SISU BUILDS GREEN

Being "green" is fashionable these days. "Green building" has become a marketable term often associated with products—products such as super—efficient (and super-expensive) windows, countertops made from recycled milk cartons, or any other product with a logo depicting a friendly, tranquil scene, such as a picture of a happy upper middle-class family giving Mother Nature a gentle group hug.

Sisu approaches green building as part of a green lifestyle, one not based on buying big, shiny things and feeling those things are "green" because they come in packaging made from 30% recycled content, but rather on a genuine commitment to using fewer natural resources and less energy. Building a house—or anything else—that is truly green can be defined thus:

"Building a quality product that will last for generations while using as little energy as possible, both while being built and while being used. Doing so requires knowledge, skill, and commitment."

Building a quality product that will last for generations while using as little energy as possible, both while being built and while being used. Doing so requires knowledge, skill, and commitment.

If you're looking to hire a green builder, ask, "What makes you green?" Ask questions that enable a contractor to display knowledge of green building, or ask about green projects the contractor has done recently. You may not hear very much. You may hear a list of products, the purchase of which will purportedly make someone feel like he or she is being ecologically conscious. If you ask Sisu, you'll hear all you want about residential building science. You'll hear explanations of terms like "passive solar gain," "heat recovery ventilation," and "thermal bridging." You'll hear about recent Sisu projects, such as our super-insulated house (R-values more than twice as high as those of a typical new house built to code), completed January 2014 in Amnicon Township, WI. And you'll hear an offer to not merely be told, but shown what green building is about.

The underside of the flooring in this loft serves as the ceiling of the kitchen. The post holding up the center beam is made from a site-harvested balsam fir tree.

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