Parking Reduction is among the most basic sustainable solution we can implement as it allows us to replace blacktops with greenspaces. This reduces heat islands and impervious area which helps with stormwater control. Emphasis on outdoor engagement is being adopted in sectors of devel- opment beyond mixed use. We have seen healthcare facilities include things as simple as a walking trail around their property to something substantial like an outdoor therapy garden . On the office side, compa - nies have begun to encourage and teach mindfulness, outdoor spaces give employees a place of refugee from the technology overload that now exist within our office buildings. In the retail realm, the pandemic has created a heightened desire for outdoor dining and entertainment. These design types are better connected to nature and bring with them creative landscape opportunities. Millennials are the experience lifestyle generation; our Gen Z coun- terparts share many tendencies and are the most environmentally concerned generation. As Gen Z enters the work force and their buying power increases, I do not see the consumption of these lifestyles slow- ing down. Sustainable design is forward thinking, but when done right it can be future proofing. Makris also had thoughts to share on rating systems. These days it's hard to find a company that isn’t talking about adopting more sustainable practices. Although it’s become a buzzword, envi- ronmental sustainability is critical for making the Earth a better place to live and work. And, as it turns out, the construction industry has the potential to make a significant impact. According to the World Green Building Council, buildings account for 39 percent of global carbon emissions. Of that, 28 percent is caused by operational carbon – the emissions that result from heating, cool- ing, lighting, and operating a building once it’s complete – while the energy used to produce building and construction materials makes up 11 percent. The construction industry can have a substantial positive Connected Construction: The Next Frontier for Sustainability By Eric Harris
Early sustainability rating systems focused heavily on building design and left the outdoor space to the creativity of site designers. More recently the American Society of Landscape Architects led an effort to implement The Sustainable SITES Initiative (SITES) rating system that is now administered by the Green Business Certification, Inc. (GBCI) along with LEED and WELL rating systems. Regardless of sustainable certifications, there is always value in incor - porating some of these site planning strategies we mentioned. Sustainable site design is achievable and the possibilities are endless. If you’d like to learn more about sustainable design and how to incor- porate these methods into your next project, No Problem. Connect with our experts and get started today.
MIKE MAKRIS, P.E., is Project Engineer at BHC. Mike has been with the firm since 2016. Mike has a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University and is currently pursuing his MBA at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.
impact on both fronts by creating buildings that are environmentally friendly to own and operate, and by reducing material and resource waste during the construction process itself. Waste is all too common on construction projects today and is not only bad for the environment, but also cuts into budgets and diminishes a
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