Agitating for Change
No Pictures, sorry, nothing happening at the property.
So this is a time to tell you about some of the other things we are working on as part of this project. The Living Building Challenge organization is fully aware that in most parts of the US, the regulations specifically prevent developers doing what has to be done to create totally sustainable buildings. As in all areas of life, the law is constantly playing catch-up with society. Notice the gay marriage laws appearing in countries around the world, or other issues of inequality between those with the power and those without, such as votes for women, equal opportunity for racial minorities. An example in the building industry; plumbing regulations in New York were developed before safe technology existed to process dirty water into potable water. Naturally, to ensure public safety, the treatment of water was left to the sea, the sun, and the rain. As we have hitherto been so far off the mark with making our buildings environmentally sustainable, we can forgive those who rule us for trying to prevent us from using technology they dont yet understand. Thats why part of the work of the Living Building Challenge is to lobby for change. By putting in applications for systems that are genuinely sustainable, we are starting to educate those in authority.
Another example relevant to us is the materials used in components and products. By notifying manufacturers that we will not be purchasing their product because it contains chemicals that damage the environment, either in production or use, we are helping to move things along.
Another area in which we are agitating for change is much more self serving. New York State already has provision for a huge property tax rebate for sustainable building projects started since January 2013. Unfortunately for us it has not yet been adopted by New York City, who are the ones who actually administer and collect the tax. In our case, given the high standard we are achieving, we would get a 100% rebate for six years!! That is a lot of money. So we are busy talking to our councilor.
Wish us luck.
I count one small recent success. Having been thwarted in my desire to process both our grey and our black water, i have at least just got the agreement from our mechanical engineer to include a heat exchanger on the waste pipe, so, when I have a shower, I know that the hot water going down the plughole will preheat the water ready for the next shower, I am urgent to see it in action.
Until next time, take care and breathe free.