Ask Danny

Ask Danny

by Adam S. on May 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM in Sustainability

Adam S.

It’s clear from your website and your design studio that you’re really into sustainable design. Aren’t some of these massive projects on Build It Bigger the opposite of that?

Danny Forster

Well, yes, certainly sustainability isn’t the point of a lot of them. But even those tend to have sustainable elements—a technology or an efficiency that we try to highlight. I think you’ll see that in almost every episode, we try to fold sustainability into the show somehow. (We tried, by the way to do a whole series on sustainable design. Did you see Build It Bigger: Rebuilding Greensberg? No? That’s why it isn’t on anymore.) And we don’t cover projects that are really obviously bad for the Earth—like the Three Gorges Dam in China. Amazing, unprecedented scale (just the way we like it!) but an ecological and human disaster, so in that case Build It Bigger passed. So even in the shows we don’t end up doing, there is an awareness of sustainability and the overall impact of these megaprojects. On the other hand, we did visit the Deriner Dam in Turkey for this upcoming season. There are environmental unequivocal impacts that come with the construction a reservoir and dam, but to us they appeared to be balanced by Turkey’s attempts to shift away from fossil fuels by using more hydroelectric power. These are complicated issues (and sometimes contradictory), and we don’t shy away from them. Do I wish all giant projects were 100% sustainable? Yes, but that’s just not how things work. Yet.