Sustainable design focuses on maintaining our current state of resources and handing this level over to future generations. Is this something society should be doing in the knowledge that one day these resources may diminish and deplete?
Where resources are low, we are limited to conserving what is available. Sustainable actions here ignore the problem of increased resource demand from rapid population growth, with the world total set to reach 9 billion people in 2050 from just 1.6 billion in 1900.
Innovative design should take into account the potential extinction of resources and focus on increasing them in a regenerative context. HMC architects are one of the firms proposing such an approach, empowering their employees to engage in regenerative design. The agency is actively fostering a culture of renewing nature and giving back to communities by focusing on progress within one of energy, water, or waste.
Potential examples could be schools producing excess energy to power surrounding buildings and hospitals running water management systems that provide irrigation water to its wider community. This opens up the possibility of revenue streams from such resource generation. HMC architects aim to educate clients through a thorough life cycle cost assessment that unravels the true cost of such design principles.
Ultimately the principle of regenerative architecture rests on the premise of sustainable technology; capture and store that which is naturally and freely available. Whether the idea of sharing and integrating these resources within the wider community will come to be a defining standard remains to be seen.