To me, sustainability means creating something lasting (or sustaining) that thrives and contributes to the environment, and ultimately betters it rather than degrading it. Whether it be reducing the amount of carbon or greenhouse gases, or promoting plant growth, sustainability should have a positive effect on the ecosystem.
Some goals I would really focus on are reduced water and energy usage, I think those are really important in the world we live in today. Building construction is very disruptive and wasteful, so that needs to be mitigated through the the end product, which needs to be something that is ultimately net-zero in terms of waste generation.
There’s a few examples I thought were really interesting.
1) This one is in my hometown. Claire’s on Cedros is a restaurant in San Diego that is LEED platinum. I think that it is really important that not every sustainable building (or a LEED certified building for that matter) needs to be some crazy huge building in a downtown area. This is a smaller restaurant near the beach and it really sets the standard for San Diego.
Claire's on Cedros in California wins LEED-Platinum Certification
Claire's on Cedros, an eco-friendly bakery and cafe in Solana Beach, San Diego, California, has earned LEED - Platinum certification, and has become the first San Diego restaurant to achieve this highest ranking from US Green Building Council (USGBC).
2) One element I am really excited about is mass timber. It has been used in a few buildings in California. It is able to be sustainably grown, and is a lot cleaner than using steel or concrete, and has the ability to trap/reduce carbon. I think there is a lot of potential to use this product in construction in the future.
High-rise mass timber structures cleared for California
CBS Sacramento SACRAMENTO -- California building codes were updated in July to allow for the construction of mass timber buildings up to 18 stories tall. But what is mass timber, also known as cross laminated timber? Jennifer Cover is the CEO of Woodworks, a nonprofit program that provides support on building designs to architects, engineers and developers that are looking to build more sustainably.
3) I’m not sure how practical it is or what the science is behind it, but I love plants and gardens and I think people’s overall mental health is better when they have access to the outside, and it does play a role in sustainability when gardens/plants are present. There are quite a few LEED buildings that have this element that I think is important.
LEED Platinum by the Bay - Landscape Architecture Garden Design California San Francisco Sonoma
LEED Platinum by the Bay A certified LEED-H Platinum building, the Tiburon Bay House features an innovative and sustainable landscape. Native lawn, permeable surfaces, and a graywater system were all integrated into the landscape design. Great care was taken to reuse existing materials and drought-tolerant plants.