Hi Folks: Friday once again, and time for this week’s ‘Being Green‘ post. I was originally going to call this post ‘Being Green – Tradeoffs’, but decided to change it. Let me explain.
A couple of decades ago I was hired to do environmental work for a gas pipeline construction contract taking place across several Canadian provinces. The pipeline company was ‘looping’ – adding extra lengths of pipe that would eventually be joined to make another line. Basically this involved widening the existing right of way and digging a trench some 15′ deep and wide enough for a 4′ diameter pipe. As the environmental inspector on the job my function varied depending on where I was working. On the prairies the largest consideration was topsoil preservation, whereas in northern Ontario it was timber removal and water crossings. There was a manual that outlined the job in some detail, and there were of course existing provincial and federal laws; part of my work was acting as liaison with local agencies with regard to environmental concerns. The bottom line was that the pipe was going in the ground, and my challenge was to work with the gas company and the contractor to do it in a way that caused the least environmental impact without overly inflating the construction costs. In practical terms, every day was about trade-offs. I’m sure just about everyone reading this has experienced this in their own way.
Earlier this week I listened to a webinar with “Interior Designer and Green Building Insider” Patricia Gaylor, called “Living Eco-logically: Sustainability with Style”. In her talk Ms. Gaylor mentioned doing a kitchen remodel where the clients insisted on having granite countertops. As granite is a mined resource and not renewable, it’s not exactly a ‘green’ option. Ms. Gaylor’s suggestion to her clients was that to offset using granite for the countertops they might agree to using “Energy Star“-rated appliances… a trade-off. Continue Reading →