At NxtGen we base our decisions on circularity, sustainability and the well-being of future generations in mind.
One of the ongoing challenges in the quest to make our built environment more sustainable is defining what sustainability means in terms understandable to and measurable by built environment decision makers. A green building has four main elements on which it is designed: materials, energy, water and health to make green building more sustainable.
Sustainability is not an exact science, it’s not about definitions, it’s not about the easy way out, it’s about making choices, doing the right thing, not because you have to but because you want to. And because all humans are different, the right thing for each individual is also different and based on their belief system. Yes, there is a mainstream about what’s good and what’s bad, but “the facts” are not always clear. There’s (a lot of) room for interpretation or trading off CO2 emissions by investing in something “GOOD”.
It’s okay to cut down a tree/forest as long as you plant new trees. However you can cut down many trees in a day and it takes years to grow.
The data and certificates presented on sustainability can be manipulated. Take for example the calculated percentage of emissions for a car. How many car makers you know that manipulated their CO2 emissions? Yes, it’s about profit, money and return on investment.
Sustainable design seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, thereby improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments. It is an integrated, holistic approach that encourages compromise and tradeoffs. Such an integrated approach positively impacts all phases of a building’s life-cycle, including design, construction and operation.
Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The concept of sustainability is composed of three pillars: economic, environmental, and social. Also known as profits, planet, and people.
Sustainable design principles include the ability to:
– optimize site potential;
– minimize non-renewable energy consumption;
– use environmentally preferable products;
– protect and conserve water;
– enhance indoor environmental quality;
– optimize operational and maintenance practices.
Substitute harmful, synthetic materials in a product with sustainable materials that are natural, renewable and carbon neutral and use less energy to extract.
“Do the right thing. Not because you have to, but because you want to.”