On The Right Track

Stepping back to consider where I am today, and why I am here, absolutely confident and excited to grow our company evoDOMUS, I can offer the following background:

Back Then

As a young American architect in Europe, I remember many frustrating visits to the States. I specifically am reminded of being saddened at the sight of a number of large retailers from my childhood on a familiar road in Warren, OH, that had recently gone out of business and whose empty buildings and vast parking lots were left behind as lonely reminders of more prosperous times.

The attitude that prevailed then was that land is cheap and plentiful, so just leave the old and develop the land across the road, creating even more enormous big box stores with many more acres of paved parking lots. To witness the razing of beautiful homes and forests to accommodate future shopping plazas, parking lots and endless fast food restaurants was depressing. Though the financial justifications were probably warranted for each individual company and developer, it was hugely damaging for the community, creating an increasing number of visual eyesores, as well as an environmental burden. The word sustainable was in no one’s mouth at that time, unless it preceded ‘growth’ in a business plan.

The idea of conservation, in terms of land, resources and energy that I had become accustomed to in Germany seemed to be as foreign to my fellow Americans as Kaisersülze. Of course this was due, in part, to the fact that the European countries I had visited were much more densely populated than America on the whole. The effect on the general population was that everyone recycled, built responsibly and worked to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. The government made it easy to do so by, for example, requiring apartment buildings to provide recycling containers for no less than 5 different types of refuse, and by creating very stringent building codes. Land use was strictly zoned to protect the countryside to benefit of the local retailers and inhabitants.

Fast forward to Now

Recycle Reuse Reduce. A quick Web search of those three words today turns up over of 35 pages of links. Actually, that number might be much higher, but I grew tired of clicking next… Ditto for Green, Sustainable and Eco. I don’t know exactly when it happened, but believe me, I am thrilled and relieved to see that America has jumped on board.

When I returned to the States in 2009, with my husband and young son, I was apprehensive. I didn’t know how we would find a community that would have similar ideals and expectations to ours. Moreover, how in the world would I adapt professionally, after a 17 year absence, to a country where the construction industry was so resistant to change? Imagine my relief when I began online research into companies and products and found interest in passive solar design, environmentally safe products and sustainable building methods. Yes, the movement had arrived!

So, thank you Building Science Information, Sustainably Built, Fine Homebuilding and the numerous other incredible websites committed to sharing knowledge, ideas and to offering professional support. In the dedication to writing environmentally valuable and timely articles, and the corresponding comments of readers, whether contractors, homeowners, architects or manufacturers, it is apparent that America is on the right track. In fact, most of the people who contact us to discuss our homes are as interested in our sustainable benefits as they are in creating a modern home.

Through evoDOMUS, I am proud to be a member of this community and I look forward to contributing in every way possible. The road ahead for us all is long, but interest is growing. It can be difficult to prod a land of 300 million into action, but when they start moving, look out!