Alberto Lugo was ahead of his time in putting a premium on sustainable architecture. He was the first architect to design a building in New York that was made using only sustainable and recycled materials. His firm, Framing Futures Architectural Firm, continues to emphasize sustainable design. It also puts a priority on using sustainable construction methods and building materials. At the same time, he isn’t the only one in his field who realizes that architects need to step up to the plate and do their part to prevent climate change.
Lugo explains that the American Institute of Architects offers guidelines and resources to help architects create sustainable buildings. He explains why every single architect would do well to pay close attention to these suggested ways to combat climate change. He notes that every single architect has an important role to play in helping to make the world a more sustainable, eco-friendly place for future generations.
Alberto Lugo points to WEF stats that show buildings are responsible for 40% of energy usage and 33% of emissions. Construction companies often get a bad rap for this, he says. Nonetheless, builders only follow an architect’s design and instructions. They don’t pick the materials. They also don’t draw up building plans. The starting point for creating sustainable homes and businesses starts with architects. He recommends architects use the Carbon Smart Material Palette to pick sustainable construction materials. This palette, created by Architecture 2030, helps decrease the use of concrete and manufacturing steel. Manufacturing these two materials causes a lot of carbon emissions. Furthermore, they’re not easy to recycle and reuse.
Lugo also explains that sustainable architecture isn’t only about saving the world. Doing so is vital, of course. The UN stated in March 2023 that the planet is reaching the point of no return. Even so, there are monetary as well as altruistic benefits. Sustainable design and construction also offer some immediate benefits to investors and developers. More and more people are becoming aware of the importance of sustainable architecture. Thus, sustainable development could boost an investor’s reputation and generate goodwill. Second, sustainable building materials can lower the cost of building construction and operation. It can also increase livability in residential building projects.
Alberto Lugo reminds architects that they don’t have to “go it alone” when designing sustainable architecture. The AIA offers some great tools and resources for affordable yet sustainable building and design. There are also many selling points for sustainable design and construction. In the end, embracing sustainable architecture is a win-win for everyone involved. Architects are able to expand their skill set while gaining personal satisfaction from doing their part to make the world a better place. Developers and investors win because sustainable architecture lowers costs. It also improves their standing in the community. Finally, consumers win too. They benefit from the convenience and comfort that comes from living in sustainable homes and working in eco-friendly commercial buildings.