Stormwater Splashes Roof — Green Building Haiku Contest

Our friends at BuildingGreen are pretty serious writers when it comes to getting the technical information out about green building. Some might even say their material in Environmental Building News and on their website, while extremely useful, can be a bit dry. But just how does one glamorize the recycled content of fly ash, for example? Whimsical they are not.

All the more reason their blockbuster haiku contest is worth noting. In honor of national poetry month and last week’s national architecture week, BuildingGreen mixed in some levity and solicited readers to submit green building-themed haikus.

The green building community responded in droves.

“We were really pleased with the range of entries and especially the response on Twitter, where a couple of really interesting conversations got started because of the contest,” says Tristan Roberts, editorial director at Building Green. “The sustainable design and building field is overflowing with smart, thoughtful people, and it was a pleasure to offer them a forum where those qualities could shine.”

A sampling, submitted via BuildingGreen’s website and via Twitter—with literary references to LEED points and energy monitoring systems —shows just how beautifully geeky these poets can be.

Quite a few haiku made reference to various esoteric aspects of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system, a process that requires a particularly Zen approach. Here’s a nice one from Steve Knight, sustainability consultant at Knight’s Green based in New York City:

Stormwater splashes roof —
Managing runoff credits
Scorecard and God-card

Many poets took up a topic that inspires us at RMI on a daily basis: energy monitoring. From Tom Butler, residential green building service project manager at Southface Eco:

basking in the sun
quietly, calmly spinning
the meter backwards

From Jim Newman partner at Linnean Solutions:

I rise to check in
How is my building today
Building dashboard view

And here’s one on perhaps the favorite subject of RMI’s buildings practice (simple payback vs. cascading benefits) submitted by Andrea Lemon via @VermontPassive on Twitter:

No one ever asked
When they built the Taj Mahal
“What about payback?”

Lemon blogs about the Passive House she and her husband are building in Vermont. She also submitted this lovely haiku:

Has anyone tried
Building a cathedral from
Shipping containers?

One debate on building materials even ensued, carried out in the five-seven-five format. Lakeside Concrete (@LakelandsCP) tweeted this haiku:

Concrete is Sustainable
though often ignored
rack up LEED points with Precast!

Lloyd Alter ‏(@lloydalter) design editor at Treehugger and architect in Toronto replied:

This isn’t the place
to be argumentative
but concrete’s not green

Perhaps the most traditional haiku, complete with a subtle reverence of nature like the Japanese masterpieces, came from Brad A. Molotsky (@bmolotsky), a realtor from New Jersey:

Recycled newsprint
Whispers softly at night from
Insulated walls

See more amazing green building haiku on Twitter: #GreenBuildingHaiku

Or on Building Green’s website.