My interest in eco construction (or green building) began in the 1970’s with the early signs of an energy crisis. I was just learning home building and was developing a growing interest in energy efficiency, passive solar design, and other forms of alternative energy. I also attended one of the first owner builder schools in the country to explore alternative home building methods and the beginnings of the eco construction movement.
Starting with a focus on energy efficient home design, eco construction has developed to include two other primary areas of consideration. The incorporation of healthy materials and design features to increase air quality, along with the inclusion of sustainable practices for resource conservation, are now part of the big picture.
A good starting place in consideration of green home design is the size of your home. “Not-so-big” house building principles are a shift from the prevailing “bigger is better” American home design of the past decade or two. Small home design, incorporating better quality in smaller spaces, is foundational to understanding eco construction principles.
The next step is to consider an integrated systems approach to eco house design in order to optimize energy efficiency, air quality, and resource conservation. Incorporating green building material is becoming easier and more cost effective as we grow in our desire to work together to preserve the environmental inheritance of future generations.