Re: 50+ and affordable
From: Lisa Poley (
Date: Sun, 1 Jul 2007 08:06:56 -0700 (PDT)

I am not sure how you arrive at your conclusion that price serves as a proxy
for negative environmental impact. Although in some cases this may be true -
more commonly higher prices are seen with new technologies and innovations
that have not yet been able to take advantage of the cost savings that come
from scaled up production. The higher 'resource' costs usually reflects
higher priced labor inputs and initial R&D and capital outlays rather than
greater quantities of natural or material resources used. Green/sustainable
technologies and goods are currently struggling to carve out a niche in the
market and they are rarely yet working at large economies of scale - so they
can't spread their labor and capital costs out across as many units of

The cheapest of goods are generally mass produced. They are frequently cheap
because they take advantage of lax labor and environmental standards of
production - particularly when produced in developing countries. Slave-wage
labor and production plants that invest little in managing wastes translates
into 'inexpensive' goods but terrible consequences for human justice and the
environment.  These goods' low market price also reflects the relatively
cheap current cost of global commercial transportation. Purchase of cheap
goods imported from far away has significantly negative environmental
impacts that are not well accounted for in the final price of the good
because we don't currently internalize costs of the environment of CO2
emissions from transportation into the price of the goods we purchase.  This
is another reason to support green and sustainable businesses closer to home
-even if their products do cost more:  You not only decrease negative
environmental impacts of long distance transportation but you contribute to
increasing the viability of 'local' green and sustainable businesses as
global transportation costs increase to reflect the true environmental
impacts and we are forced to rely on more local forms of production.

"Cheap" certainly does not equal 'green' so please, please, please  be
careful about operating under that assumption in making your building and
finishing decisions....


Lisa Poley
Shadowlake Village
Blacksburg, VA


-----Original Message-----
From: Brian Bartholomew [mailto:bb [at]] 
Sent: Sunday, July 01, 2007 2:12 AM
To: Cohousing-L
Subject: Re: [C-L]_ 50+ and affordable

Marganne <marganne [at]> writes:

> I waver on the importance of environmentally friendliness. I *do*
> want to walk gently on this earth and encourage others to do the
> same. But I've seen projects where 'going green' substantially
> boosted building expenses beyond what I can afford.

Price in money, even with all its problems, is the best measure we
have for environmental impact.  Those newfangled green materials cost
more resources to make.  Spending $100K in green tech to save $40K in
utility bill is not a net improvement.  Not for your pocketbook, not
for the environment.  Walking gently means walking *cheap*.

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