainable materials. Without compromising cost or quality, seek alternative methods and materials for your project by asking local suppliers and manufacturers what's currently available from them. Refer to Pearson's Natural House Book.


9.4. Look for businesses willing to cooperate in a "Building Green" program. Shop around for experienced recycling services that offer to coordinate regular pickups at your site. Include job site recycling as a condition in your Conditions document with trade contractors and suppliers. As an incentive to reduce, reuse, or recycle before your debris becomes landfill refuse, contact a commercial hauler of construction debris to check prices for renting a container and disposing of your waste in a traditional manner. This may be your wakeup call! Review Hermannsson’s Green Building Resource Guide.


9.5. Place bins on site for refuse, recycle, and reuse. Keep the refuse bin separate from other areas because this debris will definitely contaminate other recycle/reuse items. Keep the reuse bin near work areas so materials are easily accessible. Any salvaged windows, doors, tiles, or fixtures should be available on site when needed. Each trade contractor and supplier should be responsible for recycle efforts but, if necessary, coordinate pickups at your site with a recycling service. A good rule for each phase of work: the person who makes the mess should be responsible for cleanup and removal of waste!


9.6. Engage the services of a professional cleaning crew to put the polish to your new home. While you're at it, relocate your reuse, recycle, and refuse bins in the house to a location that suits your lifestyle. Take the "Building Green" philosophy and translate it into a "Living Green" program. Incorporate vegetable, flower, and herb gardens into your landscape design, and reduce kitchen waste by using a compost bin in your garden area. Remember to xeriscape!


9.7. Place your “Building/Living Green” notes and contacts into a separate file to be stored in your "Cardboard Box Files." Join a neighborhood organization dedicated to these principles, and attend the annual Earth Day celebration in your community.


Building Green

Building and Living Green requires a dedication to residential Design/Build practices which promote personal health and environmental protection for both architecture and home building methods.

OBS NewsWhat are the economic advantages to this approach to building construction?

Here are helpful hints for creating an economically feasible yet environment friendly site.


Chappell, Steve. Alternative Building Sourcebook.
Brownfield: Fox Maple Press, 1998.

Hermannsson, John. Green Building Resource Guide.
Newtown: Tauton Press, 1997.

Pearson, David. Natural House Book.
New York: Fireside, 1989, 1998 2nd.

Woods, Charles. Designing Your Natural House.
New York: Van Nostrand, 1992, 1999 2nd.

Down Home with Tom Landis
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"Home from Nowhere" with Guest James Howard Kunstler

Tom interviews James Kunstler, author of Geography of Nowhere and Home from Nowhere. Mr. Kunstler introduces us to the "new urbanist" movement, decrying what he calls our "national automobile slum." He doesn't mince words criticizing our deteriorating environment and slacking cultural heritage, but he also presents us with examples where neo-traditionalist architecture and new urbanist planning have made a decisive difference.

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