Sometimes We Forget
Sometimes, I think we forget what we're talking about when it comes to the sustainability movement. Even the ardent professionals among us who try everyday to help the world's people consume a little less or those trying to make the products and services that can create a better, more resourceful world, even the most globally conscious among us...they too sometimes forget what it is we're really talking about when we say "sustainability."
We're not talking about anything less than the advancement of human civilization. I know that sounds a little ridiculous, but it's absolutely true. I would never pretend to know what political turmoil will come next or what piece of art will move the culture. But I do know none of that advancement will take place without a powerful movement toward sustainability. There are simply more and more people on the planet competeing for the same number of resources. So if we do not rapidly change the way people consume and create those resources, we will not advance as a global civilization. Everything we do as modern people consumes energy: moving from place to place, writing our next piece of research, listening to music. Every bit of that requires energy and we don't know where we're going to get it all.
Buildings are no small part of that struggle. When taken together all sectors of existing buildings use 48% of the energy consumed in America, according to the folks at Architecture 2030. So the built environment is half of the energy crisis, half of the problem. As building professionals, when we tackle a problem like that--a problem so large--we aren't just making things better for our client, we are advancing civilization.
The ancient Romans gave us infrastructure, the very idea that we could alter the earth and move its resources from place to place. Water, earth, grain: the idea that not only could these resources be stored, but shared between areas of plenty and areas of want was given to us by that flawed empire. The British gave us the first hint of globalization; the idea that products and services and government could actually function over vast distances. I've skipped over whole swaths of history and culture, but I ask you, what will our age be known for? We can be the people that usher in an age of unbridled ideas and instant communication, the people who not only created vast wealth, but were able to remake the way we used natural resources and became harmonious with the Earth. The power to create that age is within all of us...that's what we work toward everyday when we talk about sustainability.
Build2Sustain is dedicated to sharing information about sustainable renovation and retrofit, particularly in commercial spaces. We look to foster conversation and appeal to business owners with transparent processes and a realistic focus on ROI.