Making it Easier to be Green
Green design includes energy conservation, but that's not what it's all about. It's about having good air quality both indoors and outdoors, making the environments in which we work, live, study and play healthier and more comfortable and conserving all of our natural resources.
This site will provide a balanced, holistic view that includes advice about saving energy, water and other natural resources, improving indoor air quality, using environmentally responsible design and construction techniques and minimizing waste.

I will be focusing on interiors for three reasons:

  • We spend about 90% of our time indoors.
  • Buildings in the United States annually consume about 30% of our total energy and 75% of our electricity.
  • As a New York State Certified Interior Designer and a LEED Accredited Professional, I want to share my knowledge and expertise with you.
Sustainable design and construction can be done in many different styles and using a wide variety of materials. There are examples of healthy, sustainable, comfortable and inviting interiors for commercial, not-for-profit and residential clients on the web site for Interior Design Solutions.
You can use the labels on the sidebar to locate entries that you want to read. For instance, most people might want to look at the entries for "Green Homes," but "Green Finance" would be of more interest to professionals involved in the design, construction, management, financing and marketing of buildings.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Thank You, Mayor Daley!!!

A colleague accused me of lionizing Donald Trump in a presentation on sustainable design and construction that I gave two days ago. Guilty as charged! I believe that Donald Trump would make a great poster child for sustainable design and construction because his very high level of visibility and proven track record for maximizing profits will encourage many real estate investors to follow his lead.

In keeping with his statement that "Environmental concerns should be the norm..." Donald Trump is currently developing projects in Stanford and in Philadelphia to meet the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. Even those who are not fans of Mr. Trump believe that when he invests in something, it must make sound business sense.

In his own inimitable fashion, Donald Trump has had no compunction whatsoever in redefining LEED. I think that his definition of the rationale behind green building is terrific, because it will resonate with investors. While the first four bullet points below could have been directly copied from any description of LEED, from then on the focus is purely on the financial benefits of going green. According to the Trump Organization's web site, LEED-qualified buildings are designed to:

  • Reduce waste sent to landfills.
  • Conserve energy and water.
  • Be healthier and safer for occupants.
  • Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Lower operating costs and increase asset value.
  • Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
  • Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

So why am I thanking Mayor Daley instead of Donald Trump personally? When I was lecturing on "Saving with Sustainability" at NeoCon in Chicago last June, I had lunch at the new Trump Hotel and Tower. The view from the dining room (shown above) was inconsistent with what I viewed as Donald Trump's aesthetic or value system, so I asked the head of Chicago's Green Roof's Program whether green roofs were required for new construction. He explained that projects that are built to recognized green standards and incorporate green roofs qualify for incentives and, perhaps more importantly, get special expedited treatment and cooperation from Chicago's Department of Buildings. While I don't know how important this policy was in Donald Trump's adoption of LEED standards for projects in other parts of the country, I'm fairly certain that it got his attention.

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