The Forest for the Trees - DCoop Defines Sustainable Design

If you've ever been privy to any number of conversations that I've had be it during last week's Interior Designer Chat or during my walk of the Greenbuild expo in San Francisco or even any number of one on one conversations that I've had with so many of you both on- and off-line, you know that I'm a big pushover for green... ahem... sustainable design. 


I can't help it. 

Over the course of my somewhat short (though giant for my young age) career, I've born witness to just how wasteful and inefficient the design and construction industries can be.  See I design mostly commercial interiors.  Tenant Improvements if you will.  Offices, industrial properties, restaurants, retail spaces, educational facilities. And I do it five thousand, ten thousand, forty thousand square feet at a time.  Over 13 years of design, that number for me totals nearly one million square feet of office and industrial facilities conceptualized, spaceplanned, and designed. 

So for me, it isn't just about one LED light fixture or an individual dual flush toilet or a single group of lighting controls.  My projects measure energy not in watts but in kilowatts or more recently, megawatts.  They do not measure water use in gallons but in tens of thousands of gallons.  And occupancy isn't by the single family but by the hundreds of occupants, workers and visitors.  Let's just say that I'm dealing with much more expansive forests.

Can you see my passion?

And I'm not even drinking tonight (serious posts and all....)

Actually I've lost my train of thought.  Wait for it.....

During last week's chat I was asked to define my idea of sustainable (ie: green) design.  Mind you this was on Twitter and although  I've grown quite accustomed to putting out a thought in 140 characters or less, defining sustainability just wasn't going to fit.  And even still, trying to fit that much thought into one itty bitty tweet is like me trying to fit into the absolutely darling size 12 Stuart Weitzman patent leather Mary Jane heels when I channeled June Cleaver for Halloween one year.  I'm sure that I don't have to explain to you just how that played out.

But after pondering just what it meant to my own design process, I realized that it all comes down to one singular goal. 

The Betterment of the Human Experience.

It comes down to creating environments for individuals and groups alike that are healthy and provide a better experience (whether the user realizes or not) for both current and future generations.   Giving the current generation a leg up while leaving something better behind for the next generation. 

In truth, all of the function of sustainable design, be it on a massive scale as in urban environments (think the High Line in New York City) or something as simple as a singular kitchen faucet, comes down to improving on the lives of the users who occupy themselves with the existence of these functions.

In any course, I wanted to leave you with a little video prepared by my great friends over at Brizo featuring none other than the spectacular (and very cute) Judd Lord.  Take a moment and listen as he and fellow enthusiast Randy Morton give their take on just how their own industries are working to make that singular goal a possibility.

Many thanks to Brizo & Architectural Digest for sharing!