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: 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

paying for.

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.

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