The Homebuyer's Manifesto
You've seen this before, right? It's a computer. Maybe you used one like it once. Maybe you've only walked past it in the Museum of American History. Back in 1980, it was ultra hot. The TRS-80. Tricked out with the expanded 16K RAM and a 5 MB hard drive. It was so easy to make changes to your documents--and see it all right there on the screen in black and white!
It looks so quaint now; the technology is more than 20 years old. Maybe you feel a spasm of pity for your former self (or your ancestors)--all those people who wasted hours, days, weeks of their lives waiting, just waiting for these machines to do only a modest portion of what they do today in a fraction of a second.
Flip the page to the modern homebuilding industry, where 20-year-old technology is the order of the day.
There are some sound reasons, and other not-so-sound reasons. We need a homebuilding industry with a healthy skepticism about new technology; it acts as a barrier to protect us from disastrous consequences. Remember polybutylene piping? Hailed as a highly affordable alternative to metal pipes, it soon became synonymous with hyped failure, as cracked pipes revealed the material's limits--at the expense of homeowners from coast to coast.
Of course technology adoption has to move cautiously. We're not building computers here.
And yet. Proven but little-used technologies exist today that can make homes:
More than 150 such technologies and practices--including many green building technologies--are profiled right here on PATHnet. Many of them have been around for quite a long while. Still, most builders aren't using them.
We live in a world very different from the one we inhabited 20 years ago. Shouldn't we expect our housing to reflect our changed circumstances and meet our collective needs?
Content updated on 11/21/2007