Green Buildings, Green Cities

This week made me see through some of the cracks in both the apparel and interior industries as far as being sustainable goes. I would not necessarily say I had an epiphany but my eyes were opened a little bit more from the reading and movie we watched this week. I did learn more about what exactly social and eco-labeling is from the reading this week. I like the idea of social labeling because it is supposed to ensure the fair treatment of workers in the factories that make these fair trade garments. However, it became so apparent how these kinds of labels and certifications are abused and are counterfeited all the time. In all honesty, now that I have learned more about what eco and social labeling is all about, I think I would be very skeptical if I were to come across one on a garment.

I thought the movie that we watched on Thursday, The Greening of Southie, was actually very interesting. As an Apparel Merchandising student, I had heard a little bit about the LEED Certification system but I really did not know much about it at all until watching this movie. Again, I think the LEED program is a great concept. I would absolutely be all for it if green building started to become the norm, and I think that it should. I really like the idea that a building can actually preserve water and help to clean the air around it just by existing. However, from watching the movie, it made me question exactly how “sustainable” were these people involved in the LEED project being. When you consider things such as the energy used in transportation of a building material from overseas to the building site, it almost counteracts the sustainability factor of using a certain material, even if it is recycled or made from organic wheat. When discussing the movie afterwards in class, it seems like the LEED program has made improvements recently, which is good to hear. One of the big disadvantages of green construction is that the market is not big enough yet for the materials and services that are used in green building; therefore, it costs more than regular building. I believe that as the concept of green building catches on, it will go from being a niche market to being more of a common thing in building. Also, if green building can be made affordable as well as combined with luxury living, it would be actually realistic for whole cities to be made up of green buildings. There is hope!

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