Saturday, August 21, 2010

Building with Twigs and Birdsnests

Scott Adams in hilarious form on his experiences trying to build a green home:

Let's say you love the Earth. You see an article in a magazine about a guy who built a "green" house using mostly twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. You want to build a green home, too. So you find an architect, show him the magazine and say, "Give me one just like this."

Good luck with that.

Your architect only knows how to design homes using materials that his local planning commission is likely to approve. But he wants the job, so he tries hard to talk you out of using twigs, pinecones and abandoned bird nests. He tells you that no builder will build it. He tells you it won't get approved by the city. He tells you it won't stand up to earthquakes, hurricanes or termites. But you persist. You're saving the Earth, damn it. No one said it would be easy.

So the architect—and later your building engineer, too—each asks you to sign a document saying you won't sue them when beavers eat a load-bearing wall and your entire family is crushed by forest debris. You make the mistake of mentioning this arrangement to your family, and they leave you. But you are not deterred because you're saving the planet, damn it. You'll get a new family. A greener one.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good link and well worth reading in its entirety. Just in case your readers don't and take the last two sentences as proof that all greens are monomaniacal nutters, the last two sentences of the snip are deliberately ironic.

The key snip from the piece is this:

"This is a good time to define "green."

"The greenest home is the one you don't build. If you really want to save the Earth, move in with another family and share a house that's already built. Better yet, live in the forest and eat whatever the squirrels don't want. Don't brag to me about riding your bicycle to work; a lot of energy went into building that bicycle. Stop being a hypocrite like me.

"I prefer a more pragmatic definition of green. I think of it as living the life you want, with as much Earth-wise efficiency as your time and budget reasonably allow."

In that light, the parallels between green homes and electric cars are quite interesting - and arguably equally Quixotic.

I can't find the links but there really are prototype electric cars built from bamboo etc. Truly cheap and lightweight and far "greener" than a Prius or Volt - but out of the question for buyers in developed countries.