Building Green: Chapter 3 – Alternative Building Strategies
Remember the old saying: the more things stay the same, the more they change… or is it a penny shined saves time? I never was good with sayings. My point is that for me the terrain toward an environmentally sustainable built environment is always changing. I am constantly learning new things that cause me to adjust my perspective. I started my career focused on what is commonly called “natural building”. I’ve come to feel that really the most important contribution of the natural building movement is advocacy for lifestyle change. The focus is on creating community, supporting the local economy, and moving toward self-sufficiency through simplifying our ridiculously complex modern approach to daily life. In terms of building, the focus is on materials harvested from the site or produced locally with minimal processing. I’m still a big fan of this approach.
In the last ten years, I’ve also become enamored of what is sometimes called “high performance” building. The focus here is minimizing the inputs required to run and maintain buildings. The less energy a building needs, the smaller and therefore more affordable will be the renewable energy system employed to make the power to run the building. This approach then is also focused on self-sufficiency but coming from a different angle.
I’ve decided that the best the best approach to sustainable construction is to combine these two approaches, creating a hybrid “high performance, natural building system”. A group of us have been working on this idea for a number of years. The result is a building system that we call the Nauhaus (pronounced “now house”). To learn more, visit our website at thenauhaus.com