Brisbane, 3rd August 2012
I am in Brisbane for meetings and discussions with our business partner in sustainability. We have embraced sustainability as an integral part of our lighting design practice and having a wider understanding of the need and impact of sustainable practices in general is in my opinion crucial as to place sustainability in lighting in context with the greater picture. Education of our clients is of course a key element in our work, but what I have found more and more important is to find ways to make sure that sustainability once implemented keeps up and improves along the way. Sustainability does not stop once a project is completed and commissioned, on the contrary that is when it should start and where you will come to see whether your design is actually sustainable…sustainable sustainability…
What is the point of designing a sustainable environment if during the projects actual life sustainability is gradually forgotten or relegated to the background due to “other” priorities or new commercial interests. A bit like fitness…you need to keep it up and make it a way of life. Obtaining a sustainability or green certification is easy, but can you keep it up, can you maintain or better still sustain it along the way.
From recent experience I start to see that most of the time people tend to fall back in old habits or go for cheap substitutes. This is mostly because the designers like ourselves are generally no longer involved in a project after commissioning. Despite preparing operational maintenance manuals, combined with the inevitable staff turnover, other company priorities and the lack of a regular benchmarking structure with checks and balances, keeping up with sustainability levels turns out to be a very difficult task.
This is the focus of my current interest…developing not only lighting design concepts that look great and full fill the visual requirements and enjoyment on completion, but developing it together with an infra-structure that allows a long term sustainable upkeep for many years to come. Teaming up with sustainability experts will help us develop this. I hope to share more about the sustained sustainability of lighting design in time to come 🙂
Light Watch 3-117: I don’t get to visit this side of Australia very often so it’s a chance to have a look around and compare cities, here are some images of Brisbane by night.