From Dean Dowd on July 22, 2010 in Green Remodeling
CalFinder goes behind the scenes with Preston Koerner, founder of Jetson Green
Jetson Green is a daily site devoted to innovation in residential green design. The site features about 10 articles weekly on cool projects, products and other news. Featured in publications like The Wall Street Journal, Dwell, and Apartment Therapy, and visited by 3 million readers—you don’t want to miss it. Check it out on Facebook, Twitter, and JetsonGreen.com.
Margaret: Preston, as a practicing attorney and LEED AP, you write articles on building green, which all seems to be a crescendo from your creating Jetson Green as an MBA student. What prompted your focus on green building trends and the ultimate inception of Jetson Green?
Preston: I started the site really to figure out what blogging was all about. Green building was a topic that I was (and still am) passionate about, so my research in this area became material for discovering a new medium. After blogging for a short period of time, I ended up finishing law and business school but the site kept expanding and growing, so I kept it going.
Preston’s Favorite Green Homes
Rob Pyatt’s Boxhouse Margaret: Which home featured on Jetson Green ranks as a favorite, and why?
Preston: I’m really into tiny houses right now. I’d like to build a tiny, contemporary green home and show readers the entire process from start to finish. Companies have shown an interest in supporting a project like this, but I’m still brainstorming options and, as a new dad, time is certainly an issue. In the meantime, my favorite house is probably the Boxhouse, a modern home in Boulder by Rob Pyatt. I’m also partial to weeHouses and would love to place one in Park City as a vacation rental.
Margaret: You and I both grew up around Dallas, Texas, which has certainly taken socially responsible steps. Yet it wasn’t the greenest city in the ‘80s and ‘90s—shared and public transportation just wasn’t done, and in a state where “bigger is better,” the city was not an example of concise sustainable living. What sparked your awareness of green living? Was your family green-minded? Did you have some epiphanic moment? Preston: I’ve always felt the importance of sustainability, though, growing up in the suburbs, I can’t say I grew up an environmentalist or even knew what one was. As an Eagle Scout, I gained an appreciation for nature and learned the value of leaving no trace. Later, while living in Japan, I figured out how to make ends meet by saving water and energy. At some point, when working in real estate and studying at graduate school, I took an interest in green building innovation and things kind of took off from there.
A Greener Mindset
Fontenay reclaimed wood flooring from old wine barrels Margaret: Jetson Green seems to focus on features and news about great sustainable homes, rather than DIY hints and tips, in an effort to expose residential consumers to a greener mindset overall. In this light, what would you say about the correlation between consumerism and environmentalism, and why that should matter to the everyday resident?
Preston: Specifically, our focus is projects, products, and news primarily in the residential context; however, each article must have some thread of beauty, design, affordability or innovation. I’m working on plans to revamp the entire site and, after doing that, plan to provide more DIY and resource coverage. I also plan to find a way to add new perspectives from experts who can sound off on critical green building issues.
But these topics, “consumerism” and “environmentalism,” are complicated and usually cannot be simplified to a five-step list. The reality is, there is an environmental impact associated with all activity – renovation or new construction – and what I’m trying to do is to give people viable options to show them what others are doing and how they’re finding success. I hope the everyday resident will visit and think, I should do something like that for my next project.
How You Can Do the Same
Marmol Radziner’s LOwer COst MOdular aka Locomo Margaret: As far as hints and tips goes: What would you say, from all of your exposure to great green living examples, is the first thing a resident should do when considering going green in their home?
Preston: First thing I did was read The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken. Although it’s kind of a business read, the book helped me understand the ecological aspects of my desire to live cleaner, simpler, and with a lighter impact. After that, I suggest that residents understand their situation with an energy or environmental audit. The right auditor will provide a list of personalized items to work with. Things should domino from there.
Margaret: Thank you for taking time to answer a few questions, and for helping to bring beautiful green design to the masses. Good luck with everything.