Architects, designers and builders all have a responsibility to their clients to create an environment that is healthy and safe, all the while preserving natural resources, air quality and the surrounding community. The design community has done a good job of following the three "R's" of the "movement" --renew, reuse, recycle, as well as attempting to use local suppliers and reducing the use of toxic materials, all with an eye on preserving Mother Earth.
However, while the "green" movement is hardly new, it is a topic that is ever-changing and should be discussed on a regular basis as we have done in posts here and here. Currently, global warming and changing weather patterns have many developers and designers trying to find ways to harness the'earth's natural resources in an efficient manner without depleting the diminishing supply. On the horizon:
- Automated systems that result in energy efficiency. The future will see many "cloud based" systems for the ultimate in energy and cost savings.
- Solar power will continue to gain popularity in both commercial and residential buildings. Tax breaks, grants and other funding will make these systems more attainable for small builders and homeowners.
- Zero net energy is the new buzz word. Simply put, it means a building uses as much energy as it creates through on-site renewable resources. While usually still dependent on the electrical grid, these buildings harvest solar and wind power and reduce usage of the electrical grid through highly efficient HVAC systems, for example.
- We can dim the lights and design automobiles that use less gasoline but we cannot live without fresh water and those resources are certainly being affected by the changing weather patterns. Engineers and scientists have their plates full as they try to come up with ways to reduce the damage to the atmosphere that has resulted in the change in weather, along with methods that eliminate waste and are more efficient.
- LEED consideration will extend to the "greening" of existing buildings. Owners will be charged with the removal of dangerous products but also required to disclose any dangerous chemicals and products on site, along with any green methods put into place to correct the problem(s).
A combination of carefully considered design that is not only aesthetically pleasing but is safe for occupants and visitors in public buildings, considerate of special needs of those who might be physically challenged as well as an aging population and is sensitive to the need to conserve energy and preserve natural resources will result in buildings and rooms that will leave a positive mark on the community.
We do our best to recycle products, dispose of waste and conserve whenever possible. To view our entire collection of architectural hardware and custom furniture, please visit our site at www.martinpierce.com.