Green Building Philosophy
The hot concept in our industry is Green Building. This concept seems to mean so many different things to different people; here’s what it means to me.
Before the modern age – the age of cheap energy – all construction was green. If a builder had used material at hand, of course they would be recycled. Openings were oriented to maximize natural light, ventilation & solar gain. Local materials and labor were used. This is what building was, and to a large extent, still is. Even today, any builder worth his salt still practices the virtues of frugality and economy – since the wasteful builder quickly becomes the bankrupt builder.
Green in Practice
The “Green Laws”, as I see it, are simple:
- Be economical with materials. Use only the minimum required to produce the designed structure.
- Design for function. Extraneous = waste.
- Be conscious of energy cost. Use the energy you need.
One will probably notice that no mention is made of particular building techniques. Straw bale houses, photo voltaic systems, “smart houses”, green roofs, “super insulated houses” and many other assemblies and structures are currently en vogue and all may have their place in our industry. However, none of these ideas are “green”, that is, sustainable & cost effective over life-cycle time periods, in and of themselves. Indeed, to the extent that they violate the rules above, they may even be the opposite of “Green”.We at Schultz Construction can legitimately claim to be “Green builders”. Over the last ten years, we have installed:
— 40,000 gal Rainwater Catchment System (Chengson)
— Graywater Systems (Murphy, Benhari)
— Green Roof (Primack)
— Hydronic Heating (all Projects)
— Solar Hot Water Systems (Berglund, Schultz)
In addition, we have a firm commitment to using recycled materials where available, utilizing local suppliers, craftsmen & materials when possible, and taking extraordinary care in the design & construction of heating, cooling & thermal insulation systems. We do this not only to provide low life cycle costs to our clients, but also as a measure of our commitment to the sustainability of our built environment.
As builders, it is a matter of integrity & pride to competently construct whatever our clients and designers call upon us to build; it is our commitment to do so as “Green” and sustainably as possible.