William McDonough recently visited Dartmouth, where he completed his undergaduate studies in 1973. He spoke to students, and the remarks were covered in the Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science. Here’s an excerpt–
Dartmouth alumnus William McDonough (’73) spoke last Friday about his work in environmentally sustainable architecture and design. McDonough believes in the power of creative thought to help solve the problem of the negative impact of humans on the earth. He drove home his mantra, “being less bad is not being good.” McDonough also presented his conviction that there are ways to be good, and upcoming generations will be the leaders in these discoveries.
McDonough has worked on product design consultation for companies like Volvo and Kiehl’s as well as for the United States Air Force. His major architectural works include Nike’s European headquarters, which has one of the largest rainwater collection systems in Europe; Ford Motor Co.’s Rouge Center, which has one of the most expansive green roofs in the United States; and the Flow House in New Orleans, which is built sustainably and to withstand hurricanes.
McDonough has lofty ambitions. He wants the world to run on 100 percent renewable energy sources and every house to have a green roof that produces food to sustain the family that lives there. Being efficient—saving water and reducing waste while saving time and money—is just ruining the environment less quickly. Simply reducing waste is not good enough. McDonough believes in first “eco-effectiveness,” which he defines as “a human industry that is safe, profitable, and regenerative, producing economic, environmental, and social value.” Efficiency comes second. It is the job of designers, not company managers, to make this ideal combination a reality.
According to McDonough, we should reconstruct our plans for meeting these goals. We should not aim for a final goal of zero (i.e. zero carbon emissions, zero waste, etc.) in which the only solution seems to be zero human presence. Instead, as we reduce waste, we should also create new buildings and products that are both eco-efficient and eco-effective. We minimize what is “bad” and increase what is “good.”
You can see the full article at this link.