Color My Life Green

Almost more than five weeks ago, I decided to change the color of my life. After living the bold strokes of the natural Painted Desert for the past ten years, there was a yearning for different shades of Green. I took my cue from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), and found myself moving to a "Sustainable Site" that would allow me to have an almost zero carbon and low-carb lifestyle.

The guidelines I chose in making this life-altering decision was molded by the five environmental categories of LEED. In this specific blog entry, I'll focus on the first of five: Sustainable Sites.

My sustainable lifestyle (Site) is centered in an urban area where there are more than 10 basic services that include a bank, convenience grocery, day care, cleaners, beauty salon, laundromat, library, medical/dental, park, pharmacy (there's one in every block!), post office, restaurant (the whole street level is flooded with good places to eat), supermarket, theater, fitness center, and museum---all within less than a half-mile from homebase. Access to these services are pedestrian-friendly. Because of this strategic location, I am able to utilize alternative transportation: my shoes. I find that my vehicle-dependency became less and less and this results in reduction of my contribution to pollution and other adverse impacts of automobile usage. By this bold move alone, I've realized that I have drastically reduced my carbon emissions by more than fifty percent.

This new home I refer to is Chicago, dubbed as the "Greenest City" in the USA. An architecturally-rich palette that became the canvass for a lot of Frank Lloyd Wright's landmark buildings.

LEED(r) is a registered trademark of the US Green Building Council


Anonymous said...

The choice to live in the urban center makes a lot of sense for the reasons you mentioned. I see it like this, a young professional type moves to the city's core, works, plays, and lives an upbeat life until marraige happens and then kids, at which time a move to surburbia is more likely with highly regarded schools, Macy's, Starbucks, and the dojo all a short commute away. Then years past, the kids go to college, get jobs, and a return to the City's core seems attractive again with the senior center a short stroll away from church. Here in California, developers market a similar version of a sustainable lifestyle with planned communities, a return to the past where the idea of life's amenities a short distance away from pedestrian friendly neighborhoods and places of work. Some are done well like in Celebration, Florida, however most are located so they fit in master planned growth areas, away from established work centers, shopping, and medical centers. Other strategies with transportation come to mind, with carpooling, mass transportation, and fuel efficient/low emmission vehicles. Anyway, some thought will surely need to be given about how sustainable or green things really are. As architects, we always look for efficiencies wether labled green or not, and now the market forces have created a credit that could be obtained for simply doing our jobs.

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