Sustainable design vs sustainable building practices

Cover, Sustainable House by Michael MobbsIt’s interesting to read the updated edition of Sustainable House (pub. 2010) to see things Michael Mobbs would do differently today, some because of different options available, but also because of what he’s learned.

In the first chapter of the new edition (I don’t have a copy of the old edition, so I can’t compare), he says if he were doing it again he would use modular, factory made kitchen, bathroom and other pre-built products as much as possible, to avoid the miriad trips to and from the sites by “trades and deliveries to name just a few”.

Perhaps the largest gap in design and construction is the failure to achieve efficient use of energy, water and materials in the constructions of buildings of all types. Huge amounts of energy and resources are wasted during construction by travelling workers and delivery trips which easily exceed a thousand kilometres of travel a week for one modest construction site and this and the wastage from avoidable cutting to size and fabrication practices far outweighs savings to be made from the sustainable design of the house. (Michael Mobbs, Sustainable House, 2010, p. 15)

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