Making Things Last
What makes one hands-on project more sustainable than another? For example, why did we select repointing an old brick foundation or chimney as a "green" activity? To answer that, we have to start with the end goal of all green building: to cause the construction, maintenance and occupancy of a shelter to require fewer resources and do less environmental harm.
We say "fewer" and "less" because unless a home is a net energy producer (and few are), chances are it's always going to do some harm - it will continue to require the extraction of hard-to-get fuel resources.
Back to the brick. By repointing an old foundation, we might make the home last another 100 years. Assuming that the house is also upgraded to be more energy efficient, we can keep even more CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere. That's why, in the nine examples available to download below, we've focused on durability, use of off-the-shelf materials and hands-on experimentation.
To view these articles as they appear in our August 2012 issue, please visit our Magazine Archive.