Green Musings from Steven Winter

I first heard about Steven Winter neary 40 years ago when I was in Architecture School. His early research on energy efficiency and more efficient building systems was exciting and inspiring then. It still is. He recently received an Evergreen Award from Eco-Structure Magazine. Some of his remarks in the October 2009 issue of the magazine will provide building product manufacturers with food for thought:

"The world has been practicing sustainability and green design practices for perhaps 15 years. It's a fairly new endeavor... What we don't know yet are the results and ramifications of all this greenness we're producing. The long-term effects, both good and bad, of green building decisions have not yet been realized."

"The big missing component in much of the green building world is measurement and verification... Go back a year later and see if they're as healthy as they're supposed to be. Go back two years later and see if the equipment is operating the way it is supposed to be. We need to measure and verify all projects and claims."

"What has really changed now is no architect can practice without being green, and no building gets built without it being green... Builders, developers, consumers, lenders, and insurers now get it."

"[Green building has] become institutionalized in everything, from financing to codes to understanding and appreciating green concepts... There will be green buildings or no buildings."

"Can we expand sustainability beyond a singular building or a group of buildings to an entire community? When an entire city is sustainable, we can make real impact on its inhabitants and on the environment."

"[This movement] is going to have to be driven by the financial and political decision makers and then executed by the architecture and design community. New York has just introduced legislation requiring all buildings-- all of them-- to undergo energy audits every 10 years. When the entire city of New York becomes green, that has a huge impact."

"In the future, these buildings and homes that utilize net zero energy on an annual basis are going to be what really provide a major impact. Putting up a building that produces more energy than it utilizes-- that's pretty exciting stuff. This movement is getting stronger and more incentives are appearing for it."