Going for the numbers
Singapore 20th March 2012
The sustainability subject keeps coming up…Maybe because I am really passionate about it and hence keep thinking (and thus writing) about it. Today I attended a lecture called “Sustainable Design and its Impacts on Bio-diversity” at the Singapore Management University, organised by the Banyan Tree Foundation and supported by Earth Check and N-Parks. The speakers, Dr Richard Moore and Dr Lena Chan were moderated by Mr Michael Kwee from Banyan Tree and Mr Stuart Moore, CEO from Earth Check.
As a lighting design company we have the responsibility to deliver the best practice and value for money solutions to our clients. Ironically it is now labelled sustainable design, but really, weren’t we not doing that all along as professional lighting design specialists? The fast development of the LED lighting technology somehow found a companion in sustainability to give further credibility to the technology and its products.
Unfortunately this has come with clients who go after the numbers to claim gold or platinum LEED or Green Mark/Star status to market themselves as a green and environmentally responsible company. The result however is that most of these certifications are only considering the environmental impact from the design and construction, but do not really look at the operational site or human aspects of the design. Hence many of the so called “green” projects are not so sustainable after all. It has become a game of numbers, as a certified green and sustainable project can deliver far higher property values (up to 30% I have been told). So by just crunching the numbers to achieve platinum LEED classification for instance, the property suddenly increases 30% in value!
However, speaking in lighting terms, we do not design for lux or watt meters, we design for people! So achieving these numbers does not mean that we have actually created a liveable and sustainable environment! There is still a way to go in creating sustainable guidelines in the true sense of what sustainability is meant to be…not just watts per square meters.
Light Watch 3-39: One of the speakers today was Lena Chan from N-Parks who has been instrumental in delivering sustainability and bio-diversity in all their developments. One of the latest of these developments due for opening later this year is Gardens by the Bay.