Is it a sustainable idea or just a green fad to construct a dwelling made from materials found around your neighborhood?
The Architecture Foundation of British Columbia is promoting the 100 Mile House idea as an innovative idea to recognize sustainable design. The project stems from the 100 Mile Diet, where participants can only use ingredients or eat in a restaurant within 100 miles of where they live. The 100 Mile House project invites people to construct a house using local and recycled materials found within their neighborhood precinct.
First of all, it can be pricey. While Locavores try buy fruit and vegetables when they are in season (hence abundant and less expensive) to cut costs, for “locatats” there are no cycles of plenitude for lumber.
Quirk also quotes from James E. McWilliams, a critic of the local food movement. McWilliams points out there is more to energy consumption than just transportation. In addition, buying local can have a negative affect on farmers in other parts of the developing world. Quirk adds that:
This, I feel, is the greatest argument against a 100-mile diet or house. Not only does it deny opportunities of growth to “green” providers in other parts of the world, it denies the reality that emergent technologies & innovations exist beyond your 100-mile bubble. If you ignore them, how will you ever know what sustainable innovations you left behind?
Perhaps the 100 Mile House experiment isn’t going to be a practical, long-lasting solution to being socially responsible. However, the project does allow us to consider finding eco-friendly materials when it comes to construction and design.