As the year end approaches and we count down to the new year, we want to take a moment to reflect on the year in design. 2006 has been a pivotal year for green design. With the success of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, and books like Worldchanging & Design Like You Give A Damn, 2006 seemed to be the year that environmental design went mainstream. In our opinion, here were the most pivotal moments for green design in 2006:


1. AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH
Al Gore’s documentary may prove to be one of the most influential films of our generation. A true call-to-arms, An Incovenient Truth brought to light some terrifying realities about global warming and the future of our planet, while inspiring the masses to take action.

An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore, Global Warming
.

2. HURRICANE KATRINA’S AFTERMATH
In the wake of such a large-scale and devastating natural disaster, we’ve seen designers respond to Hurricane Katrina through a variety of inspiring projects, initiatives, and competitions. From the New Urbanists’ $35,000 Katrina Cottage to a slew of design competitions including Global Green’s GreeNOLA initiative and Architectural Record’s Designing the Future of New Orleans competition, designers, architects, and non-profits have joined forces to produce some truly innovative and humanitarian projects.

Katrina Cottage, Katrina Cottage versus FEMA trailer, Cooper Hewitt National Design Awards, People's Choice Award
.

3. DESIGN LIKE YOU GIVE A DAMN
Architecture For Humanity’s book was hugely inspirational for many of us here at Inhabitat, reminding us that there are people out there who actually DO give a damn about sustainability and socially responsible design.

Design Like You Give a Damn, Architecture For Humanity, Cameron Sinclair
.


5. ADVANCES IN SOLAR POWER

With photovoltaic efficiencies now approaching 40%, and the cost of the technology falling fast, solar power made big gains in 2006. I hope we will look back at 2006 as the year that solar power finally started approaching its potential as the power of the future.

Building Integrated Photovoltaics, Solar Power roof tiles
.

4. THE RISE OF SOCIALLY-CONSCIOUS MANUFACTURING
With commited companies like Artecnica leading the way, designers are more often turning to more sustainable, socially conscious and affordable manufacturing practices, by engaging co-opts and fair trade craft guilds in developing countries. Through partnerships with groups like Aid to Artisans and the Design With A Conscience initiative, designers like Hella Jongerius and Tord Boontje are proving their commitment to great design, responsible manufacturing, and fair labor.

artenica, socially conscious manufacturing, bootnje, transglass, hella jongerius
.

6. GREEN ROOFS
2006 saw a surge of interest in green roofs, and this couldn’t have come at a better time. Athough the planet seems to be warming, green surfaces can help mitigate this with O2 production, solar radiation absoption, and climate control. Fortunately, it’s easier than you might imagine to inject a little life onto the surfaces of your buildings. New modular systems like Green Grid Roofs can be installed and maintained with little effort or know-how.

Greenroofs, Greengrid green roofs
.

7. LIVING HOMES
2006 brought us a bunch of seriously green prefab homes, but none was more sustainable (or more beautiful) than the Ray Kappe designed Living Home, which became the very first LEED Platinum Home.

Living Homes, Ray Kappe, LEED Platinum, Santa Monica
.

8. LEED FOR HOMES

Although it doesn’t publically launch until 2007, 2006 was a pivotal year for Leed for Homes, the USGBC’s new green rating program for residential buildings. The Leed for Homes pilot program was launched in 2006, and Living Homes (mentioned above) became the first home to win the LEED platinum rating.

Greenbuilding 101, Leed for Homes
.

9. GREEN TOWERS

2006 saw big growth for eco-friendly LEED certified skyscrapers. LEEDing the pack was the ultra green Cook & Fox Bank of America building in midtown manhattan.

Bank of America Building, Cook and Fox Architects
.

10. TRADE SHOWS GO GREEN
From the inaugural West Coast Green conference in San Francisco to GreenBuild in Denver, and even smaller exhibition events like HauteGreen, we’re excited to see organized trade shows and industry events turning their focus to green design and technologies.

Greenbuild Conference and Trade Show Expo
.