Let's Make Every Day Earth Day
This time two years ago, I spoke to a group of architects in North Carolina about the responsibilities of the design community to build with the environment in mind. The presentation included strategies to address energy, water, materials, ecosystems, and climate change. Those strategies supported the goal to design all developments, buildings, and major renovations to be carbon neutral by 2030.
The reaction from the audience was surprising. One architect argued, “so you’re saying that architects are supposed to be God.” Another attendee asked, “you really believe this climate change stuff?” I was disappointed and unprepared to respond.
Two weeks later, I delivered the same presentation in Minnesota. To my surprise, the entire audience supported the strategies. When I asked the audience members their thoughts about convincing building owners to do the same, one attendee stated, “it’s our job.”
Over the last two years, we’ve noticed two things in delivering our continuing-education seminars (live and online):
1. The acknowledgement that architects have a responsibility to design with the environment in mind continues to increase. The request for GBCI-accredited courses has jumped, and designers are using tools like life-cycle analyses, HPDs, and EPDs.
2. The commitment to implement strategies to protect the environment varies based on region. For example, environment-impact questions from seminar attendees were highest in areas like the Pacific Northwest and Texas but lowest in New York and other large metropolitan areas.