Sustainable Building Experts Point to New Market Opportunities at German Embassy Forum
World-renowned green building experts from Germany and the US gathered at the German Embassy on Monday April 19, to discuss new market opportunities through sustainable building practices.
Giving the keynote speech at the event to mark the 40th anniversary of Earth Day, Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive on Environmental Quality, spoke of President Obama’s determination to “make sustainability a part of our mission.”
Enlarge image Michelle Moore, Federal Environmental Executive on Environmental Quality (© German Embassy)
Moore said that with 500,000 federal buildings in the U.S., there were many opportunities to make improvements in the US federal government, and that she was dedicated to “tracking and measuring performance, and having transparency so that the public can hold us accountable.”
William McDonough, the world-renowned architect and designer, spoke at the symposium with his business partner, Michael Braungart, the German chemist and designer.
Calling for a “world of quality not quantity,” McDonough said the philosophy he created with Braungart, which calls for the transformation of human industry through ecologically intelligent design, makes complete economic sense:
“We’ve done this as business people, working with business people, to create good business practices.”
Enlarge image Bill McDonough, at German Embassy's green building symposium (© German Embassy)
Michael Braungart added that there is no time “to push green building into a niche,” saying that “there is no green architecture – there is only good or bad architecture.”
Also speaking at the symposium was German designer Herbert Dreiseitl, who specializes in integrating art, urban hydrology, environmental engineering and landscape architecture.
Dreiseitl worked on the redesign of Potsdamer Platz in Berlin following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. Featuring water as a symbol for healing between East and West Germany, the busy urban center has now been rebuilt using sustainable materials and is a place where rainwater is collected from rooftops and is recycled.
Enlarge image Herbert Dreiseitl, German architect, at the German Embassy's green building symposium (© German Embassy)
Dreiseitl reiterated the importance of involving people and communities into sustainable design, saying that those projects that secure the buy-in of local people are cared for and used by their communities more, generate less vandalism and often have 50 percent less maintenance costs.
Stefan Behnisch, son of the well-known German architect Günter Behnisch, most known for the tent-like Olympic Park in Munich, also spoke at the symposium. He has a growing portfolio of American academic projects, including a new building on Harvard University’s new campus.
The all-day event was held as part of the German government’s “Transatlantic Climate Bridge” initiative, which aims to increase transatlantic communication and cooperation in the climate and energy arena.
The Embassy would like to thank the event's sposnors for their generous support:
eco ipso LLC
Ebert and Baumann Consulting Engineers
Geier Brown Renfrow Architects