History of Sustainability
On Earth Day, April 22, 1970, the world voiced their concern about the population growth and the exponential increase in industrial activity. Concern was heightened even more when supplies of fossil fuels from the Middle East were cut back and energy prices increased during the 70's. People began to search for ways of protecting the environment and using less energy in their buildings.
The country became tired of the long lines at gas station pumps, uncontrolled pollution, and environmentally damaging materials. A whole new emphasis was placed on using the free natural resources of the earth, as well as recycling the resources already exploited. New studies began to show the taxing effects of pollution, and more importantly, that there was still time to do something about it. Lobbyists began instituting laws limiting pollution output and even banning some chemicals and industrial products. The world quickly learned that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." While properly disposing of hazardous materials and filtering smoke from power plants and factories was a costly effort, it was undoubtedly cheaper than cleaning up the environment later.
While the clean-burning fuels and electric cars were (and are) yet to become economically sound, one of the easiest places to experiment with sustainability was within the living space. Using natural building materials such as wood and stone is much more environmentally sound than steel and concrete. Building with recycled elements saves landfills from untold tons of garbage every year. Solar heating and passive cooling cuts energy bills down to pennies on the dollar. Indeed, sustainability was not only cost efficient, but allowed buildings to become part of the environment, rather than stick out from it. Sustainability also became known as "green" architecture.
What is "Sustainable Architecture?"(Ryn,p.106)
The Lighter Side of Sustainable Architecture
Eco-housing, green development, sustainable design -- environmentally sound housing has as many names as it has definitions, but the Rocky Mountain Institute, in its "Primer on Sustainable Building", flexibly describes this new kind of architecture as "taking less from the Earth and giving more to people." In practice, "green" housing varies widely. It can range from being energy efficient and using nontoxic interior finishes to being constructed of recycled materials and completely powered by the sun.
Green building practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. Green buildings promote resource conservation, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation features; consider environmental impacts and waste minimization; create a healthy and comfortable environment; reduce operation and maintenance costs; and address issues such as historical preservation, access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life cycle of the building and its components is considered, as well as the economic and environmental impact and performance.
Basically, its an environmentally friendly house!
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