Sustainable buildings are like chocolates on cafeteria’s shelf. They shine in marketing material. They look amazing in real life case studies that prove savings, high quality and occupant satisfaction. They leave no doubt even when reading certification manuals because the requirements make sense!
Sustainable buildings look like sweet candies wrapped in Silver, Gold or Platinum paper. Some “chocolates” promise you a Very Good flavour, some of them are Excellent. Supreme bites can even taste Outstanding!
Many companies buy into this Sustainable “gourmets” variety, hoping to enjoy the sweet bites. But truth is: Sustainable Building should be recognized by the taste of the “chocolate”, not by it’s shiny “package”. Here are the main reasons why :
- Sustainability is still seen as smth to be added on, like a sugary decoration. It is rarely integrated into “cooking” process since the very beginning. In most cases it isn’t even included in the “recipe”! Buildings are being cooked with Sustainability layer on top of everything else. But Sustainability IS NOT an addition, it is the essense of a Sustainable Building. It is the core of building technologies, floor layout, interior design, workplaces concept, etc. No matter the wrapping colour, an add-on never tastes genuine. Or high quality. Or longlasting…
- Building Sustainable requires mastery and devotion. LEED and BREEAM “chocolates” are made by transforming the bitter taste of work into green sweetness via demanding and time-consuming certification process. Like any other quality work, it requires extra effort and time. Sustainability is a choise of masterchefs, not amateurs. Besides, it is a voluntary choise to employ one’s best expertise and skills in order to develop an extraordinary, superior flavour of “chocolate”. Like no one else’s in the market place.
- There are no shortcuts to top-level quality. Mastery is achieved by realizing that Sustainability is the main part of the recipe. It is a start point for making a Sustainable Building product of genuine taste and quality. Following the recipe in not an option when a piece of “gourmet chocolate” is in question. It is a must. In most cases, it is the hardest part to fulfill. But those who have already gone through the process, say it is well worth the effort. Victory tastes sweet 🙂
I believe, a day will come when building with added-on Sustainability will no longer be called sustainable. Mainly because Sustainable Buildings have a built-in Sustainability, so the customers will “taste” the difference, and make their choices accordingly. Shiny “cholocate wrap” does help to choose a product of possibly higher quality, however the customer should primarily trust his/her own taste receptors. As I said, genuine Sustainability is so much more than just a Silver or Golden “package”. A built-in Sustainability tastes like a premium class chocolate when you unwrap it!