Promote Green Design, Reader Suggests

Dear Janice,

In reading the Pro to Pro section of Kitchen & Bath Design News, I find myself surprised by how many professionals in this industry seem to sit back and wait for clients to request things. The reality is that we are the designers, and we should be guiding our clients and the direction our industry should be heading.

This is especially true when it comes to green design issues. Living in Hawaii and being surrounded by water, we are especially cognizant of environmental issues. The eco system we live with is fragile and if we do nothing, the beauty we enjoy today will be gone forever

My fiancé is the head of a commercial real estate division for the largest regional bank in Hawaii, and he made the decision some 14 months ago to convert the entire operation over to a LEED certified environment. Their new buildings, remodels and existing structures will employ sustainable materials and state-of-the-art Energy Star systems. Although this may not seem like a lot, the ocean levels in Hawaii have already risen 9" and are expected to rise several feet in the next few years. Rising seas mean water tables that cause havoc for buildings a mile or more away from the ocean.

We recently returned from Toronto after attending a conference by one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms, and the focus was on going green. Not only was the subject matter green related, but the conference itself stepped ahead of the crowd and went 100% green.

Over the years, the kitchen and bath industry has changed how people live in their homes. The kitchen triangle has become a matter of course, as have ergonomically placed countertops and appliances, safety bars in baths, etc. Green design is the next logical step.

We as designers have the power to change the world and influence our clients into going green. We need to educate ourselves to educate them.

I recently began working with a team that includes a builder, architect and project manager, and going green will always be a consideration in our projects. As design professionals, we need to look ahead and set the path, helping our clients embrace design that is good for the future of our planet. And if you think going green costs more, think again. That’s not the case and there are numerous white papers to support this claim.

Cheri Villberg, CMKBD, ASID
Honolulu, HI

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