How Sustainable Building Will Shape the Future

What is Sustainable Building?

A sustainable building is one that has sustainable initiatives within the building, which are evident in the way materials and other resources are used to achieve water and energy efficiency as well as maintaining healthy indoor environmental quality. Sustainable buildings, also known as green buildings, also have two other common objectives. One objective is to protect the employee or user’s health and increase productivity. Lastly, the objective of the sustainable building is to reduce the ecological footprint of said building, while reducing waste and pollution.


Why some dislike sustainable buildings

Sustainable buildings are quite often more expensive than your typical, everyday building. This can be a great disincentive to business owners or even potential homeowners. Green buildings also do happen to be delayed when under construction due to the restricted ability to attain certain materials required in erecting the building. While all green buildings do not have to have natural ventilation it could cause a problem with owners of green buildings as there is one great issue concerning natural ventilation. Natural ventilation in itself can cause rise to trouble with building owners as there is no proper temperature regulation due to the presence of air from the outside working as ventilation within the aforementioned buildings. The location of the structure has to be in a place that allows you to take advantage of natural resources to allow for greater usage of renewable and green resources. This could prove to be more costly and give you the threat of an environmental change to restrict your access to, for example, sunlight.

Fukuoki Sustain


How the problems of detractor’s are addressed

Concerning the greater upfront cost of purchasing a green building, when looking at the return on investment of conservation of resources, namely water, electricity, and gas, the extra costs are neutralized within a few years and after that begin to gain money through savings. When constructing the buildings, the government offers tax rebates upon buildings with certain attributes, with a primary example being a tax rebate for buildings using renewable resources. While green buildings do often get delayed while undergoing construction, this can be easily fixed by having all materials ready beforehand and having a good architect to give you a correct estimate on how long the construction time will take. Supplementary heating and cooling systems used at a minimal level can solve natural ventilation’s lack of typical temperature regulation and airflow control. The problem concerning the location, however, is not one that can be fixed without great effort, but it can be fixed with creative problem solving.



Why even create and use green or sustainable building?

The environmental impact of regular buildings throughout the world is substantially greater than anyone would assume. Buildings account for 41% of the world’s energy use and 73% of energy usage in the US. Energy and demand is estimated to increase greatly in the near future. This greater requirement of energy would result in a greater amount of environmentally unfriendly resources to be consumed creating an even greater impact upon the environment in which we live. Someone the things that consume the most energy within buildings are addressed by sustainable design within sustainable buildings. Buildings throughout the U.S. account for 39% of greenhouse gas emissions and using green buildings to reduce CO2 emissions substantially would solve this issue. Throughout the world, buildings use 13.6% of all potable water, which is roughly 15 trillion gallons of water per year. This absurd figure can be reduced by green building’s increased efficiency concerning the usage of resources. While also being environmentally beneficial, sustainable buildings have also been proven to increase productivity and happiness within the user of aforementioned buildings, while also lowering the costs per user. Through increased efficiency of using resources, the annual utilities cost per employee in green facilities was $675.26 lower than in non-green facilities. In a study done by Notre Dame professors, workers in a certified green building were found to be more productive and engaged in their work, while also seeing a greater amount of revenue in banks residing in green buildings than those in non-green buildings. Finally, through the impact upon human users and the impact upon the environment and the user’s wallet, sustainable building is proven to be what the future needs and what the future will hold for buildings as a whole.

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Overview of Green Buildings: Chapter 1

Transition to Sustainable Buildings: Strategies and Opportunities to 2050 (Executive Summary)

The Business Case for Green Building

Buildings and Climate Change (USGBC)

Notre Dame’s Professorial Study


Creative Writing Did Design Thinking Before it was Cool

Empathy, innovation, collaboration, and Human Centered Design are heralded as must-have skills in an ever-changing marketplace. As so-called “21st century skills” are being sought after, many are looking at how these skills are being taught in education. Fortunately, a big factory of these skills has been quietly churning away: the High School Creative Writing Workshop.


At Trinity Valley, the structure of a workshop inherently values 21st century skills. Students answer a prompt, working independently for a week or two on a first draft of a piece. Then, students are matched with a partner to peer-revise, where they markup a printed draft with comments and feedback about what is, and more importantly, what is not working within the piece. Then students use that feedback to iterate, and come back to the workshop with a more polished second draft.


This draft then enters the actual “workshop” part of the workshop, where everyone trades their pieces in advance, and each student comes to class with comments on every other student’s piece, ready for discussion. What transpires is a fast-paced, constructive, feed-back seminar in which hundreds of comments are given and discussed in the course of forty-five minutes. The process itself employs iteration, collaboration, and creative thinking, all of which are necessary for the Design-Thinking framework.


Beyond the organization of the class, the act of writing rewards empathy. Any introduction to fiction will spend a great deal of time discussing characters, especially how to make them realistic, and human. A common exercise is for students to go to a public place— say, a coffee shop— and to listen to the various conversations, and imagining the context. Writing fiction is putting yourself in someone else’s shoes, and pants, and shirt, and so on. It is one of the most thorough ways to practice empathy, and unsurprisingly, the best works of fiction are the most relatable.


Finally, Creative Writing is about taking risks. It’s hard to know if a new piece is brilliant or misguided before sharing it with someone else. Regardless, the class is about taking the strengths of an idea, and iterating until it is done.

Saving a Dying Sport


Golf has been around for centuries and enjoyed by many people, young and old. However, this beloved sport is slowly beginning to die. The participation rate for golf has dropped by 30% just by Millennials alone. What is causing this lack of interest in the sport? One reason, it takes around four hours to play a full round of golf (18 holes) and the pace is just too slow in today’s fast-paced world. That is, until a new way to play the game was introduced fairly recently. TopGolf, a family friendly place, has overall saved the sport of golf by making it a more fun experience for all ages.

Range TopGolf

Who Plays TopGolf?

There are currently only 37 TopGolf locations. 34 of which are in the United States and 3 that are in the United Kingdom. Each of these TopGolf facilities make around $24.4 million a year ($239,000 per golfing bay) and they altogether bring in 26,000 people per day.  In 2016, they calculated that 65% of people who go there (37% being non-golfers and 28% being golfers who play once to a few times a year) barely play golf and the remaining 35% are more frequent golfers. What makes so many people want to go to this place and play golf all of a sudden and what brings people back to do it all again?

More Than a Sport

At TopGolf, people are encouraged to battle against their friends in multiple mini-games that challenge people to hit their furthest or aim for a specific target.  While playing the games, the guests can enjoying a meal, snack, or drink, watch a sports event on T.V., and even have a good laugh at a friend who can barely hit a golf ball. TopGolf is a group event that attracts people of all ages, but, the majority of people who come are in the age range of 18-34 (53%). For almost 86% of attendants (people being of drinking age), TopGolf provides a new club experience with the vivid lights surrounding you and a contemporary theme. Night is the mTopGolf Barost popular time for people to come and play TopGolf because of the attraction and beauty of the lighting scheme. The average time spent at TopGolf is around 2-3 hours and this time usually involves a 30-60 minute wait for an open bay (reserved golfing area). During this time, people typically start to have their meals and begin to drink early at the large bar area that also serves as a restaurant. After the wait, you are taken to your bay to play TopGolf for however much time you chose (1.5-2 hours is the average time spent at a bay). Being able to chose the amount of time you want to play is a major reason for it’s popularity. Overall, TopGolf helps save time and they use their facilities to make the sport of golf a party, and a more fun sport, for all ages. Golf has always brought people together for bonding purposes and TopGolf provides a wonderful setting to spend time with friends, co-workers, and family. At TopGolf, party events can be scheduled to rent out a few bays, or even a whole floor.  Businessmen also enjoy the facility while playing golf and making business deals. That is the point of TopGolf, to bond with one another over a meal and enjoy a more fast-paced round of golf.

Making a Change

In 2000, the Jolliffe brothers began practicing their golf swings at a leveled driving range in the United Kingdom and felt that their experience was decent, but could be improved. The brothers were truly curious towards knowing how far the ball was actually going and how close to the hole they got. They then had the idea to try and figure out a way to microchip golf balls and create targets that would tell you exactly where your ball landed and how close to the hole you were. It took three years for the first TopGolf to be created and it was nothing like the ones we see today. The first TopGolf had a bigger restaurant, was not as colorful, and had various menu issues. Although it was still a major attraction, it called for renovation and change. In 2007, two years after the opening of America’s first TopGolf in Alexandria, Virginia, the new head of marketing, Susan Walmesley, had the idea to try to change the look of TopGolf and make it more attractive to upcoming generations of the 21st Century.

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She created an “X Factor” style for job interviews having applicants create new menus, ideas for events, and new business strategies on the spot. Ideation played a major role into turning TopGolf in a different direction and making it something for all people to enjoy. By hearing the many ideas of these applicants, TopGolf changed their lighting, menu items, and music events.  In 2010, a new version of TopGolf had been created in Allen, Texas, grossing over $1,000,000 in just the first four weeks after its grand opening (an all-time high for the company).  Change really is for the better, but only when that change has been thought over and compared to many other ideas that could potentially be just as good. TopGolf has not stopped improving and will continue to change to attract all types of people to get involved in the evolving sport of golf.