I am a LEED Accredited Professional (AP). This a specialty certification in sustainable or “green” design issued by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).
Sustainability is often portrayed as a controversial issue. There are those who argue that nothing human beings can do to the environment will adversely affect the planet, despite overwhelming scientific evidence and consensus to the contrary. Even if the majority of scientists are wrong, sustainability still makes sense through simple logic. Polluting the environment means there is less “clean” environment to inhabit and enjoy. Removing more natural resources than the planet can replenish means that eventually those natural resources will be expended. Sustainability seeks to stop the decline of the environment and natural resources and produce a stabilized system in which the current level of exchange between the natural world and the artificial or built world is maintained for future generations.
To paraphrase the “organic” architect Eric Corey Freed, “All architecture and design should be sustainable—because what is the alternative?”
The next step beyond sustainability is regenerative actions, such as increasing the natural state of the environment and returning natural resources to the planet. Given the resistance to sustainability, I don’t think we’re ready for that yet—but I am hopeful for the future.
I am a LEED AP.