What is Green Building?
There are myriad reasons for embracing sustainable or “green” building. Quite often cost savings or environmental protection, health or durability are cited as compelling arguments for new buildings to follow the green building paradigm. These are all vital issues, yet, there is one feature of sustainable buildings that may be more important than all of these. Sustainability embodies our belief in the future and our care for those who come after us. A building that expresses these values offers the belief in a better future.
Buildings are not only practical embodiments of design, but cultural icons, as well, which demonstrate ideas to society. We believe that to create positive change, action at the level of culture will have more profound and enduring effects than politics, money, or science. Each sustainably designed and constructed building is part of an effort leading to the goal of positive environmental impact for the building, its construction, and its use. A successful green building project results in a building that is an enduring and tangible monument to the feasibility of a sustainable society.
A sophisticated sustainable design approach must consider not only the energy use, systems, materials, quality and design of the building, but also the process of building itself and the impacts of that process on the environment and the costs. The whole-building approach requires looking at all parts of the building and the building process to reveal opportunities to improve the final product at the lowest possible cost. A systems approach that encompasses the whole building process is indispensable to reach these goals. It is Hickory’s principle that true systems engineering engages the highest and all subsidiary levels of the system it intends to affect. Hickory’s work has revealed major opportunities to streamline the construction process by integrating best practices that are currently scattered throughout the industry. Our experience has demonstrated that energy efficiency, environmental performance, and quality can be successfully integrated into a development and construction process that actually reduces cost substantially.
Hickory’s work has been a steady progression toward identifying and systematizing design and development rules for successful projects. Our successful initiatives have resulted from that approach, and we feel that the impact of these ideas is extensive and growing. We see our ideas permeating the industry segments we have targeted and diffusing through other teams and projects. Once in place, sustainably designed buildings apply a continuous impetus for improvement in society that persists into the future. The icons we create are guideposts toward sustainable future societies.