Harvard Symposium Discusses Future of Green Building

Harvard Center for Green Building and Cities hosted a challenge last month. Industry and academic leaders came together to debate the pressing issues facing green building. Some of the topics discussed include the best course of action in the implementation of emerging solar technology, to how city planners and developers could utilize mapping tools which would shift their thinking to a more regional scale. The experts at the congress acknowledge the ambition of their mission. One of the keynote speakers at the conference, Jerold Kayden, stated that climate change is the “central issue – the existential issue- of our time.” The men and women who decide how to construct buildings, urban areas, and beyond have an integral role in this pressing problem.

Experts and industry leaders meet to discuss the future of green building

Experts and industry leaders meet to discuss the future of green building

The center, which was created last year, has established a number of long-term research projects. These projects have four primary focuses: raising the economic incentives that impact the adoption rate of sustainable methods and materials; improving modeling techniques to better assess how structures interact with the surrounding environment; examining certain regulations that could provide encouragement for sustainable planning on a national and international scale; developing high-performance materials and techniques for eliminating waste.

Additionally, one of the recurring messages in the conference was the necessity to debunk the notion that sustainable planning/architecture should be seen as an additional expense to the construction process. If done correctly, many experts point out that incorporating sustainable techniques and materials can often prove to be less costly in the short and long-run.  It is also important to note how these structures interact with their surroundings, and that the next step should be planning large scale adoption in developed nations.   Industry leader, Alejandro Murat, reminded the audience of the fact that “houses aren’t islands.” Murat believes it is the responsibility of architects, and urban planners to push for policies that are equally effective as they are efficient. They need to be aiming to create dense, green cities in which men and women hope to live.  Speakers also noted that reason for the conference itself is that the demand for green construction is larger than the industry’s ability to deliver.  The challenge lying ahead is immense, but with the proper allocation of resources and thought is one that can be overcome.