As architects, one of our basic abilities should the communication of ideas to people.
Recently, I have come across the problem of explaining what it means to be a sustainable architect.
At times I have found it easier not to say the word sustainable due to its negative implications. Instead, I use the word ‘healthy’, “we want to create a living environment that is healthy, comfortable and efficient.” We as architects need to begin to communicate the idea of sustainable design more purely to our clients.
Some negative reactions toward sustainability seem to derive from the buzz word ‘green’. As explained by Matt Golden in the recent Green Building Advisor newsletter, “by watering down the term to mean expensive products, we promote the idea that we can buy our way to greenness without delivering real solutions to environmental issues that we face.” A price has been put on being green and therefore we see green as a product.
We see a difference between being ‘green’ and being ‘sustainable’. The idea of sustainability is to put in or put back what you take out of the earth. In terms of design, we must look at this concept as a revolving cycle. It begins with an idea, evolves into a beautiful place, and is vitally maintained throughout its life. Elements such as the local climate and economic and social understanding of an area can help depict how to use materials and how to capture natural energy sources. As a sustainable architecture group, we most often see a solution in design, not in products.