Sustainability is a concept that comes from Europe in the 1970’s, following the energy crisis of that decade and the global recession that followed. It has re-bloomed in this century in part because of similar global issues arising, but also because of the remarkable success of European building projects, social programs, and municipal governments that adopted the principals of sustainability in the 80’s. Sustainability is about everything that’s involved in sustaining a community’s way of life for future generations, whether that community be a village, a city, or a nation. This would include such things as growth, economic development, and the preservation of the necessities of that way of life.
In this century, the concept of sustainability has been unfairly equated with the “green movement”. While sensitivity to our natural resources, our carbon footprint, and preservation of our planet is certainly a key to survival, sustainability involves a more critical and comprehensive approach. It is foremost about “quality of life”. The good news is that as yet we are still in a position to address something as hopeful as that. But time is running short.
We propose that sustainable design must include more than “green” materials, “green” practices, and alternative energy sources. Sustainable design is more than a blind following of “green” precepts. There are an increasing number of reports that buildings built blindly following LEED requirements are no more, and in fact occasionally less, “sustainable” than others. In addition, there is no guarantee that a LEED platinum-certified building will necessarily contribute to a community’s sustainable development.
We would like to work with any community or client that is considering the pro’s and con’s of a LEED project, or any community that wants what’s best for itself. I have been involved in over a dozen LEED projects, all successful, and have learned how to apply the LEED requirements in a critical manner.