Doug Garrett Announces Publication of His New Book:
"Green Home Building: Money Saving Strategies for an Affordable,
Healthy, High Performance Home"
To buy my new book go to:
www.greenhomebuildingbook.com or go to Amazon and type in the title
For many years I have been dismayed and saddened to find that there
is a gulf between the green building industry and the building science
field. To my eyes, they should have embraced each other a long time
ago, but instead, as so often happens, they each feel they have the
holy grail and so don't need the other. Green building focuses on
how construction impacts our world, our environment and our collective
future. It teaches us to select materials that are healthy, renewable,
or at least have a minimal impact on the planet. Building science
focuses on the physics of how these materials interact with heat, air
and moisture to form a holistic system. Building science teaches us in detail how to build.
Remember, that even sustainably harvested wood studs will rot in less than ten
years if the wall assembly has the vapor barrier in the wrong place.
The goal is to combine these materials correctly for your climate
zone to maximize the comfort, health and performance of the house system.
Both share a common set of goals: to create homes that are healthy, safe,
efficient, durable with low maintenance, and affordable. The last
item has always been a problem for the green building industry. Green
homes have gotten a reputation for being only for those who can afford
expensive, high dollar per square foot homes.
I know that this is often the case, I also know why they end up in that unenviable
spot. They try to build a home just as they always have, and then add
some high cost "green bling" to the same old house so they can call it
That doesn't work. You have to put your money where it pays off best.
The focus is on the efficiency of the envelope, not the glitzy, expensive
equipment, or solar PV panels. By making the envelope as efficient as
possible, we can downsize the heating and cooling equipment and then
use the money saved to pay for the green upgrades to the envelope.
We also teach the reader that often, the difference between a high
efficiency envelope and a run of the mill envelope has more to do with
how the home is built, and not what it is built of. For example, did
you know that according to Oak Ridge National Labs, gaps as small as
1/8 of an inch will reduce the effective R-value of insulation from R-19
to R-9? Did you know that the average American heating/cooling system
is loosing one third of the heated/cooled air it makes between the unit
and the supply register in your rooms?
These are just two examples of how really major improvements in the
performance of a home can be ratcheted way up without spending a ton of
money. You are still achieving the same level of insulation as before,
but now you have selected a product that really delivers that level of
performance stated on the label. Not sure which insulation works best?
Read the book. Not sure how to tell if the ducts in your new home leak
badly? Read the book and you will know that a simple and inexpensive
test is available to answer that question with certainty. Specify that
your builder will perform and pass that test, and you can sleep peacefully
knowing that your rooms are getting all of the heated/cooled air you are
In conclusion, we have learned how to build homes that will perform so much
better than they did just ten or fifteen years ago. Green homes must
be cost effective for the family living in them or they are nothing
more than expensive demonstration projects. Green homes must have both
a positive Return On Investment (ROI) and honor our duty to be good
stewards of the earth. We know how to do this. It's the right thing to do.