Dr. Ganesan Visvabharathy, founder of Hawthorne Development Corporation discusses the evolution of the built environment and green building standards necessary to achieve a zero-carbon society. A sustainable built environment is the foundation for lower energy use but will take a generation or more to put in place. Hawthorne recently completed two net-zero projects, the Eco Terra complex, a 348-unit luxury mixed-use apartment complex in Chicago that is the largest green project in the U.S., and MERU, a net-zero carbon and net-zero energy certified elder care facility in Virginia. “Dr. Vish” explains that the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program can set more aggressive standards to accelerate progress. We talk through the features to look for in a sustainable home or apartment, how construction is changing, and the most impactful changes a homeowner or landlord can make to reduce their environmental impact.
Hawthorne has been using green construction ideas since it was founded in 1984. The company has worked to ensure that buyers were able to maintain their homes easily to keep energy efficiency levels high, and uses building practices that help prevent erosion and reduce costs by, for example, using bioswales, rain gardens, and native plants instead of concrete stormwater runoff paths at building locations. You can learn more about Hawthorne Development Corporation at hawthorneworld.com and at solarmicronics.co.