Climate change is a REAL THING !
We ALL need to address it, otherwise we will lose valuable resources we now love and enjoy in abundance.
Yours and the architect's choices in the early design phases will shape how much of an imprint your home will have on the environment. We go beyond the material to choosing where it comes from ... yes, we consider how many resources are expended in bringing your Italian Carrara marble all the way from Italy to your kitchen island bench ... which is why we ask, "are you sure you don't want the local stone instead?".
But wondering if it's a fad in architecture is nevertheless a legitimate question. Gone are the days where "Sustainable" was akin to a Swiss Family Robinson tree house. Rest assured, you can have a modern house with sharp angles that is also sustainable because it addresses the sun orientation, maximises available natural heating, ventilation and cooling on the site, and utilises resources (sometimes freely) to reduce the building's footprint.
Your architect has enough knowledge to pull of these materials, resources and building methods together -
A brick wall is a brick wall is a brick wall
They're not all the same, and even then, how they're built plays a major role in their performance ... not to mention, achieving the aesthetic you're after.
First things first.
When undergoing a permit process, you will be asked to engage an energy consultant for an energy report.
The consultant is great at giving advice and making suggestions, but often, innovative building solutions are not options in the drop-down list on their software, so don't fret if you think you've gone to a great deal of trouble and only achieved a 6 star rating. The truth is, if your architect got it right, it'll perform far greater than the report says.
Today, thanks to an abundance of home-reno shows, most people have a developed knowledge of building design. More and more people are starting to realise the importance of sustainability in design and incorporate it in their homes. This is often driven by market demand (but we're not judging), and has no apparent sign of falling from favour.
On that front, it's not a fad.
But a lot of people are also starting to realise that ... well ... it's just smarter.
Ignoring sustainable design is the equivalent to building a fire on the kitchen floor to heat up your dinner (which is ironically more sustainable, but will burn down your house).
The facility is there, so let's use it!