Earlier this month, I presented an Architecture Forum discussion on sustainable buildings. The presentation was a discussion on the current state of green building, where we should emphasize our design efforts, and what more we could and should be doing. Sustainable design or one of its pseudonyms are buzz words that are thrown around in almost every architecture presentation and awards submittal these days. But what do green, sustainable, energy-efficient, carbon neutral, net-zero actually even mean? Is the environmental impact of buildings diminishing relative to the frequency we talk about it? Can a building ever truly be sustainable?
You can view my presentation here.
Core discussion topics that followed my presentation were:
1. 2030 Commitment – What should we be doing? What more can we do?
2. Early design decisions can influence energy usage, such as building site/location
3. Importance of knowing enough, and the lack of intuition on energy usage
4. Cooperation of client/owner – Who really sets the sustainability goals?
5. What can we do when a client isn’t interested in sustainability?
6. Making the case through Life Cycle Costing
7. Architects; ethical obligation to advocate for sustainability
8. Are our engineers on board?
Mention inclusion in RFP and contract language as commitment to the same code of ethics
9. Architects have lost the public’s trust – “first do no harm” for architects?
10. What an atrium means to a building’s sustainable agenda
11. Small renovations can still reduce energy through lighting and should track their LPD
12. Have a sustainability QA/QC plan for all projects
13. To be relevant 5 yrs from now – do we look at European projects?