More than two dozen town residents gathered at the Chapel Hill Public Library Tuesday to discuss sustainable housing at a presentation from architect Mike Nicklas.
Nicklas is the president of the architectural firm Innovative Design, which specializes in designing sustainable buildings.
“The path we are on isn’t sustainable,” he said. “You have to be kind of stupid not to see this problem.”
A large portion of U.S. energy use comes from infrastructure in buildings, such as heating equipment and water transportation, Nicklas said. He said much of this energy use is inefficient, and operating costs can be reduced by altering building designs.
“Everyone says that green costs so much, but that is just not what we have found,” he said.
Some of the chief strategies to sustainable design include daylighting, equipping a building with solar energy panels and harvesting rainwater, Nicklas said.
Daylighting is an alternative architecture design that uses natural daylight to light a building.
“It not only saves in lighting, but it saves in the amount of cooling equipment a building needs, because the lighting load is less,” he said.