This page relates to the reason for much of what is proposed at greenhomebuilding.com: to maintain a healthy environment for all of us inhabitants of planet earth. It doesn't take much observation to notice that our environment has been taking a tremendous hit over the last couple of centuries. Whole ecosystems have disappeared, along with the species that comprised them. We have been fouling our nest with our greed and disregard for the consequences of our actions. Many scientists believe that we have gone beyond the possibility of remediation, while others feel that if we change our ways of living, there is still a chance of reversing the trend toward degradation. I am optimistic that we can consciously evolve a healthy and sustainable future for our planet and ourselves.
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The books shown below are arranged according to when they were published, with the most recent ones at the top. If you click on one of the images you will be taken to a page at Amazon.com where you can find out more about the book. If you end up buying one of them, greenhomebuilding.com will receive a small commission that will help cover the cost of maintaining this website. Thanks for your patronage.
Sim Van der Ryn is a recognized pioneer and expert in sustainable architecture and planning practices. Through his varied experience as principal of several design firms, Professor of Architecture at the University of California Berkeley and California State Architect, he has provided countless examples of state-of-the art ecological design and has been a catalyst toward the current ground swell of interest and support for these practices. As President and Chief Designer at Van der Ryn Architects in Sausalito, he is currently designing a new generation of environmentally friendly buildings. The American Institute of Architecture designated his Real Goods Solar Living Center in Hopland, California as one of the nation's top 10 projects for Earth Day 1999. His current design for the West End Golden Gate Park Pavilion Community Center is the pilot project for the City of San Francisco's Green Building Program. Van der Ryn is author of several seminal books in the fast growing field of "green architecture" including Sustainable Communities (Sierra Club, 1986), Ecological Design (with Stuart Cowan, Island Press, 1996) and Geometry of Hope (manuscript, 2002).
Q: What is improved environmental quality and why is the environment so important for building houses?
A: (Kelly) The environment is important because this refers to the air that we breathe, the water we drink, and the eco-systems that all living organisms must live in, including us people. If the environment is not safeguarded (and improved from its current status) then we are all in big trouble as a species. The choices that we make regarding our housing can affect the quality of our environment.
Q: I would like to know how green building and environmental planning are related to each other, I mean how they can be effectively used to help save the environment, and if its not much of a hassle is it possible to supply me with a few examples.
A: (Kelly) Sustainable architecture has got to be part any any environmental planning because the built environment has such a huge impact on the natural environment. It is only through careful design and materials use can we expect to reverse trends of environmental degradation. A lot of this has to do with how we obtain and use energy, and since it is possible to create a net zero energy home, this should be our goal.