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Dec 31, 2012 BY mark

Balancing Local Versus Green Building Products on Orcas Island and the San Juans

Green Building is a popular buzz word amongst the building community today. As people strive towards efficiencies in their home, there is no doubt of the many benefits that are evolving as we bring “Green” products to the forefront of our consumption.

As a builder I am constantly faced with managing Green products for the benefit of my clients and for the environment. Oddly this is not an easy decision. For example if a client wants a wood floor and there is a choice of a “Green” Product that comes from Germany and I am able to get a very similar product made locally from trees that are logged from a managed forest, utilizing local trades and manufacturing I think it would be much more “Green” to go with the local route when considering the extensive carbon footprint of transporting the German product.

Considering the additional carbon used in their sourcing, the inefficiencies of a large corporation, international trade, etc. I don’t think there is much question as to which product is actually more green, yet with the certification of products we are faced with a choice of choosing a product that is marketed as Green or the product that really is “Green”.

As Green Building evolves and we have more resources for planning projects this will be less and less of an issue. But now with many segments of the residential home building and even more so in commercial, having limited choices for products we have to be very selective in how we build. A “Green” choice in building products can often be more symbolic of cost than it’s impact on the environment.

I don’t think anybody would argue that there are many benefits to building a home with Green materials. Especially here in the San Juan Islands, we are so close to the magnificence of nature that is so removed from homes in urban areas, this perspective allows us to see the importance, very clearly of choosing to go “Green”.

Here on the San Juan Island we are fortunate to have many resources for wood, wood products and specialty products for the building trade, from large timbers to a beautiful fir floor or perhaps custom blacksmithing for your kitchen or door hardware, there are many amazing tradesmen capable of amazing work.

If you have more question about building Green or would like to discuss how your current projects could be completed using local Green materials please call or email us.

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