Did you know that buildings have more impact on the environment than cars? At West Coast Green, Eric Corey Freed of Organic Architect talks about the future of green building and how it is possible to have a completely nontoxic, organic home.
Eric Corey Freed (ECF): You know… nearly half of carbon emissions come from operation of our buildings. Forty percent of all our energy materials going to our buildings; seventy percent of electricity goes into our buildings, so buildings have the greatest impact more so than even cars. That’s why you’re hearing so much about green building because frankly, we’re to blame for this mess. And for the last thirty years, we’ve been trying to find ways to mitigate that. And the last five years, we really got much better by getting the public aware by listening and understanding opportunities, because remember; green buildings are also smart building and also building to save you money.
Lorna Li (LL): So, what would you say Eric are the hot upcoming trends in the green building industry today?
ECF: Well, everybody gets, you know… very excited about materials, countertops and paints and so forth but we’ve had those for a long time. Really, I think the trends that everybody is gonna start are.. there are several. One is the way we build our building is gonna change dramatically. We built the same way for a hundred and seventy five years, little sticks of wood, sixteen inches on center and it started a change with these new energy efficient pre-fabricated systems and you could see a lot of that at West Coast Green. Secondly, your relationship with energy is gonna change. We’re gonna have a moderate system, a feedback systems in every house. We’re gonna have smart meters instead of dumb meters. So instead of using as much electricity as you need and getting a surprised bill every month, it’s gonna be more of – you’re gonna know the idea they basis, hour-hour basis, what’s the cost of energy and how could you affect your behavior to do that. So let’s say, three o’clock on Thursday, when everybody’s consuming energy, you might be.. get little warning maybe you should dim your lights a little better, defer washing clothes in the evening when power’s cheaper. And those kind of things will really start to go a long way and start getting us out of this rut that we are in of this addiction to oil, and this kind of weird tendency of burning coal to create energy.
LL: Sounds really great! So it was; I hear a lot of things about the high tech innovation around rebuilding and energy reduction. But what about having a home that is completely organic and non-toxic, is that even possible?
ECF: For now, it was possible but you know… we can do it now. I don’t need to wait for an invention. Unlike the car industry, which is trying to figure out some sort of magical hydrogen fuel cell, we don’t have to do that in building industry. If you, if I like to, I could, for you, build you a completely net zero house that produces more energy than it consumes, that cleans its own on water, that grows its own food that’s filled of healthy materials that won’t kill you. What’s sad about it is that the exact opposite is true in most buildings. The energy halls.. they’re full of toxic materials and they just consume vapid amounts of fresh clean drinking water.
LL: So, I think, there’s this one question that I hear a lot and I’m sure lots of people and everyone wants to know. It’s great to go green, but does going green have to cost more money?
ECF: That’s the number one question I got. No! The question’s no. I mean the truth; if you’re looking at the building and the building is at the same boring traditional way, and you try agreeing on it by adding solar power, is of course it’s gonna cost more. But that was the wrong approach. But you step back and rethink green from start and integrate it into the overall design and create something truly integrated. In other words you were to oriented to the sun and take advantage of the breezes. And you understand that light brings with the heat and you can control that, if you’re much smarter about the building and suddenly, it’s cheaper from the outset. You know, except for maybe solar panels and few other things. Green building don’t cost more, they cost less. And more importantly it cost much less to operate. And that’s what the real impact is. And if you think about it, we build our buildings for fifty to a hundred years, so the idea of what you spend for the monthly energy, water, and gas bills. it’s really the best place to start.
LL: Thank you so much for joining us today, Eric. That was Eric Corey Freed of Organic Architect. I’m Lorna Li of Greenmarketing 2.0 here with Steve Morozumi of SF Enthusiast. If you’re interested in learning more about Green Building, go to your local independently owned bookstore and get a copy of Green Building and Remodeling for Dummies. And we’re here at West Coast Green, The Premier Conference for Green Building & Innovation. Thanks a lot and bye for now.
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