Open Letter to Fine Homebuilding Magazine

I recently received the latest issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine.  It spent a lot of ink on the topic of “green” building.  I could not see what “green” really means, other than:

  1. Taking loot from other people (subsidies for expensive technologies like solar)
  2. Forcing others to build “green” by seeking to pass new regulations (or updating the building code)
  3. Being sanctimonious about how much holier-than-thou one is
  4. Demanding that others sacrafice comfort, or even the size of their new home

None of these are legitemate, and yet it’s the greenies who take the moral high ground and the normal people who get on the defensive.  Look at this letter to the editor (from a blind donkey) and the reply from the editor (blind elephant).  The money quotes:

Donkey: Ultimately, I will let my subscription expire because you aren’t green enough.

Elephant: I don’t think any person, group, or company can defend the claim that they are green enough. None of us is. We’ve all got to do better.

Mr. Ireton, this is about Original Sin. The donkey knows it, and expects to hit your guilty spot.  And, by your reply, you accept it.

I may be the only one left on this earth who does not accept unearned guilt and original sin.  I have a right to live for the sake of my own selfish enjoyment.  I have a right to build the biggest house that I can afford and that suits my needs, whether that be acceptable to the green-nazis, or not.

I read your fine magazine precisely because it shows pictures of the “countertop of the month.”  I certainly would cancel my subscription if Fine Homebuilding became even 10% as preachy (or marxist) as the magazines preferred by “Bob.”

Make no mistake.  I do not want to waste a penny. But this is an economic issue, not a religious issue.  I do not want toxic air in my house (e.g. formaldehyde), and I want comfort.  As you have pointed out many times, there is some overlap between good design and construction practices and what is today called “green.”

There is a simple reason for this.

“Green” is a package-deal that is trying to sell the religion of self-sacrafice.  Since this does not appeal to most Americans, greenies have to start with what people do like.  Today, there is a trend away from McMansions and towards better-detailed, more architecturally-designed smaller houses.  This makes sense!  Who would choose to live in a 5000 sq ft white drywall box if he could have a 3200 sq ft well-designed home that was comfortable, had spaces tha make the occupants feel good, maximizes views, and was less expensive to run?

Please don’t make Fine Homebuilding into Mother Jones, Whole Earth Review, or any other kind of marxist screed.  There is a legitmate market for a magazine that focuses on luxury homes and the craft of building them.  Yours is the leading publication in this space.  Don’t change a thing!

Thank you.


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