This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
FROM THE TAILGATE
Sage advice from the trenches
By Ron Jones
Confronting Convention
A favorite story of mine comes from an interview with Thomas Edison who, late in his life, reportedly confided that if he “had known anything about metallurgy” he would never have invented the incandescent light bulb, because he “would have known it is impossible”.


The human imagination may be among the most powerful forces in the universe, but without the courage to exercise it, to challenge “conventional wisdom” and to embrace the endless possibilities, we are doomed to go along with outdated ideas and obsolete concepts that not only perpetuate our ignorance, but actually promote collective laziness and conservatism, leaving us increasingly unwilling to accept change, even when it is clearly in our own best interest.


The path of least resistance is found by going along with accepted thinking. because we don’t want to risk the embarrassment of being wrong, or simply because we assume that others already agree with whatever is being said. Sadly, that is a path to nowhere.


Worse yet, we fool ourselves into believing we are part of the “solution” by participating in established institutions who on the surface appear to be seeking progress but who, in fact, use us to advance predetermined agendas. Their process has been perfectly described as “transactional, not deliberative” and they are masters at herding the rest of us in directions of their choosing.


Fortunately, there is also another type of person who has the intellectual capacity and the courage to challenge the status quo, to confront conventional pluralistic ignorance and push the boundaries of the existing comfort zone.


Begun in 2002, and presented biennially in 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has challenged collegiate teams from a variety of countries to “design, build and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient and attractive”.


The 2011 Solar Decathlon provided more than 350,000 house visits over a ten day period, and information to millions more across the globe through a wide variety of media. Additionally, more than 30 on site public work-shops were held, as well as a day of workshops dedicated to builders and industry. Conducted on the National Mall in Washington, the event featured 19 teams from as nearby as Maryland and from as far away as New Zealand.


As you have seen in this issue of GREEN BUILDER®, the innovative solutions were as diverse and imaginative as you might expect, but they shared some commonalities too—especially a fearless pursuit of knowledge and solutions for a better future. GB


01.2012 www.greenbuildermag.com 64

Page 1  |  Page 2  |  Page 3  |  Page 4  |  Page 5  |  Page 6  |  Page 7  |  Page 8  |  Page 9  |  Page 10  |  Page 11  |  Page 12  |  Page 13  |  Page 14  |  Page 15  |  Page 16  |  Page 17  |  Page 18  |  Page 19  |  Page 20  |  Page 21  |  Page 22  |  Page 23  |  Page 24  |  Page 25  |  Page 26  |  Page 27  |  Page 28  |  Page 29  |  Page 30  |  Page 31  |  Page 32  |  Page 33  |  Page 34  |  Page 35  |  Page 36  |  Page 37  |  Page 38  |  Page 39  |  Page 40  |  Page 41  |  Page 42  |  Page 43  |  Page 44  |  Page 45  |  Page 46  |  Page 47  |  Page 48  |  Page 49  |  Page 50  |  Page 51  |  Page 52  |  Page 53  |  Page 54  |  Page 55  |  Page 56  |  Page 57  |  Page 58  |  Page 59  |  Page 60  |  Page 61  |  Page 62  |  Page 63  |  Page 64  |  Page 65  |  Page 66  |  Page 67  |  Page 68  |  Page 69  |  Page 70  |  Page 71  |  Page 72  |  Page 73  |  Page 74  |  Page 75  |  Page 76