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The 2010 DesignIntelligence Green & Sustainable Design Survey
William McDonough, Ed Mazria, Bob Berkebile, Ray Anderson, and Amory Lovins are considered the stars of sustainability according to the results of a survey of influential architects and designers. It's hard to argue with the choice. In my book, all rise to the level of superstar, each significantly and continually contributing to the meteoric rise of green practice within all aspects of our industry.
The survey results published by DesignIntelligence actually have few surprises. A majority of the leaders from the 240 surveyed firms are satisfied with the progress their organizations have made in achieving sustainable goals but only 40 percent have committed to adopting the targets of the 2030 Challenge, a set of performance targets aimed at achieving carbon neutrality, which would require as the reports says "a sea change from past behavior"--never easy to achieve.
Most respondents (73 percent) believe that it costs more to bring in a green project even though we have many examples to the contrary, especially at the lower levels of certification. The misconceptions persist or, perhaps, those who hold them do not have the experience or knowledge necessary to eliminate green cost premiums.
My bias is showing here but I'm disappointed that ASID is not recognized by the respondents as a more effective organization for advancing green issues. In the interior design world ASID is the most prolific green voice with the REGREEN residential remodeling guideline created in partnership with USGBC as one of its most visible achievements. Then again, only 6 percent of the respondents identified themselves as interior designers versus 61 percent as architects.
The survey report has eight essays on sustainability with topics ranging from public policy to a new business model that starts with a moral imperative. Scott Simpson's piece, LEEDing to Conclusion, predicts the time when green design will move well beyond LEED points and become, as ADA has done, just what we do naturally.
Some of the survey results suggest progress: of the respondents, 59 percent have an in-house sustainability education program; 80 percent said their own personal habits have gotten greener through recycling and conservation. However, 64 percent commute to work in a single occupancy vehicle, virtually the same as the 2008 survey results. Seems like a disconnect here.
The annual DesignIntelligence surveys on a variety of subjects are valuable insights into the state of our profession. All DI surveys, including this one, are available at its bookstore and are worth your attention.