Proponents of green and sustainable building techniques took part at the recent Bioneers festival at the University of Colorado in Boulder to talk about ways to reduce carbon footprints in the construction industry.
KGNU’s Nicole Cheng spoke with Frank Wetenkamp, a co-owner of Living Craft design, and Scott Rodwin, with Sky Castle Construction and rodwin architecture about how the green home industry could help in reducing our environmental problems.
Frank Wetenkamp says embodied carbon as a reason why green home design is important.
“Embodied carbon is the idea of tracking the energy that it takes to extract, process, transport and then to insert into the building a material; and so when we build things, we try to take that into account because the amount of energy it takes to produce all that contributes upfront loads of energy that contribute to climate change right now.”
Wetenkamp says that the embodied carbon of a house could be as much as 10,038 kg. However, if there is consideration of carbon intake in the building, the embodied carbon could be as little as 335 kg. But Rodwin explains that green home design is comprised of several elements, not just embodied carbon.
“A green home generally comprises three elements, energy, environmental quality, and resource conservation. For energy, we are looking to get as close to net zero energy as we can. For environmental quality, we are looking to create a non-toxic home, both inside the house with indoor air quality. And also, to make sure we are not polluting the larger environment in the creation of the house. And lastly, with resource conservation, we are looking to make sure that we aren’t cutting down the forest to build the house.”
And Frank adds that the green home is specific to where you live. “A green home is very local specific, knowing your local climate determines what makes your home green.”
However, the green home design still has risks. To reduce the risks, Wetenkamp recommends that “we use existing machinery and mechanisms, as well as existing knowledge in the workforce to use more natural building materials, then that allows us to push the edge of what is available.”