The image of living in a steel cargo container usually conjures up scenes of poor, third-world communities, but Los Angeles architect Peter DeMaria sees their conversion into modern urban homes as an environmentally sustainable idea that will fit into most any neighborhood. While designer Frank Lloyd Wright was famous for his “destroy the box” philosophy, DeMaria
green building design
North America and Europe are typically viewed as the leaders in the green building marketplace. Collectively, they have thousands of commercial and residential properties certified under an alphabet soup of programs such as LEED, BREEAM, and HQE. However, the Chinese market is catching up quickly—with the force of the Chinese government behind it.
Without question, energy-efficient and sustainable homes are legitimately gaining popularity. A very high percentage of new homes built this year – I have seen estimates as high as 40 to 50 percent – will be “green.” According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, almost 17 percent of all single family homes built in the United States in 2008 qualified for the Energy Star label.
Unfortunately, green home demand still does not approach the demand for conventionally-built homes; and without proper education and marketing, sustainable design and building may not emerge from the housing recession as solidly as some would hope. There are many obstacles that stand in the way of total acceptance and an increased market share.
How “green” is “green?”
There are many local, regional, and national green-building certification programs – private sector and government initiated – that provide systematic approaches for mandating, quantifying and verifying sustainable building practices, but all of the programs are not created equally.