I had trouble with this presentation because a large part of me believes that the group missed the point of this project. I just don’t think Minneapolis is exactly what the United Nations had in mind when creating the eight goals of the Millennium Development project. For the purpose of this response, I’ll approach my reaction as if it were.
Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability
Target 9. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programs and reverse the loss of environmental resources
25. Proportion of land area covered by forest (FAO)
26. Ratio of area protected to maintain biological diversity to surface area (UNEP-WCMC)
27. Energy use (kg oil equivalent) per $1 GDP (PPP) (IEA, World Bank)
28. Carbon dioxide emissions per capita (UNFCCC, UNSD) and consumption of ozone-depleting CFCs (ODP tons) (UNEP-Ozone Secretariat)
29. Proportion of population using solid fuels (WHO)
Target 10. Halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
30. Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural (UNICEF-WHO)
31. Proportion of population with access to improved sanitation, urban and rural (UNICEF-WHO)
Target 11. Have achieved by 2020 a significant improvement in the lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers
32. Proportion of households with access to secure tenure (UN-HABITAT)
By focusing on Riverside Plaza, a high density multi-family high rise, this group was able to identify with many of the targets and indicators of goal 7 largely due the benefit of packing maximum efficiency into a small building footprint. The issues I believe they were able to identify with range from target 9, indicator 27-30, and indicator 32. Many of the ways they chose to deal with these issues came about through proposing an extensive and elaborate remodel of the Riverside Plaza building. They showed a good level of research into product materials and facts such as low-e triple pane glazing, water treatment and re-use by using grey water treatment systems, as well as air quality and air system upgrades through out the building complex. While this was certainly good research, I was troubled because it seemed to me that their research ended at the product identification stage. They were proposing a massive systems upgrade and building remodel without considering the economic burden this proposal carries. It’s tough for me to believe that this proposal is anything but sustainable for the client they chose to place their focus. Environmental sustainability doesn’t necessarily mean choosing the most efficient products on the market if the products do not reflect the capabilities of the client. A LEED platinum certified building is still a drain on both the society and economy if it’s a building that sits empty because its owner couldn’t sustain the cost of implementation.