I’m not sure if it is the biggest obstacle, but it is a big one. Another big obstacle is using sustainable building materials. Water and energy efficiency are also big. Many construction projects can deal with those issues more easily than transportation, so for some projects transportation might be the biggest obstacle but it may still not be necessary to overcome it to become LEED certified if they get enough points for other parts of the design.
Why would sustainable building materials be an “obstacle” to sustainable design? It is my understanding that these materials are not prohibitively expensive, and in fact can can actually save money in the long run (i.e., through better weatherization/energy efficiency, etc.)
It seems to me that something like transportation is fixed and so prohibitively expensive to update/improve that it is a massive roadblock to attempts to improve sustainable design. For example, you can’t have an apartment building without a large parking lot unless there is easy access to quality mass transit.
Even though “sustainable” building materials may not be “prohibitively” expensive, they are not the cheapest on the market. Also, it requires a lot of thought, planning, and effort to include sustainable building materials in a construction endeavor. Saving money in the long run is not, unfortunately, in the best interest of most construction companies. I agree that transportation is somewhat fixed and expensive, but perhaps the planners should keep that in consideration when choosing locations to start projects.
If it is not the biggest then I would like to know what is the biggest. Since America is extremely car dependent, I see the personal vehicle being a huge issue. I think people should be able to own their own vehicle and drive as much as they please. This being said, alternative fuels need to be developed, creating a lower impact on the environment.
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