Leading Architect weighs in on current issues in the green building industry

February 24, 2010 at 6:00 am Leave a comment

To further my understanding of what it is going to take to aid businesses in achieving greater social and environmental responsibility, I interviewed a well-known architect who is leading the way in the green building industry. He offered valuable insight about what needs to happen if our children are going to live in a world that is cleaner than ours. To respect his anonymity, I will refer to him as Mr. Green.

The bottom line is that we need a culture shift. Mr. Green reminded me of a nursery rhyme from childhood about three little pigs. The story relates to the building industry because the brick house required a larger up-front investment, but when faced with the wolf huffing and puffing to blow the house down; it stood strong! Inertia in the construction industry is huge, and it is difficult to challenge the status quo. Mr. Green stated, “Do you think bankers want to change? Realtors? Appraisers? Developers… No!”

It is important to remember that before we became dependent on cheap oil, buildings were built in a more sustainable way and efficiency was mandatory. Mr. Green believes that the minimum standards in the building code need to be set high because sadly, that is all most developers will live up to. We are at the beginning of a movement and we need to focus on reducing energy consumption.

The problem in the industry is that each discipline operates within their own silo. The architecture silo, the construction silo, the power silo, the maintenance silo, and the design silo. With each of these operating independently, there is no hope of achieving the big picture. Mr. Green feels that the answer to the problem is to integrate the silo’s. This will also allow for cross-discipline reality checks that maximize efficiencies in all aspects of the project.

What really needs to happen is that the concept needs to be understood on a higher level. Ego’s need to be checked at the door, and the status quo must be challenged! This is truly a grassroots movement that is initiated from the ground up.

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Michael Lemons

I will secure sustainability for your business with strategic CSR (corporate social responsibility) by making social impact integral to the unique value proposition of the company.

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