As InsideOut magazine went to press for this issue, Elon Musk of Tesla Motors and SolarCity was aiming to “make solar sexy” with the unveiling of textured glass tiles meant to replace the conventional “tiling” method used for traditional solar power.
It seems now that the ever-expanding list of tick boxes attached to “sustainable living” has grown again. Now, it must not only work but it must be as functional and beautiful as an iPod. Tall order.
So what does this all mean? If you care for the environment and, in turn, the planet, your home’s functionality and your own lifestyle, where do you start when it comes to living sustainably?
We tapped three leading minds in the industry to give us their simplest definition of “sustainability”, as it pertains to living in your own personal home. Do you have an opinion? Join the Battle of the Brains discussion via our Facebook page with #BrainsBattleSustainability.
Landscape Architect and Founder,
Our approach to sustainability is based on the goals established at the 2005 World Summit on Social Development.
These go beyond “green design” to consider the total economic, social and environmental components of a project. This concept is also known as “resiliency” or the intentional design of buildings and landscapes in response to changing environments and related human needs.
Some key considerations include: architecture that responds to the natural environment; sustainable costing; landscape that respects and takes advantage of existing flora and indigenous plant material; materials that are energy efficient and come from sustainable resources; and renovating by reusing what you can from the pre-existing building.
Interestingly, this philosophy is very similar to that of our early settlers who built homes in response to their natural surroundings using stilts for air ventilation and flooding, verandahs for shade, orientating homes to take advantage of the wind, maintaining indigenous plant materials, and expanding their living spaces in response to changing social needs (growing families) and economic prosperity.
… the intentional design of buildings and landscapes in response to changing environments and related human needs.
It is a home that minimizes waste, both in its construction and operation. It draws its energy from natural resources, such as the sun.
It is a healthy environment as it ensures purity of water and air. It is durable and requires minimal maintenance or adding of ever-more resources over time.
LEED certification, via its 3rd party verification process, ensures the energy efficiency, indoor air quality, water quality and overall sustainability of the home is ‘verifiably’ achieved and that the quality of the home is constructed in the manner that was intended.
Finally, adding solar power allows a homeowner with an efficient and sustainable home to have zero energy bills by compensating for the remaining energy usage through power produced by the sub.
In addition to protecting the environment and offsetting carbon emissions, this can also save homeowners hundreds of thousands of dollars over the life of the system.
… attempts to mimic the best attributes of nature and combine it with the best interests of its occupants.
In general terms, sustainability is being environmentally responsible and resource efficient throughout a building or development’s life cycle, from siting to design, operations and maintenance, renovation and ultimately to demolition.
Sustainability goes far and beyond the gadgets and gizmos of renewable energy systems, which are, for the most part, reactive solutions to the poor decisions that negatively impact our environment.
Being sustainable in Cayman is making sensible choices. I’m not obsessively green but I do understand how to create buildings that are entirely suitable, energy-efficient, healthy and sustainable in the tropical environment of the Cayman Islands.
Whilst my designs respect local building traditions, I’m ever integrating new materials, construction methods and renewable energy systems to building solutions.
It’s all about balance and respect for this place: Cayman. Like chefs we combine the ingredients of budget, client aspirations, accommodations, the assets and constraints of the site and creatively concoct a unique place that is appropriate.
… goes far and beyond the gadgets and gizmos of renewable energy systems.