Joseph Lstiburek: Good houses, not social statements

This is another installment in my series of miniprofiles of sustainability-minded people. Joe Lstiburek (pronounced "stee-brick") is a nationally recognized authority on building science in general, and especially on moisture-related building problems and indoor air quality. To recap, the profiles are "mini" not only because they're short, but because all the questions are 10 words or less, and the answers are requested to match.

Principal, Building Science Corp., Westford and other locations

Green epiphany: “I don’t think I ever had one.”

Green hero: “I don’t have one; I think green is mostly overdone. But I do have an architectural hero, Edward Mazria.

A sustainability practice you’ve taken on: “”I’ve done my house. We took an 1880s house and made it ultra-energy-efficient.”

An example of greenwashing that really bothers you:LEED," the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program operated by the U.S. Green Building Council, which has become the de facto green-building standard in this country.

Technology or design? “Design.”

New or used? “Used.”

The most important thing an individual can do? “Not be a hypocrite.”

A technology you’re particularly hopeful about: “Advanced framing. It costs less and it doubles the performance of a typical framed building.”

A drawback of being ahead of the curve: “No friends.”

The one thing you wish everyone would just get right? “Turning things off when they don’t need to be on.”

What’s a question I should have asked you? “Why green is stupid.”

And your answer? “It’s marketing. This should be about good houses, and good buildings, not about social statements and social engineering.”

Are we going to make it? "Yes. Things become intolerably bad before they improve. They’re not intolerably bad enough yet. What’s that thing Winston Churchill said? ‘The United States invariably does the right thing, after having exhausted every other alternative.'”

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