are green buildings usable?

It seems we are becoming awash with green buildings, eco homes and eco towns.

There are some great sites out there with green architecture eye candy (check out Mad Architecture for example).

We have some major and significant conferences and events on the horizon – from the international Eco City 2008, Green Build 2008 and West Coast Green, here in the UK Think 08, and more locally the Elevate Exemplar event in September and the Lancs Best Practice Club July event.  All very different and important to their target audiences.

Even in Second Life there are great green and sustainable ‘built environment’ demonstration and education projects

And yet in all the design, conferences, events and working groups I see very little about the usability of green buildings – what is it like to work, live and play in them?  What does the comfort level  within (and around) green building do for health, for productivity and for well being?  What is it really like to be a citizen of a eco-city such as Auroville?

Once again I am convinced its not the building – green or other wise – but the way we use buildings that is paramount importance on the sustainability agenda – as Prof Keith Alexander down at the Center for Facilities Management comments – its about building consumption – not production. 

Time to turn the telescope around?  Is the green / sustainability movement in the built environment stuck in the building production with eye candy design, at the expense of the usability of the buildings?

As a Friday comment – I am throwing down a challenge for comments and evidence – are  Green Buildings usable?

I invite guest posts here and links to sites that discuss this issue.

4 thoughts on “are green buildings usable?


    Very interestingly, I intend to write my M.Sc dissertation in the field of Intelligent buildings.
    This paraphrase “Time to turn the telescope around? Is the green / sustainability movement in the built environment stuck in the building production with eye candy design, at the expense of the usability of the buildings?” finally helps me streamline my thoughts on incorporating the intelligent buildings, sustainability with useability for the dissertation title.


  2. Pam Renoir (SL)

    I think that you are right – how many times do we rush in to adopt a new concept without really analyzing it as we should. Yes, green building is a good idea, but there should be intelligent discussion and analysis on how best to apply the concept and the technologies.

    Also, I just found a site with a related story that you might be interested in. There is a discussion of creating a building that seems to provide everything you would need to live. Here is the URL:


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