The Pharos Project


by Russ Lowe

Addressing inconsistencies and other challenges in eco-friendly construction, a revolutionary group of like-minded (and large-minded) scientists, architects, engineers, humanitarians and optimists from the U.S. Green Building Council's robust Northwest Chapter, Cascadia, have developed Pharos, a project that might just reshape the Green movement.

Its namesake, the island lighthouse of Alexandria, references the guiding beacon that led travelers through unmarked waters in ancient Egypt. In much the same way, the project works from several angles, including community-building, a wiki, discussion boards and a label that, like a nutrition label, provides detailed info about the environmental and social impact of materials. Using the specifics, Pharos also assigns a score based on their relative level of responsibility, which in turn architects, developers and (hopefully someday) you and me can use to guide the selection of material and resources, products and goods in our every day life.

While still in beta, the breadth of this project has the potential to reach far in its application and if funded and adopted on a large scale it could make it a whole hell of a lot easier to be Green.