Here at Studio Design Group Architects, we strive to make green building more attainable to our clients by demonstrating that smalls steps are just as important as larger measures to adopting a greener lifestyle.
So often we hear clients or contractors scoffing at the mere mention of sustainable or green materials, “We can’t afford that!” or “It’s way too expensive to make the whole project green!”
With the prominence of LEED, Build It Green and other such certification programs, the community at large often gets the impression that it’s an all or nothing game—that if all your chips aren’t in the center of the table then it’s pointless to even try. That your honest good efforts to be energy efficient and resource conscious are only laudable if affected on a grand scale and if measured by an international standard.
To some degree this may be true. Owning a Nissan Leaf doesn’t give free license to also own 10 Hummers.
But the goal is to make eco-conscious choices on both small and large scales. It’s also important to remember than choices do not have to be environmentally perfect to implement. The true goal is to seek out environmentally preferable materials and methods. Doing so supports the development of cleaner and greener products and pushes manufacturers to continually work towards better solutions.
My latest small step? Eliminating paper towels in the kitchen. Paper towels can’t be recycled nor composted (at least not the white chlorinated bleached ones). Americans consume 51,000 trees a day with their paper towel usage. Every. Single. Day. 51,000 trees are destroyed to produce the amount of paper towels we use in a 24 hour period. By using cloth dish towels in my kitchen I only save a tiny fraction of a tree. Hardly seems like much until others do it as well. Before you know it, whole forests are saved through teamwork.
Small steps, when taken together, create big changes in this world.