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Environmental Architecture

NASA’s recent Sustainability Base project is an interesting step forward in the United States government’s involvement with the Green movement.

Their videolink for the project can be seen here.

What I find interesting is that the rhetoric for the project includes global ideas of climate change, which is a political hot-button.  Whereas I’m not opposed to efforts to stem climate change, I know several people who don’t believe in the theory (in addition to the various groups which oppose the idea).  There are arguments for and against this idea, but I think, personally, when an item gets too hot, its best not to touch it.  I prefer to look at the economic impact of the movement, and especially of NASA’s new Sustainability Building.

In an earlier article, I looked at the Solar Decathlon in DC, which has similar results to NASA’s new building.  What I liked about the two different projects was the use of renewable resources and the construction of buildings which would produce net zero energy (although I don’t see why NASA’s building shouldn’t attempt to mimic Team Germany’s structure and simply create an energy profit).  The reason I like these initiatives is the financial incentive.

In Conte and Langley’s Theatre Management Handbook, one of the operating expenses of any theatre house is building upkeep and maintenance.  These line items cost a good deal over time, and reduction in their cost allows for more expense for entertainment and, more importantly, education.  By creating and updating structures to help them reduce their upkeep costs and maybe even pay for themselves, managers can either generate more profit (always nice) or help assign income to other expenses and budgets.  Using more renewable resources allows for buildings to made and landscapes to expanded with a less destructive nature.

To clarify:

Matter can neither be created nor destroyed, so how is any building of a site destructive?  I think the proper definition for ‘destructive’ in this context should be ‘to be made inaccessible.’  In that case, creation simply means then, ‘to be made accessible.’  Which then means that finding alternative sources of energy and renewable resources are both creative acts, which by the same credit, refining current methods of energy production also achieves.


However, the danger in all these movements is balance.  It is hard to raise the funds necessary for a given project when diversity exists, and yet it is important, especially now, to have a diverse energy market which uses diverse sources and resources – otherwise, we exchange immediate surplus for an eventually drought.  Right now, it seems that we are facing a drought in the current supply of carbon fuels, and even with the various solutions available, the increased access to as-yet untapped resources proves to be another hot-button issue.  Therefore, I believe the more harmonious path is through diversity of energy resources as well as the development and refinement of more renewable energy.


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