Building and Thinking Green

What would you change if you were told you’re responsible for up to 65% of the world’s energy usage? According to this week’s reading, architects have plenty of explaining to do. “Does the Market Work Better than Government at Transitioning to Sustainability?” addresses the roles that consumerism and regulation play in society’s obligation to conservation, and after reading it for myself it’s become clear that the free market is driven by individual interest rather than the betterment of the whole. While this makes a weaker stance against resource consumption than simply limiting it at a governmental scale, it’s clear also that market interest has a large influence over these regulations. In order for this balance to be maintained, the two must be able to promote one another. 

Since buildings are the largest contributor to electricity consumption, one would expect to see much more regulation when it comes to sustainable building design. Reading this week’s article, I was surprised to find that there is no single standard for a green building.  In order for the demand of green buildings to rise, I think the standard for them should be clear to their investors. I would love to see a day when the market is a driving force behind conservation oriented regulations, and I think that architecture is a great place to start. Emphasizing the energy and cost efficient benefits that green buildings have to offer will begin to increase the demand for them, thus provoking an expansion in the minds of consumers to explore other ways they can promote sustainability outside of the buildings they exist within. This week’s reading made it clear though that this won’t happen without better regulation and standardizing for these sustainable practices. It’s great to see this movement among firms toward a green future, and to see so many corporations create sustainable incentives and awards for projects. The LEED organization, for example, is a leading force in distinguishing green projects; they organize countless awards and programs to promote sustainable architecture, and it’s already making waves in the design community. I think that as this organization grows in size and popularity, consumers and investors will take notice and begin their own research into the makings of these buildings. As LEED certified buildings grow in numbers, the public will have no choice but to develop a certain taste for a mindfully designed space, and I’m excited to see the impacts it has in the future as more and more of them come into being. 

As for my investigative report, this is something I’m extremely excited to dig deeper into. It’s clearly a delicate balance between the free market and government standards, and I’m excited to gain more of an understanding between how they operate together because it’s already abundantly clear that they have definite influence over each other. 

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