As I started strategizing about how to take our firm’s commitment to sustainability and green design to the next level, I came up against a Catch-22 situation. It’s similar to the one architects face when branching out to pursue new building types: you need to demonstrate experience with a particular project type in order to get projects of that type. Only through project participation do we build the specific skills that constitute “experience.”
The Northern California wildfires of 2017 have had a devastating impact on the region that will resonate for decades. The Tubbs Fire tore across Calistoga and down slope to Santa Rosa along Mark West Road. The recovery will take many years. We see this recovery as an opportunity not just to rebuild, but to rebuild smarter, more resilient, and ecologically attuned structures.
When people in the building industry think of sustainability, they think of LEED. But LEED is first and foremost a rating system. It was developed to push the industry incrementally toward more environmentally friendly strategies. It doesn’t envision the ideal that we all need to be striving for. What would a truly sustainable building look like?