Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Sustainable Design?

If you haven't heard, sustainable design is supposed to be the next big thing in development design. After hearing some things about it, I'm wondering if people actually want it. I think in theory if you just ask people if they want sustainable design they would indicate they would want it, but in actuality will they buy into it?

Right now I am watching House Hunters on HGTV. It's a show where a couple is followed through their house search. They live in Chicago, so the density portion of sustainable design has been met. But much of what they are looking for in a new place to live goes counter what sustainable design strives for. From what I can tell here are their requirements:

  • Parking for their car
  • Not being close to a subway (mass transit).
  • A larger living space (than their current living arrangement's)

The requirements largely go counter to what sustainable design strives for. The density is supposed to reduce the need for a car, but they need to commute regardless. The housing is supposed to be near mass transit, but the noise created by the mass transit is not something they want to deal with. Well a larger place isn't really related to sustainable design in land development, but it does affect the energy use in the building. A larger place typically requires more energy use, but the energy use of the building didn't appear to factor into their decision. I guess it may have come into play if one of the houses used it as marketing tool to make the a condo/house more attractive.

I guess my real problem with sustainable design is that it's being sold as something people want, but if you watch people and their decisions they mostly (or large portion of the population) don't factor it in their decisions. I suppose the people who put together the sustainable design want the designs to be that way? Or do they too not live in houses that meet sustainable design? I know I don't, but I don't think that is going to stop me from working on sustainable design projects and assisting my company in marketing it to potential clients. Isn't that all it will be in the end, a marketing tool without much real meat behind it?

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