Greenitude, Chainsaws, and Everything Else


 This blog is cross-posted with Remodeling Magazine with the kind permission of the editor.

 

Let me recommend an excellent, well-written blog indeed.  Melissa Baldridge goes well beyond the nuts-and-bolts conversations in which we so often engage, and she presents ideas from a broader perspective.  At the point where remodeling meets building performance, the industry necessarily concerns itself with customer dreams, resale values, Savings to Investment Ratios, and dollars and cents reasoning. That's not enough.  The world needs sense as well as cents.

 

I am *not* an advocate for Green as a general marketing tool. I *am* a committed supporter of Greenitude (a new word that just occurred to me) as a way to combat the criminal savaging not only of the biosphere but also of the geosphere that is currently in progress as a result of the preeminent importance placed by humans on immediate gratification and dollars and cents.

 

It just so happens that I awoke this morning feeling a bit dispirited, and I've learned that the best thing to do for that is hard exercise.  My favorite exercise is to cut, split, and stack firewood, so I headed for my mini urban woodlot behind the garage, where I went after a pretty fair load of logs from windfall trees with a reasonably powerful professional chainsaw.

 

These tools don't have that incredible new safety devise that shuts down a table saw if it hits flesh (the manufacturers demonstrate the product by using a weiner--although some might say that a certain Weiner would be a good choice for the task).  The margin for error when using a chainsaw is very, very small indeed.

 

So there I am, cutting and wrestling logs in the direct hot sun, sweating like crazy, pulse ticking at a pretty good clip, and my mood has rebounded after an hour of hard work.  I stopped to consider why that happened.

 

Part of it's just exercise.  But cutting with a powerful tool where a small mistake is one mistake too many means that you must put yourself entirely in control.  And being in control in a constructive, positive sense is highly rewarding.  

 

The rewards by no means exclude economic benefit:  our average gas bill for heating, cooking, hot water, and clothes drying is $44/month year round here in wintery Syracuse, NY.  Much of that is because of conservation measures and home performance improvements, but plenty results from using wood heat.  

 

But it is also quite Green:  we use an efficient wood insert with low particulate emissions, all the wood comes from within about a mile radius of our urban home, very little fossil fuel is involved in the process.  There are actual, measurable benefits to the ecosphere and the geosphere. 

 

The quote the delightful and highly analytical wife of a good friend, "BOBBY!! What's your POINT????"

 

The industry involved in the conception, creation, and maintenance of all the buildings that exist needs to take a greater level of control not only their safety, comfort, and beauty, but also of their efficiency and durability.  What's at stake?  Pretty much everything as we know it.

 

So add Greenitude to your attitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Comment by Ed Voytovich on July 16, 2011 at 2:36pm

A fine statement indeed. 

It's the last round on the fight card. 

In the white trunks it's the Ecozoic era. In the black trunks, it's the favored fighter:  the hard hitting, fast moving, seemingly unstoppable popular favorite.  Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the Anthropocene Era.

May the best man win. 

Comment by David Eggleton on July 16, 2011 at 10:53am
Comment by David Eggleton on July 16, 2011 at 6:26am

"...you must put yourself entirely in control.  And being in control in a constructive, positive sense is highly rewarding."

That's an excellent companion for the notion that the best way to predict the future is to create it.

I would absolutely agree that people deeply engaged in the lives of buildings must inspire whole commitments to them, but I'm on a fence.  Plausible scenarios of energy resources depletion (work of Richard Heinberg, for example) suggest that buildings will be (mere) shelters again.  If that is the case, focus on cultural transformation is more important, although presently less lucrative, than refining buildings.  I recognize Greenitude as a necessary element of the unprecedented transition.

Thanks for once again pulling sense into view.

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