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www.greenbuildermag.com 08.2012


EDITOR’S NOTE The Inside Scoop


2 The Best Economic Backup Plan: Skills T


HE OTHER DAY, I noticed a shop in my neighborhood that I’d never seen before: “Power tools repaired here. No job too small.” That


same week, my local auto shop gave me a scare. When I called to get the bad news on a transmission repair, the mechanic said, “You’re all set. It’s thirty-two-fifty.” After a brief shock, I realized that he meant $32.50, not $3,250. What a pleasant surprise. Maybe my American-made drive train saved the day. Maybe I just got lucky. In any case, it reminded me why


I prefer repairable technology over high-tech gadgets that you have to fi x under a microscope. Better still are those things you can create and as- semble yourself, without the help of an “expert.” We’ve reached a crossroads in hu-


man evolution. As increasingly ad- vanced, specialized technology takes over, we’re becoming more dependent on far away factories and technicians. Some people like this trend, and for good reasons. They imagine nanobots removing cancerous cells from our brains, and the Library of Congress residing on the head of a pin. On the other side of that coin are


those like myself who think we should have a backup plan, one that includes old-fashioned skills. In down times, an adept craftsperson will always fi nd work. Builders know this well. When no one wants a new home, it’s good to know how to replace a roof. The ability to do things for our-


selves, to repair our own machines and install our own toilets and build our own countertops and repair our


Step-by-step instructions begin on page 8.


own roofing—will make us valued members of the community. So this month, we’ve collected a grab


bag of “how-to” information that you may fi nd useful. You’ll notice that some of these articles lean toward homeown- ers and the DIY crowd (a small, but growing, part of our readership), but we’ve included tips for pros too, includ- ing research on extending the life of paints, green roof plans and guidelines for repointing old brick. If you’ve documented hands-on projects of your own, please send them our way. We’re planning to try this issue again next year, with useful and sophisticated articles supplied by you, our readers. –MP


By Matt Power, Editor-in-Chief


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