I thought the gentleman (unfortunately forgot his name) did a good job today in his presentation on livinghomes. It is surprising how energy efficient these homes can be and even though they haven’t reached their stated goal of Z6 (zero on all 6 goals: emissions, carbon, waste, ignorance, energy and water) they’re still doing pretty good. Obviously this comes at a price and he made it clear that they’re not trying to compete on price but rather they’re trying to build a modern, quality home that is super efficient.
He said his goal was to do something where it is possible to wed profit with social responsibility. Basically do what’s right while making money. He gave examples of professors whereby they make money (unfortunately for them not lots) while providing a social service (educating the next generation). This statement can be construed as being a bit unfair: most companies, whatever line of business they’re in, like to think of themselves as companies that are making a profit while providing a social service (i.e. being socially responsible). The airline industry is helping people get from one place to the other, the defense industry is supplying the men and women of the military with technology to help save their lives, the utilities are supplying electricity that powers schools, hospitals, etc… and the list goes on.
At the end of the presentation I was impressed with what they’re doing with this company but at the same time I was left wondering about the use. To me this project is analogous to someone who goes out there and develops this super-duper energy efficient private jet and markets it to the stars of Hollywood. Yes it’s something good and beneficial but it’s such a small market, a niche market like he called it that I’m still not sure what the purpose is.
Maybe this will inspire other builders to follow suit and start building energy efficient homes. Maybe it will be like an education campaign for the public and they will start asking for more efficiency in their own homes. Who knows, if that’s the case then I can definitely see the merit in this project. My hope is that it doesn’t stay a project for the elite…