Even in day-to-day life, sustainability matters. Sustainability is about meeting "the demands of today's population without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs for many years." (3)
When thinking about the concept "Sustainability", “recycled” or “organic” usually comes to mind. Think also: ecology, erosion, health and safety.
Sustainability covers well-being, local economies, social responsibility, environmental accountability, and simple living. (1)
Do people actually care about sustainability?
Yes. A global consumer survey on corporate citizenship, found that 66% of socially conscious consumers selected environmental sustainability as most important, from a list of 18 prominent issues.
People are concerned about what is behind a product, especially air pollution, water pollution. Folks are also very concerned about packaging wastes, water shortages and pesticide use.
Organics, farmers' markets, and locally made products were seen as having important positive effects on the environment (5)
Who are these people?
A global survey identified the ways "green consumers." are perceived by others: they're responsible, caring, healthy, smart, respected, normal, innovative. They also care about: conserving natural habitats, ensuring people are fed, reducing pesticide use, using recyclable packaging, and reducing packing material. (7)
Mainstreaming Social Consciousness
Socially conscious consumers use their purchasing power to try to improve the world around them. Consumers report that they rely significantly on their social values before buying. If a product aligns with their values regarding the environment or manufacturing, they'll buy it to support it's positioning on issues.
This mainstreaming shift is aided by improvements in the legislation of environmental and social standards. Corporations are acting upon social responsibility policies as a way to differentiate themselves. Even if it's just from a marketing perspective - it's also helping.
Relationships between purchase behaviors and social issues are also mainstreaming - thanks to social media. Consumers feel the need to manifest their personal values through what they buy. And, they're supporting socially responsible corporations. (2)
Relative to dollars spent,
a huge positive impact
on the environment
can be made
via your home purchase.
This directly connects you to
the Sustainable Movement.
Your Largest Sustainable Purchase
Wouldn't it be nice, if One Day the home inspections used for assessments would include scores for sustainable building practises and materials? Costs to the environment plus costs to your family's health and well-being would be counted. Costs of maintaining, wear-and-tear, and daily resource use, would also be included. Your sustainability survey might then reflect the True Costs of Home . This new "bell curve' of sustainable homes would assess...
reduced energy and/or water
local, natural or organic ingredients
fair treatment and wages for workers
organic/pesticide-free farming methods
products that create less waste/pollution
non-harmful alternatives to harmful chemicals
materials that don't harm the environment or resource overuse
wood, paper, and cardboard from sustainably managed forest land
In this article, we'll discuss two positive contributions to sustainability: regional building using local, natural and recycled materials, plus locally-appropriate landscaping that protects environmental resources.
When it comes to stewarding
without compromising quality of life
and long term profitability,
old-world technologies still stand.
Eco-Cheats vs Common-Sense
Eco-products for builds and renovations lose sustainability points when wrapped, then shipped huge distances from less green regions. Eco-parts assembled regionally may include raw materials shipped from afar.
Green products may be more biodegradable but they still may not benefit the environment.
By reducing greenhouse gas emissions due to transport, the carbon footprint of materials becomes smaller. In the old days, people used regional materials and local labour. How much common-sense can we salvage sustainably, in a society overwhelmed by abundant options?
Regional Raw Materials
Environmental Consultant Patrick Nye, noted that “raw materials that represent the most weight and greatest transportation cost, such as brick, cement, steel, glass, wood, and sheetrock" are often overlooked when accounting for sustainability. (1)
Jennie Morton, of buildings.com, wrote that "The LEED standard defines regional materials as “building materials or products that have been extracted, harvested, or recovered, as well as manufactured, within 500 miles of the project site for a minimum of 10% or 20%, based on cost, of the total materials value.” (1)
Investing in a local raw materials home
supports global sustainability.
Reduced costs of
extraction, transportation, and manufacturing
ultimately reduce your carbon footprint.
Localism Lightened the Footprint of Elegant Organic Home
From inception, local materials were included from the ground up. Setting that tone resulted in less temptations to “give in” to less sustainable products. Over 80% of the raw materials were regional, under 250 miles.
Incredible research influenced design. The brain labour invested in this home is enormous! This Smart Home is smart by inherent design, not by the installation of artificial intelligent home technologies as mere afterthoughts.
Perks of Local Provenance
The stress relief that comes from fewer choices is one perk of sustainability standards. Too many choices inflate costs. Our choices were simple, and our conscience was lighter!
Premium prices can pair with local materials. But, with elegant traditional finishes, there is less need for decorative bells and whistles that add up in conventional builds. Old-world natural beauty requires less cosmetics.
Local materials are designed to weather the climate in which they reside, more appropriately. Imported materials don't have the compositions to survive in alternate climates.
Environmental Effects of Elegant Organic Home
Aside from it's standard energy efficient appliances, this home contains organic materials including insulation and structure. Finishes in the home are animal and human safe.
The majority of raw materials and products travelled less than 250 miles. This exceeds the LEEDS maximum requirement by another 60%. There was a huge reduction in the packaging wastes produced by this home build compared to conventional builds.
Water Conserving Xeriscape
The Okanagan valley does not have the climate for sustainable lawns. This home is xeriscaped with drought-tolerant species that need minimal (to no) watering.
The builder milled or salvaged most of the wood with the help of a local ranching/milling family. A regional lumber mill was used for framing materials. We reclaimed organic strawbales that had been specifically baled by a local farmer, when another strawbale's funding fell through. This build supported family businesses or local workers, in an economic downturn when most builders were out of work.
Here's Your Check List for Identifying a Sustainable Home
Energy efficient materials, products, appliances
Products in recyclable packaging
Materials with little/no packaging
Organic products & materials
Ethically produced or grown materials
Materials that haven't travelled long distances
Locally made products
Fair trade products including Community/ Social Capital
Products not tested on animals
Water conserving and efficient
Elegant Organic Home is a Smart Home
by inherent design.
Elegant Organic Home embodies
a fresh perspective with old-world common sense.
© Låna Brown 2017
(1) http://www.buildings.com/article-details/articleid/15165/title/regional-materials-benefits-and-advantages/viewall/true Jennie Morton, associate editor for BUILDINGS.com.
(2-7) http://www.agr.gc.ca/eng/industry-markets-and-trade/statistics-and-market-information/agriculture-and-food-market-information-by-region/socially-conscious-consumer-trends-sustainability/?id=1410083148827 Includes the following surveys: Our Common Future, 1987; Neilsen Global Online Environment and Sustainability Survey, 2011; Greendex Consumer Choice and the Environment – A Worldwide Tracking Survey, 2012, from National Geographic and Globescan (2)
Sustainability is about how products fit into a consumer's culture, lifestyle and social consciousness. Global public opinion surveys now reflect the relationship between personal values and buying behaviours, particularly in regions where choice is an everyday privilege.