Marc, today's charrette was terrific. Thank you for your truly generous collaboration. You've caused me to turn a mental corner. Until recently, I thought that that to do really intelligent buildings, we'd need the right clients, the right engineers, and a premium budget. Thanks to you, I now believe that to do intelligent buildings all we need is INTELLIGENCE!—and the guts to ask the simple questions until we get the answers, and the courage of our convictions to persuade others...

We can do this and it will change things. You've empowered us. Thanks. –Ellen

Why We Do What We Do

In 1979, our inaugural Energysmiths brochure said:

“We are convinced that a sane, secure, and sustainable community can only be built on renewable energy sources.”

Over thirty years later, this still seems self-evident to me.  In addition, we have learned that good environmental buildings are places where people can thrive, as learners, as teachers, as ones needing healing and as ones providing healing, as workers – everyone can benefit.  So many of the strategies we use to create these buildings – daylighting, non-toxic materials, superinsulated envelopes, design for adaptability – enhance the experience of the building inhabitants, lower negative impacts on the natural world and its other-than-human inhabitants, extend the useful lifetime of the building, and make ownership of the building more affordable over time.  It’s a win-win situation all around.

As we create buildings and communities that transition from resource-using to resource-creating, we can share the Earth’s resources more equitably with all humans, future generations, and our other-than-human companions.  Environmental justice is a key ingredient of a peaceful and sustainable world.

I believe that the critical problems facing us humans result from what is ultimately a spiritual crisis, not an energy crisis or a funding crisis or a population crisis.  We in the industrialized world have become disconnected from the natural world and have lost the profound sense of the sacredness of the Earth and our interconnection with all life.  I believe that, when practiced at its highest level, environmental design leads us to create buildings and communities that connect us with the natural world and support our personal and planetary healing.

In the broadest context, I see my work in sustainable buildings and communities as the work of an Earth healer.  No one can do it alone, but as more of us see ourselves in this role, no matter how we manifest our own work, it will become easier to create the peaceful, just, thriving planet we dream of.  Please join me!