Yet wood has come to serve us very well as a building material; along with its flaws, it also has a wide range of great properties that encouraged us to work to overcome all the flaws. We’ve now normalized it and built an entire successful industry around a highly flawed material. And though building codes and the lumber industry
Most issues can be addressed with proper consideration. can provide plenty of data to justify the use of wood for its good points and minimize its flaws, this “proof” of the validity of wood as a building material came long after it had been widely adopted. As with so much of what is “normal” to us today, adoption was based on need, convenience, and field testing, not rational analysis.
When we now attempt to introduce a new material that has even a small number of the very same flaws inherent in wood, we find ourselves up against naysayers who allow the existence of flaws to blind them to the strengths of the new material and the possibilities for being able to overcome any flaws.
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Micro vs macro views
Once we recognize that there are no options without some inherent flaws, we need to be able to see these building problems and solutions at two different levels the micro and the macro. The vast majority of building-related decisions are viewed at the micro level, and involve assessing choices between competing materials and systems (often in the form of products).
Let’s look at one example of how the difference between accepted and alternative solutions and micro and macro perspectives can play out when making building choices: flush toilets versus composting toilets. Many homeowners considering a more sustainable home will consider this issue at some point in their decision-making process.
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