Our Eyes Are Open – Sustainable Design Strategies

June 30, 2021

Award Magazine, June 2021, by Natalie Bruckner

COVID has had more of an impact on sustainable design than we could have perhaps ever imagined. It has made us hyper-sensitive to our human health and the health of the planet’s entire ecosystem and made people acutely aware of the need for biophilic and regenerative design.

Lindsay Austrom, Team Lead, Sustainability at Williams Engineering Canada says the pandemic was a bit of a wake-up call in realizing how much we rely on systems and our community, adding that the crisis that came out of the pandemic in many ways resembles the crisis we face with climate change. “We know it’s coming and we need to get our act together. We need to adapt to changes coming like forest fires, heatwaves, and cold snaps, and understand how to mitigate the risks associated with those changes. The Texas cold snap was an example
of that; they reached a tipping point and a crisis occurred,” says Austrom. As a result, people are considering the potential impacts of climate change with a bit more gravity. “At Williams, we are looking more and more at the vulnerability of buildings as a result of climate change, whether that is new construction or extending the life of an existing building. People are also looking to see what they can do in their sphere of influence.”

One of the big challenges Williams is seeing is in identifying priorities and breaking them down to make the most sense for each individual client. “While for some clients, electrification or renewables may make sense now, for others, it will be a case of waiting or looking at other solutions. There is no one-size-fits-all solution,” explains Austrom.

Read the full article Award Magazine – Our Eyes Are Open – Sustainable-Design-Strategies