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Building Sustainably is Personal Growth


What does it really mean to build sustainably? This question comes up a lot. The answer is not black and white. However, what is black and white is that buildings consume 40% of the world’s energy and resources. Buildings rank as the #1 world consumer. This is a fact. This 40% not only includes the energy and resources that goes into a building during construction, but also the energy and resources these consume after these are built.

There are 7 billion people in the world today. By 2025 there will be 8 billion people. That is another 1 billion people in the next 10 years. It’s really kind of unbelievable if you stop and think about it. Resources on the Earth are finite. The math is easy. It’s simply not sustainable.

What can we do about it? It starts with you and me. Most meaningful changes in history have not been made by governments and their policies. It has started with the few that said enough is enough. The few that said I’m not going to look the other way anymore. Modern society and economies are based on consumerism. Again, look at the math.

Moving on, the average person is not moved by statistics. These are to obscure. These are not tangible. So just lift your head up. Look around. And then look inside of yourself. Do you feel the way we live is sustainable? Do you feel the Earth’s forests and minerals are unlimited? Do you believe oil companies have our best interests in mind? Do you trust that corporations care about our health?

Here’s a classic statement. It’s not only us that will deal with these problems we are creating for our generation, but also imagine the problems we will be passing on to our children and their children. Is this not the truth? The attempt here is not to be pessimistic. It’s just the opposite. The point is to be optimistic. Because we can do something about it. We can 🙂

Science or living a fulfilling life starts by asking the right questions. Will you live a more fulfilled life by being honest with yourself? Does real change start with being honest with ourselves? After all, the thing we are most afraid of in life is change. But the only guarantee in life is that things will change. It is the only guarantee. We as humans are resistant to change. We like to live inside our comfort zones.

For you personally, have you ever made any change in your life that has lead to personal growth without being honest with yourself first? You move out of your comfort zone. The truth is nothing to be afraid of. It’s refreshing. It is rewarding when you say that this is the truth, and I want to grow.

We as humans become stagnate when we stop growing. Personal growth is what makes us feel alive, hopeful, ready to face life’s new excitements and challenges. And so where does change really start? It starts inside of us. And not because someone tells us it’s the truth, or they tell us that it’s the right thing to do. You first must feel it. You feel it so much that you are willing to take action. Something feels right because consciously or unconsciously we begin to sense we are contributing beyond ourselves.

The time to act is now. Consider real change is not something that happens “overnight”. Remember historically it starts with a few brave souls who say I will not look the other way anymore.

And so now when we decide to move forward in the way we build our homes, something else happens. The investments we make in our homes makes us healthier. It makes us happier. It makes more financial sense. It conserves the Earth’s resources.

Why is the “green” building market moving into the mainstream. Because it makes financial sense. We spend less on energy bills. People create better investments. In large part, it has to do with the masses own personal finances. This is ok.

But wait. Remember when I said change happens with the few. The masses follow because they see the results we the few have obtained. Because we feel better. Because instead of our homes being toxic environments they are healthy environments. Our homes have higher resale values. They see we feel good about ourselves for making decisions that help the Earth.

Do you see how this works? Everyone doesn’t change all at once. Most people in life follow. It’s not that people are unintelligent. It goes back to change being scary.

I’m here to say that sustainable building is a change that works. It makes sense.

And so, forget about the numbers. In the end, they’re not meaningful. How you feel inside is meaningful. All the other side effects of a healthier home, that is a better investment, and lessening our impact on the Earth are not the means to the end. These are just the end results of growth.

I choose to act now because I WANT to GROW! 🙂

Adam Fries

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