Everyday activism is a topic that encompasses a variety of sustainable processes and behaviours like turning off lights in a room that is not in use or turning off water taps while brushing teeth, but also challenging large-scale projects. This sentiment has been embraced by Manasc Isaac, an Edmonton, Alberta based architectural firm with a focus on sustainable design.
The company has won a plethora of honours for both its design style and sustainable practices. In addition to being recognized for designing Alberta’s first C-2000 green building, Manasc Isaac also designed Alberta’s first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified building and Edmonton’s first Silver LEED (“Our Work,” Company Profile), certified, having achieved between 50 and 59 points out of a possible 110 across seven different categories, with energy savings of 35-50% over non-certified buildings (LEED Green Building Rating System 2009 Explained, Enermodal). As Martina Keitsch (2012) notes, “Besides ecological advantages, architecture and design can work as a catalyst for the advancement of social sustainability and social inclusion.” (p. 142).
In its efforts to achieve integrated engineering and deliver architecture that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs, the company focuses on five key areas—sustainable site development, water efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality. This environmentally friendly mandate drew the attention of Dana Dusterhoft and Jonathon Schell, students in MacEwan University’s Documentary Photography class, part of the Design Studies program.