In the 1970s, before “sustainable” was even in the lexicon, architect Brion Jeannette, president of Brion Jeannette Architecture, was using the principles of sustainability because he knew how, and he knew it mattered.
In 1976, there was an oil embargo driving up the price of oil and gas, and the California Energy Commission wanted to create a cleaner environment. The state directed its first set of energy regulations—the Title 24 Codes—and appointed Jeannette to the panel that would write them.
Today, a global leader in net-zero architectural design, Jeannette and his team are sought after from California to Saudi Arabia. “Details may vary, but core tenets don’t,” he explains. “A great house begins with a good design. You want to make the most of the location’s setting and resources and use as much natural light as possible.
“Feng shui is also essential,” Jeannette continues. “People don’t notice it unless it’s not there, but it defines the way we feel in a space. It affects our health and sense of well-being.”
Not least, Jeannette says, it’s important to be deliberate during the planning phase, allowing time for accurate programming and site analysis. “Our high-end clients are used to delegating,” he points out. “They want the design to be done well and to be thrilled with a result that exceeds their expectations. Their involvement is essential for achieving their goals and designing for their specific lifestyle and needs.”