ABSTRACT

I and the group in the Center for Building Diagnostics and Performance at Carnegie Mellon have been actively involved with evaluating existing buildings. The more time you spend in existing buildings the more urgent environmental design becomes. I want to focus upon what is happening in both the public and corporate sectors. The General Service Administration has been in the process of trying to distribute America's workers out of downtown D.C., or central D.C. because there was a tremendous mandate on increasing roadway, and it was costing America too much to keep widening the roads. So they were trying to set up satellite telecommuting offices out in those areas where thousands of workers lived, to get them to stay at least one or two days a week in their own communities. This would mean that that they actually could go to the Little League after school, and they could see the kids play, and they could be part of their family, and not have to get up at 4:00 in the morning. The problem was how they were going to go about doing that. They were basically going to put out a joint ‘request fro proposals’, and every developer in America was going to run around, trying to build this stuff for satellite offices in rural Virginia and rural Maryland. I want to address an issue about urban development. Even if we're dealing, in some cases, with suburban sites we're still addressing mixed use pedestrian environments; we're still addressing the issue of life where you're not constantly spending large chunks of time on the road. These scars on the landscape are one of the things we're trying to change. The other scar on the landscape that we're trying to change is the American propensity for the massive floor plate. The bigger the building, the more economical it seems to be for the developer who is making a large profit on a long term gain. And you can build them something very cheap and make a lot of money on the basis of a 20 year lease from the Federal Government.