The Bullitt Center team worked for more than two years identifying products that did not contain Red List chemicals.
A deep green building is not a mere stylistic preference, like Art Deco or Brutalism. The decision to generate power with rooftop solar panels is not akin to selecting granite countertops.
Deep green buildings are a necessary component of resilient cities, and resilient cities are a strategic necessity if the current generation is to pass on a diverse, habitable planet to the next.
Cities must quickly evolve from impersonal, dystopian collections of megaliths into healthy, living ecosystems. Tomorrow’s cities will be designed on the basis of 200,000 years of Darwinian beta testing, using the fruits of modern science and technology to promote the well-being of people.
Tomorrow’s cities will consist of “living buildings” inside vibrant, resilient neighborhoods all connected by super-efficient transportation links.
Today’s living buildings, like the Bullitt Center, represent efforts to learn from nature how to exist comfortably and productively in a particular environment, making the least possible demand on resources.
If everyone on earth were to live like the average contemporary Japanese or German person—a not unreasonable goal—the planet would swiftly collapse from the demands for shelter, cars, commodities, meat, and the resultant degradation of the global environment*.
So we have to find new ways to live that can provide good health, comfort, productivity, and satisfaction without such negative consequences. That quest naturally starts with cities, where more than half of all people (and 80 percent of Americans) already live.
The world has no sustainable cities today. And no more than a handful of truly sustainable buildings — buildings that will still make sense 25 years from now.
The green building movement has made impressive progress around the world. But we are moving far too slowly and too incrementally in light of the challenges facing our planet. If we had 100 years to figure out the climate crisis, species extinction, or the buildup of toxic chemicals, the need would be less urgent. But we do not have 100 years, or even 20 years.