Green & Design - March/April 2009 - (Page 6)

hot topics beyond fad Designing enduring sustainable architecture when times are tough By Stefan Behnisch, Hon. FAIA, RIBA, BDA, CIMA In the current economy, the broad topic of design for a more sustainable built environment must be viewed in context. Not long ago, it seems that the construction industry was incredibly strong, credit was easy, the green movement was going mainstream, and energy prices were soaring. But today, real estate development reflects a weakened global economy and the especially distressed credit markets. Suddenly, a whiff of dilettante environmentalism could spell disaster for an architect. As in so many previous recessions, each real estate expenditure today is more strictly examined by investors and developers. Despite that, I argue that we must create good when we can, at every juncture. This credit crisis can be considered as a new starting point, an opportunity to slow down and consider future sustainable building options. We in the first world, despite positive strides, have consumed resources at times recklessly, with insufficient regard for the environ- ment and the future. Perhaps we have been too busy and successful to really change. Now we have time to do so. It is agonizing to consider how much money was destroyed in the current banking failure, and how much could have been achieved had that money been spent on education, environmental measures, or even on changing whole economies to a more sustainable approach. We can only double our resolve to place our economies and banking systems on solid footing going forward, while relentlessly mitigating our environmental damage along the way. The development of truly sustainable businesses and economies should be our goal, aided—and not hampered—by our banking system. The environment is not a “fair weather” problem. The damage to the environment—even from a purely business standpoint, as the Chinese are finding out—is a reality with grave consequences. And while energy is cheap 06 | March/April 2009

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Green & Design - March/April 2009

Green & Design - March/April 2009
Beyond Fad
Book Review
Generation Green
Green Flags
LEED for Retail
Hola, la Ciudad
Eco-Mountain High
Beautiful Vision
A Better Bean
Under the Influence
Extreme Environmentalist
Leading LEED
To LEED or Not to LEED?
Products: Designer’s Picks
The Many Shades of Green
Ad Index

Green & Design - March/April 2009