The Lean and Green Blog: Lesson 1 – Waste Not, Be Green

Becoming a sustainable, green builder needs to follow a structured process that allows a builder to shape green features to fit with their particular building style.  Controlling cost is not reserved for affordable builders alone, but applies to all builders.  Yet, the methods used to control cost are very different depending on the type, style, size and location of the home.  I think of my own experience on sports teams in high school.  While our goal was always the same, a desire to win, the methods and means used to accomplish this changed year to year based on the talent, skills and abilities of my fellow teammates.

Lesson 1 of green building is to identify and begin the process of eliminating waste.  This can be a broad, across the board call to action or you can start small, focusing on what ends up the dumpster. Either approach will eventually lead to the same goal: lower costs and more efficient processes and systems. So, where do we find the waste?

My favorite place to start, as mentioned above, is in the dumpster.  Every builder in this country has the same response to what is found in the dumpster: It is just this one house, one time, one trade…Sorry; I’m not buying it any more.  After visiting more jobsites than I can count and looking into 1000’s of dumpsters, the pictures don’t lie.  Sure, you might only have wasted duct work on 1 in 10 homes, but you also have wasted insulation, lumber, brick, concrete, pipe, siding, shingles and metal at the same rate and every increasing cost. It is an epidemic and you have the vaccine.

Dig into the dumpsters, find the waste, work with your employees and trades to develop solutions, eliminate the waste, and reduce unnecessary cost.  If this is the only thing you do, from a green standpoint, you have done a lot in working towards our common goal of healthy, high performance homes.


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