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Hawaii Library

I just looked at three street trees that have been topped until they look like high end tutu’s. Today is a sunny day and as the sun moves west the trees offer no shade to the front exposure of the duplex they were intended to cool in summer.  The renter was busy on a ladder putting up bamboo curtains to give their living space some relief when summer arrives and the glass glares.

It was another example to me of the owner not understanding the role of street trees.  There are trees up the hill, with little cards on them from the city telling everyone who passes “We don’t top our trees to keep them healthy and help us breathe.”

Then the “children at play – slow down” signs seem to mean nothing either – each generational set of parents make a valiant attempt.

On the other side of the hill about 30-50 new houses are going in, slowly, but the bulldozers have scraped the woods clean and dug holes.  The signboard says it is energy efficient, but that just translates to a bit more insulation and some “star” appliances (which do not work).

We are looking very east coast, with our rows and rows of Victorian wanna be cheap housing starts.

The LIVING BUILDING Challenge 2.0 inspires us to ask the question.  What if every single act of design and construction made the world a better place?

I too am asking that question as I walk my neighborhood and see concrete siding nailed up against mildewed, wet, and rotting something or other.  Now the windows inside the house are steamed up and dirty all the time and one can see the mold creeping up the roof and out the pores.  The water puddles in the dirt driveway and lakes across the street.

Did the owner get permits?  Did the inspectors ever come?  The wild blackberries create a back hedge and ooze at strangulating the porch and yard.  Do the students who rent the house know they are making themselves sick living there, even as they hoe for a garden in the weeds?

I think folks are afraid of net – zero housing because they do not know what it is and what a resident would be responsible for in maintaining it.  I think it is Fantasized Experience Appearing Real (fear)

And that many folks are not able to respond.

So here is an example of how someone was able to respond: Living Building Certification for a Science Lab – Hawaii Preparatory Academy

Here is a magazine sharing another story: I love this magazine

Living Building Challenge in YES! Magazine.

I want to create a house/townhouse/duplex for the Living Building Project 2.0 and show them what we can do to make the world a better place.

So just do it!

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Thu, May 19 2011 » Discoveries

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