Terri Meyer Boake admits her ambitions are lofty: “I’m trying to save the world, one architecture student at a time.”
Terri sees global warming as the pre-eminent problem of our time, one in which architects are implicated: “Buildings produce 40 to 70 per cent of the world’s carbon dioxide.”
The solution to the energy crisis of the 1970s was to add insulation. “Sustainable design is more complex. Everything you do impacts on something else. We aim for ‘sustainable’; we’re moving toward zero carbon design. Every day there’s something new to understand.”
For example, the design of a carbon-neutral building — one that uses wind and photovoltaic energy rather than power produced by burning coal or oil — should also take into consideration production and transportation issues.
Another illustration of rapidly evolving sustainable design theory is the “cradle-to-cradle” movement. “Most design today is ‘cradle-to-grave’: you buy something, use it, throw it away, and it becomes garbage. Now we’re beginning to think about how to design a building so that we can disassemble it and reuse the parts.”
“While life is more complex, today’s students are better able to handle complex issues.” Terri says. Co-op jobs allow them to integrate and incorporate the theory they’ve learned in class. “It’s very empowering.”
Condensed from a UW research profile (http://www.uwaterloo.ca/profiles/).