In Praise of Green Architecture

Smart development has big impact

By Christopher Flood

In the last five years, hundreds of companies have jumped on the green bandwagon.  Green, of course, referring to the ecologically friendly ideas and approaches taken in developing new products, which are not detrimental to the environment and promote sustainability and renewability.

Thinking about the environment became a part of our lifestyle choice and birthed new designs for cars, household appliances, cleaning products, and the way we choose food, its packaging and the materials we chose to build our homes.

There is a greater concern for our environment and the green lifestyle is how many people prefer to live.

The need to be green has given life to services that specifically cater to the eco-friendly community, like green energy companies, green car dealerships and green design firms.

Of all the green services and products being offered, green architecture is the newest and smartest way for people to make the biggest impact in helping the environment—especially with the advancements in green technologies and research.

Many architecture firms and innovative architects are making the leap into a green lifestyle and constructing public buildings, homes, parks and green city spaces to make our cities and communities energy efficient and integrate them into the environment.

If this is possible, should these green designers be the new forefront of architecture?  I hope everyone would agree—they must.

Architecture 2030 is one of the leading firms pushing the green architecture movement and describes the art of renovating and constructing green buildings, “to engage the environment in a way that dramatically reduces or eliminates the need for fossil fuels, and to convey an ethical position in regard to the use of non-renewable materials and materials that pose a threat to human and environmental health.”

There are still the confused groups of people who don’t buy into the green lifestyle.  They think it’s a trend, something that was made up to get consumers shopping again.

I can understand how someone can feel this way.  When there are products like the Din-ink pen cutlery—a pen with a cap shaped as a fork, spoon or knife.  Sure, the product is 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and made of potato, but what can you do with it?  Combining a pen and a fork demonstrates a shallow view of how to be efficient.

However, small inventions like the Din-ink pen seem useless, but where else has a pen been made out of potato? 

Green products like these are stepping-stones to larger, more efficient green products and services like green architecture—eliminating fossil fuels and using eco-friendly materials for our homes—no one can argue the benefits and efficiency of that.

Craig Design Group Landscape Architecture, is an architecture firm based out of Chattanooga, TN. Glen Craig is the executive designer who works with green architecture.  His designs make the most of the sustainable landscape incorporating bio-retention basins, native plants, natural paving and rain gardens.

Glen started working more with green architecture because more of his clients requested their homes to be green.

More products and services are switching to the green side, because they see the benefits of living a green life.  This type of living is our future—not a trend.

The Craig Design Group is one of many green architecture firms who operate under the regulation of LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Green buildings are constructed and then rated on LEED scale.  The scale promotes building sustainability and focuses on five key human and environmental health areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. 

Having a home built, keeping in mind ways to enhance energy efficiency, water savings and the other factors of the LEED is cost-effective, and improves the community and the environment. 

Not only do I want green designers like Glen Craig to be designing the homes in my community, but I also trust green architecture for our public buildings and spaces.

Christopher Wilson is the executive architect of Stantec and a leading green architect of public buildings.  Wilson is leading the project to build Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s green East Campus using the LEED green building codes. 

The building will extend over a 51-acre yard and use half the amount of energy as regular office buildings and uses concrete slabs that cool the building along with advanced lighting technology.

The new building will produce more energy than it uses and reaches the highest level of sustainability and efficiency on the LEED scale.

The activity of the U.S. Green Building Council and the rise in prominence of green architects and designers is the proof that this is an important and revolutionizing lifestyle to be a part of.

Green architecture and designers will pave the carbon concrete path to our future.  These designers are the new leaders—breaking the rules of what a reliable material is, becoming
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