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Are we on the brink of a second
Industrial Revolution? Green prophet
and architect William McDonough
thinks we are and that we have the
ability to design our way out of the massive
problems created by the first one. McDonough
has been at the forefront of "remaking the way
we make things" for over 30 years, creating the
philosophy of a cradle-to-cradle system that
mimics the natural system rather than the cradle-
to-grave systems of our "smokestack industries".
e good news -- he doesn't get called loopy any
more; the bad news -- he thinks we only have
about 20 years to fix things.
Many agree that the damage we have caused to
the planet through our industrial systems and the
resultant climate change is potentially catastrophic.
e exact timing of "the point of no return" is
endlessly debateable and frequently alarming yet,
as an optimist might say, what an opportunity.
McDonough has proposed that we expand the
sustainability ethos from eco-efficient to eco-
effective. His question is -- can we design things
that not only "use less" and "do less bad", but
also do no harm or even give back? Cars that emit
clean air, for example, or buildings that generate
more solar power than they need?
He believes our buildings should become "living
machines" rather than Le Corbusier's famous
maxim of buildings as "machines for living in".
is concept of green buildings has, in a short space
of time, taken on an urgency and momentum of
its own. Why? Because buildings represent our
greatest threat and our biggest opportunity.
e Dollars and Sense of Green Buildings (2008)
-- a report compiled by the Green Building
Council of Australia (GBCA) -- quotes research
that estimates that buildings use 32 percent of the
world's resources in construction, 40 percent of
global energy, generate 40 percent of greenhouse
gas emissions (GHGs), consume 12 percent of water
and make up 40 percent of waste to landfill. In
Australia, the commercial office and residential
building sector is responsible for almost 23 percent
of Australia's GHGs. e conclusion: "Climate
change and the need to reduce GHG emissions
is probably the most important and urgent issue
facing mankind. Because buildings contribute
about 40 percent of total emissions, they should be
at the frontline of the fight against global warning."
Nationally, the GARNAUT Climate Change
Review (2008), Australia's ratification of the
Kyoto Protocol (2008) and a growing body of
international evidence on climate change have
Sustainable design in commercial building space has reached a tipping point with its features and benefits
getting the nod from both the marketplace and the green crusaders. A design revolution is rolling through WA
with our new and existing buildings, their interior fitouts and even the way we work in them, undergoing change
and innovation. WORDS Sarah Szabo
235 St Georges Terrace (Bishops See building) was the first
commercial property in WA to achieve a 5 Star Green Star rating.
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