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March 06, 2013
Green has been a buzzword in the A&D industry for longer than most of us can remember. But when did it all start? What prompted it? View a timeline of the sustainability movement in the slideshow above, and in the following text, then let us know what you think's missing in the comments section.
c. 1900—America’s most forward-thinking designers (Bernard Maybeck, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Louis Sullivan) champion a new kind of architecture, one imbued their work with the spirit and forms of the natural world.
1927—Engineer Buckminster Fuller first exhibits his Dymaxion House, conceived in accordance with his newfound design ethic and life mission “finding ways of doing more with less.”
1962—The publication of Silent Spring by Anne Carson exposes the ecological destruction wrought by modern industry and consumer culture. The book touches off the environmental movement in the US.
1963—Congress passes the Clean Air Act, the first major piece of federal legislation for regulating pollution.
1964—Architect and theorist Bernard Rudofsky writes Architecture Without Architects. The book challenges the dominance of mechanization and industrialization in modern architecture, celebrating instead the organic and the low tech.
1970—President Richard Nixon establishes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The agency doesn’t hold cabinet status, but its director is treated as a cabinet-level administrator.
1980—Eco-friendly construction companies form the Sustainable Buildings Industry Council, a trade group promoting environmental design practices.
1992—EPA announces new Energy Star standard for super efficient consumer products. The seal adorns everything from lighting to refrigerators to entire houses.
1993—Creation of the US Green Building Council, an independent non-profit advocacy group to set industry-wide standards for green design.
1993—Architect Samuel Mockbee establishes the Rural Studio at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama. The program has built 80 houses to date by working with communities using regionally-sourced materials and sustainable building techniques.
1997—The American Institute of Architects debuts its annual Top Ten Green Project Awards. Topping the inaugural list is Dougherty + Dougherty’s Center for Regenerative Studies in Pomona, California.
1998—USGBC launches Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, a graded standard for green architecture.
2001—Architecture firm SmithGroup’s Philip Merrill Environmental Center in Annapolis, Maryland becomes first building to receive LEED Platinum Rating.
2002—Architect William McDonough and German chemist Michael Braungart pen Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. The book calls for re-imagining product design at the molecular level.
2003—The initial proposal for the new World Trade Center Tower 1 from architect Daniel Libeskind and engineer Guy Nordenson includes gigantic wind turbines that would supply 20% of the building’s energy. The turbines were nixed during the subsequent design process.
2004—Designer Jill Fehrenbacher launches Inhabitat.com, a blog wholly devoted to green design and architecture.
2006—Non-profit group International Living Future Institute creates the Living Building Challenge, a certification system that seeks to go “Beyond LEED.”
2008—One Bryant Park, from firms Cook+Fox Architects and Gensler, becomes the world’s first LEED-rated skyscraper. The building houses an office for Bank of America.
2009—President Barack Obama signs Executive Order 13514, “Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economic Performance,” committing the US to creating “zero net energy” buildings by 2030.
2011—USGBC reports over 10,000 LEED-rated homes have been constructed in the US.
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