The article “This Detroit House is being turned into a living model of cost-saving sustainable design”, Peters (2016) illustrated how three architecture graduates, through their project ‘“Motown Movement”’, aim to share the techniques of constructing a “sustainable” house. Basing in Detroit, the students carried on with their project by constructing a house as a training facility to educate the locals of Detroit on the various sustainable living methods and modifications they can adopt to their houses to leverage on the various energy conservation and renewal methods. The project took on a “do-it-yourself” approach and materials used are available at various local supply stores. They aim for the project to be applicable across different global climates and to increase awareness of this movement. I feel that the efforts of the students are encouraging, however, I feel that the writer should note that not all communities around the world are as receptive and active to such movements as are the people of Detroit due to the inherent high costs and inconvenience which such sustainability methods possess.
The author stated a few techniques of sustainable living methods such as usage of solar energy, conversion of waste matter into “bio-gas” and usage of “waste heat” from nearby factories. However, one factor for the unwillingness to convert to sustainable living is the inefficiency of the energy conversion process. For example, the energy output of solar panels, which converts the sun’s solar energy into electrical energy, is not as efficient as the energy produced by conventional electricity power plants. This leads to higher costs compared to the ordinary non-eco-friendly option as more of such energy producing units (solar panel farms in this case) need to be built just to produce an equivalent amount of energy from non-eco-friendly energy sources which can do it in much smaller quantities and at much cheaper costs. In other words, it costs more to be ‘sustainable’.
Another downside to sustainable living is its inherent inconvenience. The author states that the materials for sustainable living are available in local household appliance stores. This was only referring to Detroit. However, people from other parts of the world choose non-eco-friendly products due to their convenience and wide availability. These products are fuss free, ready to use home appliances. Even manufacturers prefer to produce such ‘non-eco-friendly’ products as the materials used in the production are widely available to compared to sustainable products, which in most cases, the materials are specialized items which are hard to source for.
In conclusion, the author has elaborated about the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle for the environment and the positive support for it from the people of Detroit. However, I feel that despite the success of the movement in Detroit, for the architecture students to further promote their movement globally, much more effort and time would be required. The reason for this is due to the inherent inefficiency of sustainable energy producing units in transforming raw energy from sources such as the sun or wind into useful forms of energy. The inconvenience of using sustainable products and producing them is also a huge barrier for people to convert to sustainable living.
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Peters, A. (2016, July 7). This Detroit House Is Being Turned Into A Living Model Of Cost-Saving Sustainable Design. Retrieved, from https://www.fastcoexist.com/3061563/world-changing-ideas/this-detroit-house-is-being-turned-into-a-living-model-of-cost-saving-s
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