For sustainable, or "green" design to be successful, it must APEAL to the mass market by way of cost efficency, asthetics, overall qualtiy and comfort, and finally ecological concerns. "Forcefeeding" the idea on people and buisnesses will only hurt the progress of responsible design. Many active solutions for sustainable design are on the verge of being cost effective, such as solar technologies. There are many aspects of sustainable design that are just good design, but have been ignored for various reasons.
A major problem I see is the permanance of things in out life. So many things are designed and purchased that are only temporary solutions and are a fix. For instance, power tools, they are cheaply made and last only a few years and then have to be thrown away and a new one purchased, but this wasn't always so. Here in our woodshop at KSU, we have tools dating back 60+ years, and they work beautifully.
This is also a problem in architecture, people and businsess want something right now, and for next to nothing. They really don't consider the lifespan of the building and the costs that come with it. A well designed building will be cheaper/easier to run will last longer and therfor be less expensive.
Sustainable design in many ways is just going back to principals that have been ignored recently because of our wealth and attitudes that come with that. One thing that has come with that is the decline of valuue of architectural services. I think that most people would be suprised with the average salary for recent architecture grads, here at KSU which is ranked fairly high, is about $28,000. This reflects the cheapest bidder competition that is going on in the field, which has led to the decline of quality in design. Now buisness expect a complex building for next to nothing, and it is hard to inject real quality of design and materials when you are fighting for every penny. Most buisnesses consider real estate in vary short terms, which I believe is a cost inefficent practice.
It's the same old story, isn't it? What's the bottom line for the next quarter, or the fiscal year? That's the picture in the entire business sector, real estate being just one part of it.
You have to put yourself in the "Guccis" of a developer. He gets a prime piece of real estate, in the latest "boom" section of town, so he wants an "out of the box" building design, he doesn't want to wait 6 months for a full blown architectural design. He wants a ground floor with retail space, a fairly snazzy lobby, and X floors of office space, with Y elevators, etc.,etc.
McBuildings, but what can you do? He has to get Return on Investment as fast as possible.
The only exception I can think of to this is design for Government buildings. There you can cost overrun to your heart's content, and the taxpayer's anguish. Send your resumes to companies that specialize in that, if you can find them.