Editor Erika Templeton Discusses Sustainability


Sustainability with Substance

October is here once again, but as the leaves turn to shades of yellow and orange, green is still the only color on our mind.

By Erika Templeton


Erika Templeton | Editorial Director

October is here once again, but as the leaves turn to shades of yellow and orange, green is still the only color on our mind.

We’ve prepped for Greenbuild, decoded green certifications and LEED v4 and highlighted our favorite green projects and products.

In fact, I’d say we’ve covered “green” until we’re blue in the face.

But what does “green” mean, anyway? Nothing, according to the industry leaders we spoke to this month. Without more information the term is rendered useless; without broader considerations the design process is incomplete.

You’ll hear it from ASID’s Executive Vice President and CEO Randy Fiser, IIDA President Felice L. Silverman, Grazyna Pilatowicz, founder of the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Sustainable Interior Environments program, and sustainability’s “legal rebel” Stuart Kaplow, ESQ.

The message across the board is clear: demand transparency and question everything; consider the full life-cycle of impacts; design for people above all else. And understand the why behind every design decision. (Hint: if the answer is “because it will earn me a LEED point,” you’re probably doing it wrong.)

Now that sustainable design has become the standard, we are finally widening our purview and incorporating a more robust set of objectives.

We are not asking for a stamp of approval from the USGBC; we are asking the USGBC to work with us to create a system that represents the full realities of design, and sheds light on the hidden trade-offs we may have created by assigning point values to a myopic set of achievements.

It is exciting to see across the pages of this issue production processes that are building new economies in the developing world, rating systems that value entire supply chains, and designers that place “green” in the context of human health and affordability.

Design, you might say, is becoming multi-attribute again.


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