Tuesday, July 13, 2010

(n)habit--environmental supply + design (Nashville, TN)

(n)habit is the first BUSINESS I am visiting. I have chosen to visit a combination of both organizations and businesses because I am curious to judge the differences between the two. What makes sense as a business and what makes sense as a non-profit? Are there ways to do both? The whole field of socially-minded business seems to suggest that there is, but what ideas will actually work in the sort of set up that seeks profit (yet not too much) and helps the community (but only to the extent feasible)? Hard question to even begin to answer, yet it is always interesting to see what others have to say on the subject.

Specific to (n)habit: It is a green building supply and design company. They also offer some installation services...and they promote other businesses (where to get biodiesel, solar panels, etc)? A nice gesture, but also means that maybe they lean more towards information sharing and promoting a greener healthier future than ONLY seeking profit.

Looking through the products offered on their website, I find there are some products that would be considered questionable as a "green" product for many building professionals. It returns to the question that I and all people involved in green construction ALWAYS return to...what do you compromise on? Concrete retains heat very well and is used in many radiant floor systems, yet Portland cement is not the most eco-friendly of materials...do we compromise and use it? And should we offer tints for it? Where are those tints from? Are things locally sourced? Why sell paints in cans...could they mass produce natural paints which are even better than the manufactured ones and just tint that? The salvaged lumber that they list on the website...salvaged from where? Nearby? You get the idea.

It'll be interesting to speak with the people at (n)habit, for sure. There is a green supply store of sorts that just had their opening in Buffalo this past week (I couldn't go on account of the Fancy and Delicious Fundraiser...), and so it will be interesting to see how the two differ as they continue to grow....

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