Sustainable development embraces the concept of the triple bottom line - people/ planet/ profit, or society/ environment/ economy. In Trinidad & Tobago, however, we tend to prioritise the economic aspect. We focus on getting things done cheaply and quickly and this is no more evident than in the local construction sector. Applying the concept of the triple bottom line to project development can lead to greater efficiency and profitability.
In particular, more emphasis needs to be placed on the social component. As an example, occupant comfort in a facility is imperative as occupants are an organisation’s greatest investment. Why build a facility cheaply and quickly if the physical environment is not conducive to productivity, with the end product resulting in poor lighting, poor air quality or poor thermal comfort for example?
Our physical environment affects our productivity, health and well-being. A happy occupant is a productive occupant. In our energy subsidised economy, it is difficult to embrace sustainable development in the way that our Caribbean neighbours have. Even if the framework is not yet in place for feed-in tariffs, for example, we should still pursue passive strategies in our building environment.