What are you working on?
Primarily, we are working on issues related to environmental sustainability within the urban construction environment. A key feature of that is energy effi ciency, particularly as it relates to buildings, indoor air quality, and quality of life for people within buildings. We teach people about sustainable building concepts, try to persuade them to employ these concepts, and hopefully reach the point where those in and around construction recognize the pursuit of these goals as vital and necessary.
What is the current state of building technology in the United States and in the world? It varies from country to country. In Western Europe, particularly in Germany, people are much more aware of environmental issues. They really have done a better job of including sustainable concepts in some of the new buildings that are being erected. In the U.S., that awareness is just beginning.
Let me give you an example. Are you familiar with the Genzyme building on the other side of campus?
On the outside it looks like a fairly ordinary building, but on the inside it is absolutely wonderful. It employs a number of new sustainable concepts such as means of bringing in daylight and using natural ventilation to provide better indoor air quality. There are a few good examples of this type of thinking here in the U.S., but so far it has been the exception rather than the rule. Unfortunately, in most of the U.S. developments the primary concern is lowest first cost. People don’t yet realize the signifi cant advantages inherent in sustainability.
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