In our most recent class, Steve Glenn gave a talk about his company LivingHomes and answered questions from the class. During one point of his talk, Mr. Glenn was commenting on some things that point to an encouraging future for homes with smaller “ecological footprints” (i.e. use less energy to build and operate, less pollutant to the environment, etc.). The three points he made are (very roughly) as follows, in order:
(1) Some people who buy homes want certain features associated with smaller ecological footprints. This creates a market for more sustainable homes.
(2) The government punishes or rewards certain types of behavior by real estate developers and builders relating to the ecological footprint of their buildings. This encourages and grows the market for more sustainable homes.
(3) The companies who build homes and manufacture home parts are realizing that there is a good financial case to be made to lower the ecological footprint of their buildings; if done correct it saves resources and increases profit. This creates a successful market for sustainable homes.
While this was being said, the obvious though struck me that these three components are a critical part of any meaningful, lasting change to improve our society’s production and use of energy resources. The general public, the government, and private business all have a stake in improving how we use energy and reducing how much we use. All three components must perform their task well if we are to be successful.