At NxtGen Houses we base our decisions on circularity, sustainability and with 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 of choosing the right building material or energy saving device. 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 we are all different, the right thing for each individual is 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 room for interpretation or trading off CO2 emissions by investing in something “GOOD”.

It’s okay to cut down a forest as long as you plant new trees. You can cut down many trees in a day but it takes trees years to grow. The best tree for the environment is an old tree set within an established forest. 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?

Sustainable design seeks 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. This approach positively impacts all phases of a building’s lifecycle, including design, construction and operation.

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.”