Saturday, February 6, 2010

Recycled House: Well, That's Cool

"Beautiful Home Built From Recycled Materials"
Science Hax (January 27, 2010)

"Those people have decided to create something unique and something that you don’t see everyday and yet it is cheap and it is built from a recycled materials.

"This house is one of the examples how home can be built without spending much money. This house has been built from a cheap recycled materials.

"But those people are not just savvy they are also pretty creative, you can see how some of the walls, doors and roof are mosaic-like decorated. And when you look it inside it looks really nice and makes you wonder who wouldn’t like to live there."

(from Science Hax, used w/o permission)

The article is mostly photos: over a dozen of them; good quality photography of interiors and exteriors.

Well, good for those folks.

They've done a very nice job of making a unique, personalized, and quite attractive home. And, it's something just about anybody could do: provided that they own a fair-sized tract of woodland, and can spend enormous amounts of time in hand-crafting a structure to live in.

Like I said, the result is a very nice house.

Even if someone had the clout it would take to get zoning variances in town for a building like that, not all that many people I know have that much free time. Myself included. Still, there was that college professor who built his own house, a few weekend's worth of work at a time. Over a period of a decade or so.

Kudos to the author, for not mentioning "sustainable." Not once. Of course, there wasn't that much text. It's a term I've been running into quite a bit, in descriptions of Earth-friendly, ecologically-conscious, and terribly green houses.

Acting as if Wood Grows on Trees

It makes sense, in a way. There's so much waste and lack of concern for sustainability. American contractors seem to think that wood grows on trees. Wait a minute - - - .

Part of my attitude comes, I think, from living in Minnesota: where tree farming is part of the regional economy. And yes: wood is used so much in construction because it grows on trees. Literally. And has a very good strength/weight ratio: which is another topic.

Which reminds me of an article about an attractive beach house on the Oregon coast that generated more energy than it consumed. That's a part of the world where high temperatures are around 69 degrees Fahrenheit in August the average low in January is 38. (August 4, 2009) Where I live, in central Minnesota, we can go through temperature extremes like that in a day.

Green and Smart Aren't Opposites

Don't get me wrong: my household recycles, we're careful about what we use and how we use it, and I don't think it's a good idea to put an outhouse too close to the well. Not that we've used either in a generation or so.

But I tend to cringe a little, every time I read that something's "green" or "sustainable." I've seen too many well-intentioned (I hope) efforts that either can't be scaled up (like the outhouse); or are too costly for any but the more affluent to afford.

On the other hand, every now and then, someone comes up with an idea that won't solve all problems - but works in some cases.

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