4. Amanda Sturgeon

It is no secret that buildings play a big role in degrading the state of our planet. According to Worldwatch Institutes estimates, buildings consume at last 40% of the energy utilized in the world each year and in doing so, generates one-third of the carbon dioxide as well as two-fifths of the greenhouse gases that are released into the atmosphere.

Sustainability can be defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of the future generations to meet their needs. The inspirational woman that I have chosen to present is called Amanda Sturgeon and she is an individual that pioneers for sustainability and the creation of efficient buildings that will bring us to “the future we hope for and not the tomorrow that we fear” by using green building principles. According to the Governor’s Green Government Council, green buildings are basically projects that maintain and restore habitats that are vital for sustaining life. Green buildings become a net producer and exporter of resources, materials, energy and water rather than consuming and are supposed to create a healthy environment for the occupants whilst also disrupting the least amount of nature energy and resources.

Amanda Sturgeon is the CEO of the International Living Future Institute which is known for challenging architects to build green and use sustainable methods during construction. She is an award-winning architect in the Pacific Northwest where she has been practicing for approximately 22 years. Her projects often involve creating new concepts and ideas related to green building projects such as Biophilic Design. Amanda was a founding board member of the Cascadia Green Building Council in 2000-2002: a council that’s main goal is to help set a global vision for the transformation toward true sustainability supporting solutions to build efficiently. She has participated in various boards and committees and not only that but she has also taught at the University of Washington as well as Bainbridge Graduate Institute where she provides her students with lectures that focus on Biophilia as a pathway to a restorative future. Amanda was even elected as a Fellow of the American Institute of Architects and made a LEED Fellow in 2013 in recognition of her pioneering commitment to advancing sustainability through advocacy, policy and practice which is a big deal since LEED is a worldwide program that was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving the performance of buildings focusing on the issues concerning traditional buildings that matter most like saving energy, water savings, water savings and greenhouse gas reductions.

I can relate to her because I’m studying in a similar field as her. I’m in the Architectural Technology program at Vanier and green building is a movement that’s becoming more and more popular and talked about in class since many architects now recognize that building construction is a main component in causing global warming. It’s not a well known statement but buildings alone are said to consume 48% of all energy used in the USA. Now that I have a good idea of all the energy needed to produce building materials and then to operate homes once their built, I also aspire to build green in the future in order to preserve our planet for generations to come and I really hope that more architects gravitate towards building sustainably although it might be more costly. 

She’s different from me since she is a lot more knowledgeable about green building. I’ve only been introduced to the movement but she’s been actively contributing and supporting it throughout her daily life. She is so devoted and passionate about the environment. I am just learning about the concept and as a student, haven’t gotten the opportunity to build whilst applying sustainable methods. I also think that she is more innovative than I am considering she created a whole new concept of green design: biophilic design. This concept aims to bring in more than just fresh air, daylight and views within a building. It’s main goal is to incorporate nature within the building since it’s known to have created an interactive design that allows individuals to be immersed in nature since it allows for more productivity. Not only that but by using natural light and cross-ventilation, it reduces energy consumption therefore mitigating our reliance on electricity and fossil fuels. Also, by using local materials, it reduces the carbon impact that stems from transporting the materials from other places in the world. 

I decided to choose her because I admired her passion for green building as well as all the hard work she puts into using her platform as an architect to influence others to adopt sustainable measures when designing buildings. I also appreciate her dedication and determination to build green and find that she’s a great role model and inspiration for me to follow in the architecture industry. I also chose her because I was genuinely interested in her concept of biophilic design since it touches on various subjects my fellow classmates and I analyze in class and I wanted to be more familiar with her work and was curious to see how it differentiates from other green building concepts like passive houses, net-zero homes, R-2000 homes and more.  

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