A Policy Agenda for Architecture and Design Firms and Clients on Green and Sustainable Design

On September 28-30, 2002, 85 design firm professionals and A/E/C leaders gathered on Nantucket, Massachusetts, for the Design Futures Council’s Architects’ Environment Summit. The think-tank session focused on analyzing, discussing,and debating the trends and issues that will influence green building and sustainable design over the next three years. During the event participants developed an action agenda to equip firms and organizations of all sizes with a recommended strategy agenda to facilitate the successful movement forward in green and sustainable design.

What follows was authored and unanimously agreed to by the Delegates of the Design Futures Council at the Architects’ Environment Summit, Nantucket, September 2002.

We extend a special thanks to the 2002 Design Futures Council’s Architects’ Environment Summit’s Delegates. Without each of their contributions these principles would not have been possible. Further, an additional thanks to those Delegates that edited and finalized this document over the past months.

Nantucket Principles: A Policy Agenda for Architecture and Design Firms and Clients on Green and Sustainable Design

Current practices in the design and construction of the built environment are contributing to ourAccelerating Environmental Crises.

The architecture, engineering, and interior design professions and their clients can be a critical part of the solutions … solutions that point to a bright, alternative Future.

Recognizing the fragility of our environment, design firms and clients should redefine themselves

  • To engage

  • To listen

  • To learn

  • To educate

  • To act

Toward a strong sustainable model.

It is time to operate under a new paradigm, a new set of values, a new set of ethics, and with new awareness of the impact of design.

Under these Nantucket Principles, design and construction organizations and clients commit to the principles of sustainable development,including:

  • Environmental Awareness

  • Social/cultural equity

  • Economic fitness

  • Public policy

  • Technological ingenuity

Design excellence shall incorporate by definition the meeting of sustainable principles. We believe that there is no conflict between sustainability and the art of architecture and design.

Our future and our solutions start here…today.

Design needs to focus on providing environments for life to flourish.

It is time to redefine our conscience and look toward expansion.

We must expand our view of the client to include tomorrow’s child.

We must expand our obligations to include the health of the public environment and the planet.

We must expand our consideration of the community, site, and space to always include the larger systems and influences.

We will integrate these models of sustainability in our future work:

Sustainable Development is that which meets all the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

Design for Sustainability requires awareness of the full short and long-term consequences of any transformation of the environment. Sustainable design is the conception and realization of environmentally sensitive and responsible expression as a part of the evolving matrix of nature.

From the U.N. Brundtland Commission, 1987. Part of the Hannover Principles, 1992.

The Nantucket Principles: An action agenda…next steps for architecture and design professionals and firms:

  • Lead with vision and integrity:

  • Hold a sustainable summit in your office to educate and empower your employees.

  • Develop a plan of action for your firm’s sustainable agenda.

  • Mandate firm and staff accountability toward sustainable action.

  • Empower internal flamekeepers to mentor staff and external flamekeepers to guide the firm to day-to-day sustainable action.

  • Build a Knowledge Base on sustainability within your firm.

  • Encourage your staff and fellow principals to actively participate in organizations that support green values.

  • Identify measurements of success: life cycles, issues, user success, durability, connection to the larger community.

Broaden the profession:

  • Become a more responsible professional and adopt the role of sustainable design educator within your firm, with your clients, and in your community.

  • Engage with design schools and listen to the students’ perspectives about sustainability.

  • Communicate the benefits of sustainability to the client and community at large, including research, shared knowledge and case studies.

  • Connect with fellow design professionals, schools and other contributors
    to the industry to plan future directions toward sustainability.

  • Develop a process which points to a holistic approach to sustainability
    that involves all disciplines (i.e. community, public sector) and seemingly
    unrelated or unexpected disciplines that can add value.

Redefine success goals in terms of service

  • To the users.

  • To the community.

  • To your clients.

Collaborate with leaders in your region to align larger development strategies that are more inline with sustainable principles, including:

  • Transit/development solutions.

  • Preservation of larger natural eco-systems.

  • Commitment to existing urban centers.

  • Reducing dependence on fossil fuel.

  • Promote the development and use of ecological sustainable building products and components.

Envision your future victory and celebrate each increment of success. Sustainability is now clearly an ethical issue for us as professionals.

It shall be reflected in all of our future work.

Authored and unanimously agreed to by the Delegates of the Design Futures Council at the Architects’ Environment Summit, Nantucket, September 2002.