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What is Green?

scott markle_2
scott markle_2 Member Posts: 611
Dan's recent newsletter includes a rebuttal to a link he presented the previous week concerning the shortcomings of some green projects. This rebuttal articulates the multifaceted criterion that go into quantifying green performance. Obviously it's more than just utilities and the author has done a good job of reminding us of what these puzzle pieces are.

I'm happy to be reminded of these factors, but I think something important has been omitted, it's called excess. At what point does the size of a single family structure make any efforts at environmental stewardship irrelevant?

The equitable distribution of the earths resources is an issue that, as prickly as it may be, is central to any notion of creating a "greener" society. Debating the greenness of mansions is an exercise in absurdity. By engaging in this well meaning dialog we are giving credibility to something that is morally bankrupt.

Bringing it back to the metrics of energy use we start with a situation (for large houses) that is unfair. Large structures have lower BTU per square foot requirements based on their ratio of skin "envelop" to the volume contained. A small building has more skin for volume contained than does a large one (it's basic math). This fact makes it relatively easy for a large building to show impressive btu/sq.ft performance.

Focusing on green high end housing seems a bit silly when viewed against the basic the needs of 7 billion people. In terms of environmental impact a shanty in Lagos is way better than a green mansion in Colorado. If residential Leed certification is to have any real environmental credibility it needs to consider a standards system that connects performance with occupancy.


  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Green is...

    an over hyped marketing term coined by the guy who invented the internet, and is capitalizing on the term via personal income. Many of his followers are doing the same. Its a green bandwagon powered by mistruths and fear tactics. If the ice bergs DO melt, will sea levels rise significantly? Personally, I think not. If I fill a glass with ice and water, full to the brim, and the ice melts, there is NOT a significant increase in the water level of the glass, other than the change in fluid density, as dictated by the increase in fluid temperature and resultant fluid expansion.

    It (the "movement" should be referred to as "Environmentally Guided Common Sense", but thats too hard to say/spell and NBC wouldn't be able to use it one week a year in the coloring of its peacock...

    I avoid the use of the overused term myself.

    I try and employ common sense whenever and wherever possible. It starts in our personal day to day lives, and grows from there into our business practices.

    Here are some of the things I practice.

    Re-use is better than recycling.

    Recycling is better than not, and should be mandatory everywhere.

    Conserve ALL natural resources, in any way possible.

    What you think you need and reality are in to completely different places.

    You'd be amazed at how little (irrigation water for example) you really NEED to get by.

    Waste not, want not.

    I have predicted before that the future wars will be fought over water. You can live without oil if you have to, but can NOT live without water. Less than 2% of the water that is available on the face of the Earth is readily available for human consumption without some means of treatment to remove man made chemicals... And that number is shrinking daily.

    Green is an abused, over used, mis-used term.

    I too appreciate Dan's allowing the lady the opportunity to explain her position, logic and reasoning.


    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,552
    I agree completely

    Except the ice melting issue is not the ice in the water, it's the ice above the water. Glaciers, etc.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Most of the glaciers are already gone Paul...

    And I haven't gotten my promised beach front property here in Colorado.... :-)

    The Arctic ice cap has been nearly complete melt down seasonally for some time now. No significant rises in ocean levels seen...

    The water that was put on the face of the Earth is the same water from millions of years ago.

    The biggest green house gas that has more influence on the Earths temperature that no one seems to be addressing is humidity. Clouds are humidity, and if enough clouds gather, the Earths surface will cool due to reflection, no?

    I think you know me as an environmentally friendly kind of guy, I just am not buying into the falling sky syndrome. Mass panic never got anything worthwhile accomplished.

    Mother Nature is going to do whatever she pleases, and we are going to have to learn how to adapt to those changes. Conservation is just a part of life, regardless of perceived climatic changes.

    As it pertains to that deadly gas CO2, without it, we would ALL be dead. No CO2, no plants converting it to oxygen, no humans, no more problems ;-)

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    No significant rises in ocean levels seen...

    Probably not in Colorado.

    But some people here in New Jersey are really upset that the latest flood-plain maps now include their property that were not included 60 years ago. And people in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, Virgina, know already where sea levels are rising an inch every 7 to 8 years.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    Thanks for reading me,

    and her.

    I love her passion. I left out her credentials, but she sure does have them.

    Good discussion. Thanks.
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,033
    the rise in the level of the oceans

    would be caused he thermal expansion of that many gallons of water, as the temperature increases. Anyone want to take a shot at that calculation.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,195
    What is green?

    Simple yellow and blue. Every other use is a misnomer. The oceans are climbing and the weather is nuttier every passing year. We do our little parts each day to save a few thousand b.t.u.'s here and there. maybe we will make a difference maybe not one any one will notice. But I know I tried and I can sleep at night knowing it is not my systems hitting the accelerator.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Paul Fredricks_3
    Paul Fredricks_3 Member Posts: 1,552
    oh...I got the answer


    I don't know 7 what, but that's what I came up with :)
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434

    That's what I came up with too! Such great minds we have, Paul. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • Kestrel
    Kestrel Member Posts: 102

    The issue with temperature rise and ice melt leading to sea level rise is the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets - these are massive conglomerations of water, above sea level.  The mean elevation of the Greenland sheet is 6000 feet above sea level!

    From the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, via Wikipedia, referring to Greenland:

    If the entire 2,850,000 cubic kilometres (683,751 cu mi) of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 m (23.6 ft).[2]

    Antarctica contains 30 MILLION cubic kilometers of ice, about 60% of the fresh water on the planet.  Some of Antarctica is below sea level - but much is quite above.  If this stuff melts, the oceans rise.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    I came up with...

    6.9 ..... :-)

    Close enough for government work.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • Jodi
    Jodi Member Posts: 1
    Hype and growth

    I love this discussion, and the participants are hitting all the points that so irk me in the marketing world.

    We are a culture based on consumption, but step one is curbing consumption, defining "growth" in an entirely different way and making "success" not about how much stuff we own or how fast we can replace it. How about we work to define growth as in growth in knowledge, and growth in abilities and growth in reliability and resiliency.  With this in mind, bigger should not automatically give a leg-up in the "green" discussion, as Scott points out, that it currently does.  The LEED system and other rating and management tools for better driving ecologically sound work tries to address this by giving extra points if the house is smaller than average. A bandaide, to be certain, but a start.

    Green is overhyped and used too often, as Mark points out.  But compared to even 10 years ago, at least we have a significant number of people aware enough to argue that point! What an improvement.  The market has shifted incredibly in that short time, and now we must swing the pendulum back away from the hype to a thoughtful, overall approach to making each decision purposefully, balancing cost, planet, and health and wellbeing of workers and occupants.
This discussion has been closed.