Green perception vs. green reality. Where are we, really?

by WOHe

I am on the road between Chicago and Central Illinois on a regular basis, en route to or returning from visits with in-laws. It’s your standard cruise through Midwest corn fields. During the past year or two, my wife and I have noticed several new wind farms that have sprouted very quickly. From our view on the highway, massive turbines spring up in numbers so large they literally go on for as far as we can see.

On our most recent trip, we passed a truck carrying a blade for one of these enormous turbines on its way to the wind farm just a few miles down the highway. Take a look at the pictures below, which we took from our car. The pictures in no way do justice to the enormity of both the blades and the turbine fields.

The incredibly quick emergence of these massive wind farms within a relatively small stretch of land in Illinois makes me think about a few things. First, there’s big money in wind. Secondly, if this activity mirrors wind farm growth in similar sections of land throughout the United States, then I wish I owned a turbine manufacturing business. Thirdly, these highly visible symbols of sustainable energy can create a public perception that the green movement is far more advanced than it truly is.

Is that good or bad? Good, I believe. The more people think they’re missing the green building boat, the more they’ll feel pressure to do the right thing by designing and building an efficient home in a responsible manner.

However, there are far fewer homes being certified as green than not. When I meet with designers and builders – professionals on all levels of the custom home market – I ask each of them, every time, if they’re getting much interest in green. The majority of them tell me “no.†These professionals tell me homeowners still are not willing to put their money where the public perception of green is.

Green design and construction has come far, but there’s a longer way to go.

Share your thoughts by sending me an e-mail. Or, scroll up to the first paragraph of this blog entry, look to the right and click where you see, “Leave a comment†or “Post or view comments.â€

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