Green Can Be Beautiful, Too
Picking up on the conversation we started with our last post, we were discussing a recent column in The Huffington Post by architect Lance Hosey that exposed “six myths of sustainable design.” In response to a claim that LEED-certified buildings account for only one percent of one percent of the total US building stock, Hosey surveyed hundreds of architects and designers to better understand the obstacles of going green.
“Sustainability isn’t about design.” Hosey argues that basic decisions about a design have a huge impact on both the resources needed and the people who use it.
“It’s been estimated that 80 to 90 percent of the impact of a building or product is determined in the earliest stages of development: When just one percent of a project’s up-front costs are spent, up to 70 percent of its life-cycle costs have been committed already,” he says. “As the expression goes, ‘All the really important mistakes are made on the first day.’ ”
As a member of the US Green Building Council, we’ve frequently assisted in securing credits for LEED-certified projects. We suggest beginning with a free energy and daylight analysis, whether you’re entering into new construction or a renovation. The consultation will allow us to establish a set of energy objectives. From there, we’ll craft an energy-management and daylighting plan that’ll take into account both the look you have in mind for your skylight and its desired effects.
Hosey’s other misperception worthy of our interest is maybe his most eloquent case of the bunch: “Sustainable design isn’t beautiful.”
“Designers care about image, and the green movement, like it or not, has a reputation for being all substance and no style—ethics without aesthetics,” he says. “Yet, as I argue in my book, The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology and Design (Island Press, 2012), the ‘look and feel’ of design are essential to sustainability. If design doesn’t appeal to the senses, it’s destined to be discarded. ‘In the end,’ writes Senegalese poet Baba Dioum, ‘We conserve only what we love.’ ”
Which affirms that skylights, while maybe not at the head of your list of green energy solutions, warrant such consideration.