Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Green Strategy

Archweek Green, an online AEC industry "green" newsletter (archives here), is posting weekly summaries on sustainable news to the entire industry. The latest discussion concerns pollution and greenhouse gasses, and they make a very clear and important point.

In cutting greenhouse gas emissions, we not only have to do a lot of things right - we also can't afford to do any big things badly.

This principle applies equally well at the individual building level. For instance, even a terrifically conserving net-zero energy building
can have a large effective carbon footprint in operation if the building is built in a location of geographically high vehicle-miles traveled (VMT) - otherwise known as a sprawl location.

These important principles and simple strategies are outlined clearly every week, with discussions related to relevant topics in the news from many sources. It's part of the Architecture Week e-publication network (digital publications to save paper) which tries to "walk the talk" in not only building design, but also urban design approaches and natural systems.

Sustainability is about the whole systems view of things, and this publication approaches it in that way very well. A bit of a contrast to the BD&C angle that the construction side of the industry tends to focus on.

And to clarify matters now evolving in the State of California, this does not include overriding community guidelines by using this concept to force huge housing developments into cities and counties all over California for private profit and support for the banking industry shell game. That's an absolute sacrifice of any conservation or sustainability principles, reducing it to act as a "cover" for overdevelopment.