We have constructed numerous sustainable and energy efficient homes and remodels throughout Northern New Mexico and Southern Colorado [he writes]. These include homes which produce 100% of their energy needs with onsite renewable energy and passive solar design. Homes built with natural, non-toxic and low embodied energy building products such as straw bale and earth, and which recycle their waste water. . . . This is not only our expertise and successful business model, but also our moral and ethical commitment to our environment.
Excavation to enlarge the house across the street, Mr. Giorgetti allows, “has been more energy intensive than is common” because of the need to jackhammer into “unforeseen bedrock,” but he defends the overall integrity of the endeavor:
This project, in fact, will achieve some very important green building improvements, including a super insulated building envelope with energy efficient windows and doors, passive solar gain (on a North Facing Slope, not easy to achieve) and the re-use/recycling of a 60 year old adobe structure (which was previously an energy sieve in terms of efficiency).
The result will not be a second home, he writes, but rather the owners’ principal residence. I have corrected my previous post to reflect that.
Energy-saving amenities are always a good thing. But I still think it is quite a stretch to call an enterprise “green” or “sustainable” when it involves hillside excavation and the expenditure of so much energy to convert what had served as a reasonably sized family home into a much larger, more luxurious residence. My gripe is not with Palo Santo itself but with the pennywise, pound-foolish nature of so much of the green building trade.