What’s the best way to drive creativity, to push the boundaries of excellence, to raise the bar in any field? Well, it’s usually by engaging our competitive spirits, with skills pitted against skills, vying for first place and the respect and adulation of one’s peers. Recognizing and encouraging passion helps, too.
Well, not only is this true in the world of sports and the performing arts, it’s also true of architecture and design as it pertains to green building. Maybe this is not such as surprise, given that many technologies surrounding green building has sprung as much from a pioneering spirit as it has from the practical skills of designers and engineers all over the world.
There have been a number of high profile competitions, extended to young professionals in the fields of architecture and related fields, as well as to students, some of whom have made such competitions the focus of their studies. One such competition is the USGBC Natural Talent Design Competition, a six year old event that draws entrants from all over the world. The next event is due November 11-13, 2009.
Another event which similarly draws the best in green building innovation is the ASHRAE Design Competition, a LEED-focused competition which underscores the importance of integration into modern design, and not slavish ‘point chasing’ when it comes to LEED standards.
I think this last idea marks an important aspect to these kinds of competitions; the requirement for real-world transformation when it comes to planning, and building for this next century and beyond. It is well understood that at some point in our evolution in the building industry that the training wheels have to come off.
Right at the moment, we need guidelines like LEED to map out what defines greater efficiency and sustainability. But, the popularity of green building competitions to me are indicator that the industry is ramping up for a time when we don’t even have to think about how to make each building project an efficient one. It will be common practice to take the environment into account when embarking on any project.
The goal is all about integration, not only as it relates to resources, but also in terms of the way designers think about designing. And encouraging young up-and-coming designers by engaging their competitive spirits is not only prudent, it’s kind of fun, too.