How things have changed!
During our past century, it seemed wise to live far from smelly factories and noisy industrial areas. That’s no longer true. Most smelly factories and industrial areas have been cleaned up. So why are we still settling for two-hour commutes to work?
What do we gain with that commute besides shorter tempers, meaner dispositions, lost time with loved ones, lost leisure and rest, and more chances for an accident while we phone, text, twitter and tweet during that drive?
Can you imagine life without freeways packed with going-to-work and going-home commuters? Wouldn’t it be grand?
Reality suggests that having a greener planet may mean integrating commerce with housing. Having it all in one location obviously cuts fuel and energy consumption and reduces the need for more roads and multi-lane freeways.
Why can’t a doctor’s office and/or supermarket be inside a subdivision or at a point close to two or three subdivisions? We try to build our schools and churches in among our homes. Is a school or a church any nicer neighbor than a grocery store, warehouse or sewing factory?
When we talk about green, we have to talk about sustainability. The instant we use wood to build a structure, we sign that structure’s death sentence. Very few wood structures last more than a hundred years. In fact, most last considerably less. Is it green to build, destroy, tear down and build again, or would it be better to build once and use that structure for several lifetimes?
Building a wood house instantly requires a fire department in the vicinity and emergency responders for hurricanes and tornadoes. Then we also need lumber yards and repair shops to maintain that house, and, even so, it probably will not last a hundred years.
Often when we consider what is green, we fail to consider the ancillaries, such as a fire department and emergency responders. These are expensive accessories that are absolutely necessary with wood houses.
We are seeing an impetus toward installing residential fire sprinkler systems in all homes. If we go to sprinkling all homes, we will impose a huge financial load on home construction. We will also impose a large water load on our water systems and on our water delivery systems because they necessitate water pressures that can handle the sprinkler systems.
Wouldn’t it be greener, easier, more economic to build homes that are fire-safe?
Here at Monolithic
We have a 24-acre property. About four acres of it belongs to four of our vice presidents for their homes. My home is on it. We also have 28 residential rental units, a 14,000-square-foot manufacturing facility, 8 maintenance shops, rental machine shops, several storages and 2 office complexes.
I love my commute. It is a pleasant, unhurried, 200-foot walk from the front door of my home to the front door of my office.
We have a single, main-entry road onto the property. During the day, it’s mostly used for commerce and at night by residents.
We do have a very, very noisy freeway alongside the property. But by living in Monolithic Domes, noise is not a problem. We have a bit of a fire hazard from grass fires but not from the structures.
We are about a half-mile away from service stations, a Dollar Store, schools and the little town of Italy, Texas (2000 people). If we have to go to DFW airport, it’s a one-hour drive each way. But most of our world is right here, within a few short miles of just about everything.
I know that we cannot make the world idyllic, but we can work towards it. We will have to change some of the zoning laws and social mores, but we can make this a much greener world.