Powers Brown Architecture comes to the AIA 2030 Challenge in the middle of a journey started some 22 years ago. At our inception in 1999 on the cusp of a new millennium, we made a decision to not get too caught up the “new” sustainability game. At least it was somewhat new to Houston where we began. It was a choice. A choice to not defer or to abstain so much as it was a choice to not get caught up in a “trend”. We chose what we believed was a more foundational and time-tested commitment to Sustainability. A core value the founding partners shared to growing up with solar power when it was cutting edge. One taken in the context of economy of means, or respecting client budgets and, in a tangential way, rooted in these ideas by the late 1970’s Austin practice of one of us. So it was a do the right thing attitude regarding the environment, no “program” required.
And of course, we kept this to ourselves… Over time we evolved through the LEED program becoming a “trend-amental”, then a fundamental. Given our developer client base, there was an emphasis on the fund in fundamental. The Houston based developer market saw absolutely no value-added in LEED, but the banks did. They saw it as future proofing their capital investment. So, our clients reluctantly began to move towards the integration of sustainable materials, systems, and commitments, albeit reluctantly. We concomitantly upped our commitment by supporting the USGBC as members, setting up an in-house constancy after using outside consultants for a while and an overall sotto voce effort at researching better and innovative ways and systems.