Off the Shelf
| As we enter the new millennium, it has become increasingly evident that the building practices of the past 100 years must change if we are to assume greater responsibility for the welfare of our planet. If it seems that our global neighborhood is becoming a smaller place every day, then we must realize that our natural resources are dwindling along with it. If we equally share in this planet, then we equally share in this problem.
It is all too easy to back away from addressing "green" issues by claiming that solutions are too expensive, too time consuming and too specialized. Regrettably, to specialize is to marginalize. If it is perceived that environmentally responsive building techniques are elitist and expensive, then our cause is lost.
The concept of "Off the Shelf" was developed to demonstrate that building responsibly is accessible to all people and to all projects, regardless of size or budget. Our mission was to encourage by example. By carefully researching building products and techniques that are readily available to the general public, our project Team was able to create an environmentally responsive building that remained on budget and on schedule. This book is a record of those achievements and a tribute to their dedication.
Building responsibly is not an "all or nothing" deal. While we recognize that the most "green" solution is not always achievable, we can each make a series of small commitments in our building projects that can add up to sizeable environmental response.
Our hope is that this project record will become a guide to empower and encourage every interested party toward building in a manner that is earth friendly. The tools and the techniques are available "off the shelf." We challenge you to add the commitment required to build projects that will set a responsive example for the next 100 years.
| Members of the Green Team would also like to thank the following people who shared their knowledge and dedicated their time in the creation of the EPA Regional Headquarters.