Green design is no longer a niche market in building construction today. As energy and health costs have increased, demands for healthier, safer and environmentally friendly buildings have become the norm rather than the exception.
“(Green architecture) is becoming much more mainstream today,” says Heather Gayle Holdridge, sustainability manager for Lake|Flato Architects. “Virtually every project we are approached with today has some elements of green architecture included.”
The reasons for the growth in green architecture vary, but economics is certainly a driving force, Holdridge says, as building owners look for ways to keep down costs. Another big factor in some cases is social equity when clients seek to incorporate their mission and principles into building designs.
“Everyone wants it for different reasons and usually more than one,” she adds.
One of the emerging trends in green architecture is thinking more about the health of occupants when designing a new structure, Holdridge says.
“Because we spend up to 90 percent of our time indoors, people want to make sure they are working in a healthy environment,” she says. “So they want to know about the materials that are being used and they want to make sure the materials are coming from nearby and not being shipped in from some other country.”
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