Editorial: the Need For Green

Oct. 1, 2008

Charles Eames once asked, "To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number, to the specialist of an enlightened matter, to a privileged social class?" He answered, "Design addresses itself to the need."

I've sometimes wondered why sustainable design has taken such a foothold in the A&D community over the past several years. Why now? I believe Eames might have answered, "Because the need for it exists."

Considering the position in which we find ourselves with respect to Global Warming, the fragile state of the U.S. and world economies, and rising human health problems caused by environmental contaminants in the air we breathe, the need speaks clearly and audibly to those who are willing to listen, and more importantly, act. And frankly, what better place than here, and what better time than now for what William McDonough calls "the next Industrial Revolution" to establish roots and transform the landscape of the places in which we live and work?

While we are still a long way off from arriving upon that distant shore, a more sustainable view is coming into focus, and few industries exemplify this more clearly than the built environment. In fact, research indicates that green building has become a global phenomenon, according to McGraw-Hill Construction's new Smart Market Report, Global Green Building Trends: Market Growth and Perspectives from Around the World. Some of the key findings of the report include:

  • By 2013, 53 percent of responding firms expect to be largely dedicated to green building (on more than 60 percent of projects); up from 30 percent today. The fastest growing regional green building market is Asia, where the population of firms largely dedicated to green building is expected to jump from 36 percent today to 73 percent in 2013.
  • Approximately 86 percent of the respondents expect rapid or steady growth in sales and profit levels
    associated with green building.
  • Solar power is the most common form of renewable energy in every region and is used by more than half (52 percent) of industry professionals today—and it's expected to grow to 76 percent in the next five years. The most dramatic growth is expected in wind power use (57 percent expected in 2013; up from 20 percent today), followed closely by geothermal power (expected to double from 22 percent today to 45 percent in 2013).

These are clear signs that sustainability is making forward progress, and more examples like them fill the pages of this issue. For the third year running, the editorial staff at Interiors & Sources has selected 10 recent examples of LEED® projects that showcase not only the ability of green buildings to be efficient, healthy, regenerative places to live and work, but also that they can be beautiful places that we love to inhabit.

Immediately following the cover story is the second edition of our Green Guide to Greenbuild. In it, you will find informative and practical articles on critical issues facing interior designers, including an in-depth look at the health implications of climate change and the building strategies designers can employ to counteract them (see "The Ozone Factor: The Health Implications of Climate Change"); effective strategies for creating high-performance, sustainable projects within budget (see "Placing Green Tenant Improvements Within Reach"); useful ideas for greening and organizing design libraries (see "Eco Strategies for Design Libraries"); and our invaluable EcoLibrary™ and updated EcoList™, which will help you evaluate and select green products on the market today.

Also included in this issue is a special report on the much anticipated LEED version 3 (v3), which represents the most significant change to the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Green Building Rating System since its inception in 2000. Interiors & Sources' editorial director Douglas R. Kelly sat down with Doug Gatlin, vice president of market development at USGBC, for a comprehensive discussion about the changes that are on the horizon for LEED and how it will impact the design community. In a second interview with Brendan Owens, USGBC's vice president for LEED technical development, Kelly uncovers some of the details behind LEED v3, such as how regional credits and Life Cycle Assessments will play into the new version.

In fact, there is scarcely a page in this issue that doesn't touch on sustainability in one way or another. It's our way of meeting a need for more information on sustainable design.

Green is a need. How will you address it?

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