Eco-housing, green development, sustainable design -- environmentally sound housing has as many names as it has definitions, in "Primer on Sustainable Building", flexibly describes this new kind of architecture as "taking less from the Earth and giving more to people." In practice, "green" housing varies widely. It can range from being energy efficient and using nontoxic interior finishes to being constructed of recycled materials and completely powered by the sun.
Green building practices offer an opportunity to create environmentally sound and resource-efficient buildings by using an integrated approach to design. Green buildings promote resource conservation, including energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation features; consider environmental impacts and waste minimization; create a healthy and comfortable environment; reduce operation and maintenance costs; and address issues such as historical preservation, access to public transportation and other community infrastructure systems. The entire life cycle of the building and its components is considered, as well as the economic and environmental impact and performance.
The idea of sustainable architecture is not new “It is design that improves the quality of life today without diminishing it for the next generation.” However, sustainable architecture is hardly ever used. The lack of green architecture is a fault of both the client and the architect. It is the architect's responsibility to converse to the client about sustainability, but most firms do not have the resources in their files to produce beneficial or new ideas about designing sustainable buildings. Also, if an architect does wish to produce a sustainable building, the client may not want to pay the additional costs it may take to construct, and is most the time unaware of the benefits.
We as architects have valuable resources at our...