What constitutes a sustainable design? It’s easy; picture neighborhoods designed to model biological systems and remain diverse and productive over time.
Sustainable design is a unique perspective and has fostered a movement for people to come together and plan beautiful communities that work with the environment, not against it. Sustainable design calls for architects, builders, developers and community leaders to reach higher achievement and performance in energy, health and longevity of a structure. Therefore businesses see the opportunities towards sustainability to attract the next generation.
In June 2006, there were 518 LEED certified projects. Today there are a total of 62,476 and the number is growing (GreenSource Magazine). The drive towards greening whole scale neighborhoods and districts is a win for the environment. New policies and regulations are pushing for stricter buildings codes creating waves in the construction industry. Retrofitting and retro commissioning are buzzwords pushing higher levels of energy efficiency. The green movement is underway and as a result there is a focus on new policies geared for green construction and sustainable design. Some see this as a challenge, trying to keep up with building construction costs and tough compliance codes but some see this as a wave of opportunity to make a statement in the next round of buildings and communities.
LEED is pushing higher standards for architects and planners while energy efficiency experts are teaming with public utilities to create incentives and rebates for going green. Renewable energy technology including solar PV and wind power are all increasing on a large scale but most importantly, people are pushing for sustainable design. This is transformation on a large scale and with new market sectors like multi-family residential and eco-urban districts; there is a great future for sustainable design.
The international conference, GreenBuild, highlights green building professionalism and works to create a place for people passionate about the building environment. The event was held in Philadelphia – one of America’s oldest cities and Philly is proving to the rest of the world that you can build sustainable communities, even with the oldest buildings in America.