(This is Part 2 of a two-part series. See Part 1.) In conversations about home building these days, I often hear the terms "sustainable approach" and "sustainability." What exactly do they mean? When I asked a number of architects, builders, engineers, environmentalists and ecologists, I got some interesting answers. A sustainable approach is another name for green building, my informants said. The aesthetics are as varied as those for conventional construction, but the environmental impact of a house in both the near and far term is equally important and this has produced a criteria for selecting materials that is much more extensive. Energy efficiency is also a central concern. A material can be selected for many reasons besides price and durability. For example, a locally prod...
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