Understanding Labels

This past week our topic was Certifying, Reporting, and Labeling Sustainable Goodness. We began the week by having separate articles to read – the interior design students focused on Sustainable Construction: The Role of Environmental Assessment Tools by Ding; while, the merchandising students read the article Social and Eco-Labeling of Textile and Clothing Goods as Means of Communication and Product Differentiation by Koszewska. After reading Ding’s article, it was to my understanding that longevity of the measurements made within what establishes the criteria for being sustainable were not completely justifiable. What was the effectiveness of using a similar environmental tool within both articles? Koszewska’s article’s drawbacks were associated with credibility, confusing, and a lack of awareness. Ding’s article’s drawbacks were associated with cost (return on investment), implementing too late, not including existing buildings (made for new construction only), lack of regional flexibility, lack of knowledge, and social benefits are not measured. In our discussion we came to the conclusion that environmental tools were not being implemented early enough within design stages to make too much of an effect. It is our job as designers to have the awareness and the ability to understand everything that goes into our products from start to finish.

We ended the week with the film: The Greening of Southie. This film was about the first LEED Gold Certified building in Boston, MA. This film had various viewpoints on how LEED was being perceived. Many of the construction workers found it to be confusing, a new learning experience, and costly. The community perceived as Boston was becoming more of a young professional town instead of the family generated community it once was. After viewing the film, I had questions of why weren’t more products locally sourced, as that was our main topic last week. We came to the conclusion that at this particular time that the movie was being filmed was more of a visual effect instead of an actual effect. They were not so concerned with immediate difficulties, but instead the long term impacts. It would have been nice to see a product that impacted the happiness of the community – aiming for a common ground, affordability and readily available products. The theory behind it all is wonderful, but when it is made for only the luxury portion of society, the bigger mass of people will continue to be destroying dumbfounded – getting us nowhere closer to a balanced life.

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