From Green to Ecological, but what is Better in the property industry?

20130909-083256.jpg In the awesome book “Is sustainability still possible?” there was a table that described the need for a shift in our economic models and that ‘green’ is only an intermediary step. The outcome of the final model is ‘Better’ but what is ‘Better’, tell me what you think it is for your chance to win the awesome book “Is sustainability still possible?”.

The models were described as:

Current Economic Model – More
Green Economic Model – More but with less environment impact
Ecological Economic Model – Better

The shift from the current economic model to the green economic model has followed the process of decoupling ‘green’ from growth for example the soon to be abolished australian carbon tax or the classification of a ‘green premium’ for an energy or green rating. By decoupling the environmental benefit from GDP growth or property value growth we have moderately successfully reduced the environmental impact of a fair proportion of the property industry.

We have systems in place such as Nabers, Green Star and Basix that have provided a mechanism for reducing the environmental impact of ‘more’, systems that purposely didn’t stretch us beyond the ‘more’ model but what will define the next step?

The next step is the ecological economic model, described as Better in the State of the World Report. But what is better?

Let us look at a wikipedia definition of Ecological Economics, it “aims to address the interdependence and coevolution of human economies and natural ecosystems over time and space. It is distinguished from environmental economics, which is the mainstream economic analysis of the environment, by its treatment of the economy as a subsystem of the ecosystem and its emphasis upon preserving natural capital.”

The image above best describes the Ecological Economics model. The economy is wholly contained by society, which is contained within the planetary lives of our environment. Slightly different from the 2000s triple bottom line Venn diagram where happiness is the sweat spot in the middle where all parties are happy.

The Ecological Model’s primary concerns are our carrying capacity, our need for economic allocation, the role of governance and property rights. It’s emphasis is on the preservation of natural capital.

So what would define Better in the property industry?

The best definition of ‘Better’ for the property industry in the Ecological Economic Model posted in the comments below has a chance of winning a free copy of the State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible, competition closes October 7th 2013.

3 Comments on “From Green to Ecological, but what is Better in the property industry?

  1. ‘Better’ buildings or properties would be ones that restore the environment rather than just make it ‘less bad’; Where the function of the land that is built on is enhanced by the building and the construction materials are consciously derived from sources that aren’t depleted; Where design incorporates the entire building life and beyond – construction, use, end of life and the start of a new building. And where the success of a building is measured on the net outputs of the occupants.

  2. Pingback: We can’t decouple economic growth from the limits of our planet « SIMON WILD

  3. Pingback: Has apathy killed the environmentalist star? « SIMON WILD

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