The argument for and against “Green” buildings has been around a while and has been about doing less harm to the natural environment with our buildings. I think this really speaks to how we perceive buildings and construction in general. It seems like the green movement so far has demonized construction and leads you to believe we are doing harm to the environment by building anything. And if we work really hard we will only do less harm.
But a new conversation is now beginning to emerge and it is focused on doing well to the environment. What a great shift in focus. Instead of thinking about how horrible I am every time I design a building, the focus is on how great our cities, towns and neighborhoods can be.
I feel this positive focus on what we can do is only going to enhance and improve buildings and site development going forward. Think about how great you feel when good things about yourself are mentioned. This is only going to encourage you to do more good things. I know it works for me. I feel great when I know I have enhanced my community and created a healthy and happy place to live. I also know a pat on the back for doing a great job goes much further than a plaque on the wall for doing less harm than others.
I love the idea that I can now focus on making my community a great place to work and live. I love talking about how a new building enhances life. This new attitude and focus can only generate a renewed effort toward sustainability in construction.
And I believe this carries forward not only for Architects in design but also for Contractors in construction and Building Staff in facility maintenance and operation. I think we all can begin to see how we play a part in creating great places and quit trying to point fingers in the blame game of who caused the most harm.
I am truly loving this new conversation on the positive ways we can support our local environments and look forward to this continuing conversation. A conversation on how rainwater can be used to create a water feature instead of how to keep it out of the city storm drains. A conversation on how I can bring daylight into our buildings instead of how can I reduce the number of lights needed. A conversation on how I can keep my cold-natured friend hot and my hot-natured cool instead of reducing heating and cooling mechanical equipment.
So how about you? Have you looked at how great your community is? Or worked to make it a great place? I’m sure if you look around a wonderful positive world will reveal itself. Have a great day!