What we call "green building" goes by several other names, such as "green design," "sustainable architecture," or "environmentally friendly building." The concept is broad and can be confusing. As we define it, green building covers three main components: energy consumption, natural resource consumption, and toxicity. Some- times a green product or building practice may be good for one com- ponent but bad for another. A perfect example is insulation. One type of insulation might be good for lowering your heating and cooling bills, but bad for your health. Like everything else in life, there are trade-offs, and these have to be balanced for the best results.
Thoughtforms' interest in green building dates back over thirty years. We have built passive solar buildings, active solar with photovoltaic cells, energy star homes, and environmentally friendly houses that take advantage of renewable resources, reclaimed stock, and products that consume less energy, create less waste, and reduce the levels of toxic elements.
Our approach is a balanced one. We try to find the right green building techniques and products to fit the degree of interest of the client. We also balance the costs and potential pitfalls. Ultimately, we apply our general building knowledge to make sure that the green products or techniques are long lasting. If they are going to fail or deteriorate after a few years, then they are not really good for the environment.
Green building—like everything else in construction—must be carefully considered. Anything you do in construction has implications elsewhere in the project. All of the pieces are related. We weigh all of the relevant factors to make sure that in the interest of the environment, or sustainability, or energy consumption, we have not sacrificed the design intent or quality of the house.