As a DFW home builder with years in the field, we can tell you with certainty that green home building has been gaining popularity in the last few years. Energy-efficiency is not just about how much fuel our cars use or how much electricity we use at home. Those things are important; however, they don’t take into account all of the activities that effect energy usage in the world. We also have to take into account how much energy is utilized to grow, manufacture and transport the types of materials and merchandise we buy.
For instance, how ‘energy-efficient’ is bamboo flooring if it’s grown in China under farming conditions that use chemicals in the fertilizer? How energy-efficient is it if it’s manufactured in a coal-burning plant and shipped thousands of miles over the ocean on a diesel cargo ship?
It sounds like bamboo flooring is an excellent ‘green’ product when we listen to advertising that tells us it’s created with an easily renewable resource. Bamboo grows to maturity inside of a few years, so it can be easily produced in a sustainable manner. However, depending on the production and transportation methods used to manufacture it, it might not get a passing grade for being eco-friendly or energy-efficient.
If we’re really interested in ‘saving energy’, we have to become aware of the energy that is used during the entire process of creating ‘green’ products. When we find that the farming, manufacturing and distribution processes are wasting energy, we could put pressure on manufacturers and distributors to supply goods that use energy-saving practices throughout the entire production chain.
As consumers, we can begin looking for products created by manufacturers who use solar electricity (rather than coal or nuclear fuel). We can propose ways that cargo ships could be more energy efficient. We can support local farmers and manufacturers who use energy-efficient methods. We can purchase their goods, rather than products that are transported on ships that burn huge amounts of diesel fuel. We can gradually change our day-to-day lifestyle to incorporate more “green” practices. Perhaps one day we may even consider green home building as the standard!
There’s a lot we can do as consumers. The first step is: “become aware”. The second step is to spread the word. Sadly, many people (including highly educated people) do not know enough about energy-efficiency. While they may truly possess a keen interest in preserving the environment, they are not aware that a good majority of the products they’re buying are not ‘energy-saving’ in any way. As soon as they know the facts, they’ll be able to make energy-efficient choices.
Ask your local DFW home builder, Bud Bartley Family of Builders, for more energy-efficiency recommendations and information.
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