Sunday, May 27, 2007
Opinion poll: What are the best ways to green your home?
the rise of green buildingsThere are real concerns about global warming and health issues in our dwellings. Moving forward, the processes by which housing is developed, comes to market, and sustained, will be considered an integral part of the design form factor. Energy efficiency and sustainability are topics that owners, buyers and builders will be increasingly asking about.
It has been an issue incubated in architecture and design circles for many years. That period has hatched a movement that does not need to sacrifice aesthetics for sustainability. Green design is a multi-faceted issue and its support in the marketplace is one aspect critical to its success. With the first LEED certified residential condo developments in NYC being built and marketed right now, it is a moment when consumers are answering with their wallets in some of the very biggest purchases of their lives.
Sales have been brisk in the handful of luxury developments that wear their LEED credentials proudly. Developers are looking at it as an major shift in how they build and market property, but not quite sure if the marketplace has yet ratified the costs, even though it is beginning to acknowledge and appreciate the benefits. Evidence that the luxury market supports green development may not automatically assure viability in affordable housing markets, although special attention is being given to this market sector as well by USGBC. It's a moment for business people to decide to take a leadership position on these matters, running against the example of the Bush administration on a global scale not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, putting profit ahead of ethics, and sending a message to the gobal community that the US administration is willing to cede leadership for competitive advantage. How can we influence others to do, what we will not do for ourselves?
the eco echo in the mediaIt is a discussion which has come of age. Recently, The New York Times Magazine and Vanity Fair ran special Green issues. The Times in particular examined the thinking, design developments and star-chitects involved with Green buildings. During ICFF last week, home grown Williamsburg design collaborative HauteGREEN exhibited furniture and materials for green interiors just down the block from Corcoran's Chelsea office on 19th street (Friday night's party was a smash). NY industry journal The Real Deal published Townhouses go green, with a look at green development of all kinds around town in the second half. I found Swedish design consultant David Carlson's report on Future Luxury a good read on how the green movement is affecting luxury brands. In real estate, Eco-brokerage has even been created as a professional certification, my colleague Susan Singer has taken the course and publishes a blog on it. Sites like treehugger continue to grow and cover the issues there is very little doubt that the green agenda has gone mainstream. The inevitable greener than thou conversations are popping up too, but massive cultural shifts take a little time. It's nice to see movement in a green direction, even if not perfect. It has already begun affecting how we live in, build, and buy housing.