A lot has been said about the recent trend towards creating 'green buildings' and the awarding of 'green star' status to buildings that meet a set of criteria designed to minimise their impact on the environment. But how does this ensure sustainability and what does it do for consumers?
Internationally, 'green buildings' have become the latest craze, and developers are rushing to get onto this train before it leaves the station. And while the concept is great - and the results encouraging, the truth remains that other than for the developer's image, these ratings mean very little for the consumer.
The reason for this is that in spite of the best efforts of the developers and the construction company involved, green stars do nothing to ensure that the inhabitants of the building do anything 'environmentally responsible' or sustainable! They will continue to buy unsustainable products to run their businesses by; create waste in a hundred different ways; use environmentally unfriendly consumables and hardly change their travel habits. So what's the point?
To be a truly 'green building' requires a mindset change by everyone involved - from the developers to the occupants. It requires sustainable practices across the gamit of activities and processes involved in the business of the occupants, and most importantly, it requires visio0n and commitment.
After all, isn't being rated a 'green star' building merely a question of the depth of the developers pockets? Has it become a handy tagline at the end of a lease prospectus in an effort to get like-minded companies and occupants? And, does it do anything to change the habits of occupants themselves?
I don't believe it does. That requires a completely different set of skills!