MICHELLE KAUFMANN SEES NOTHING
BUT GREEN ON THE HORIZON.
BY TINA BARSEGHIAN
ways to cut expenses — especially in this economy.
The irony is that green used to be thought of as
expensive and only for the wealthy. The truth is a
lot of green solutions can cost more money upfront,
but you recoup your investment relatively quickly
and you see a big reduction in your monthly bills
almost immediately. I use one-third the amount of
water as my neighbors and my energy bills are $0.
TB: Do you think the green movement is a trend in
current lifestyle that will eventually give way to the
next, or do you think it’s well enough established
that people will embrace it?
MK: This trend is based on a pretty brutal truth: the
current climate crisis. I believe the trend will only
grow as the climate crisis touches each of us personally in the years to come.
I really look forward to the day when green isn’t
a trend or even a choice, but the norm. That’s why
education is so important to me and why I love getting the opportunity to build homes for museum
exhibits. These houses, like the Smart Home at
Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, serve
Architect Michelle Kaufmann has as teaching tools that we hope will also inspire chil-
been working for years to make dren to come up with green solutions for the future.
the “living green” mantra accessible TB: What compelled you to start your blog?
for everyone, with her sustainably MK: The main goal of my architecture firm is to
designed prefab homes, and with make beautiful green design more accessible.
Somewhere along the line, I started to feel a need to
the recent launch of her website, expand that goal and also focus on making sustain-
blog.michellekaufmann.com, able, beautiful, and healthy living easy and available
where she shares tips and project to all. I hope my blog is a simple, digestible, and
instructions that inspire our eco- actionable way for people to find ideas for making
consciousness. We asked her to share their lives a little greener.
her thoughts about the thriving green TB: What do you want to accomplish in your life- time as a designer and architect?
industry and its potential. MK: I strongly believe that anyone who wants to
should be able to live in a beautiful, green, healthy
home, and my goal is to make that possible. Right
now, the only thing standing in the way of that is
finding a way to bring down the cost of owning such
a home. My mission, my obsession, is to not only
eliminate the premium currently associated with
buying a green home but also teach people that the
long-term savings of going green at home will more
than make up for any upfront cost difference. ×
Photograph by Cutter Cutshaw
Tina Barseghian: Eco-conscious living has hit the
mainstream. What do you think has contributed to
the growing consciousness of environmentalism?
Michelle Kaufmann: The green trend has grown
exponentially, thanks to the incredible amount of
media attention given to the climate crisis, in combination with soaring energy costs. People want to
do right by the Earth, but they’re also interested in