I’ve noticed that there has been a significant transition in the green building industry, especially with respect to residential building. A few of my favourite green building haunts have reinvented themselves over the past few years. Most of them started out selling green building supplies, but those that have survived are either still the loner in their geographic area with enough demand to support their business or they’ve transitioned into building services. Why? Because many of the green building products have become so mainstream that they are no longer niche. By now, the terminology “zero and low VOC” have become so common that most people will ask for these types of products — and the vast majority of salespeople know exactly what people mean when they ask for them (believe me, this wasn’t the case in 2009). Energy efficient products are everywhere and consumers have gained enough knowledge that they feel comfortable to ask the right questions. We want to know about recycled material content in our products, where they were made, and what will happen to them at end of life.
The progress that has been made in terms of general knowledge is remarkable. I attribute a lot of that knowledge with the rise in popularity of LEED. Whether the term has made it into the vernacular at the consumer level is almost irrelevant. Most builders — whether they love it or hate it — are very familiar with the certification and all of its pros and cons. But that is the point: now that the building industry is aware of it, it can work with clients who want to build better, healthier, durable and long lasting homes with better knowledge.
So, where does that leave me? In transition mode. I feel that my job is done with respect to writing about specific building materials, energy efficiency products, etc. While these issues are still important, there is enough knowledge and information out there that my news is no longer needed. I’ve covered VOCs, recycled material, energy efficiency, LEDs, water efficiency to death! On to bigger and better things! While I will leave all the previous articles up on the blog, the scope and content of the blog will transition into the bigger picture: the circular economy, extended producer responsibility, waste management, and sustainable cities. My work-life is currently focussed on these areas so it makes sense to write about them. And, as you will see, green building materials, energy and water efficiency are key pieces of these larger issues.
In the mean time, for the best information on green materials, building science, energy efficiency and green building, here are my go-to resources:
Materia: a totally awesome website dedicated to materials of the future, many of which are bio-based, all of which are interesting and different.
Inhabitat: quite possibly the best design blog out there with lots of green and inspirational ideas.
Treehugger: love this website and all the discussions that happen under articles. It is at the heart of most eco developments so if you only want to visit one site, this is the one.
Green Building Advisor: Aside from all the fantastic green building information available, the discussion forums are excellent.
Building Green: Green building guru Alex Wilson has been building green since before it was hip and trendy. He and his team are well-known for expert advice on all things green building, including materials.
Building Science Corporation: for highly detailed, thorough explanations of the latest developments in building science, this resource provides essential information.
Enjoy your reading!