By Kent Berkley
Door County architect Virge Temme is nationally renowned for her cutting-edge work in sustainable design. She has a passion for sharing what she has learned with homeowners, contractors, planners and especially, young people. For more than 25 years she has researched and experimented with sustainable design and climate-specific architecture. Temme defines sustainable design as building in a way that is thoughtful and intentional about the impact it will have on future generations and trying to leave the world in as good or better condition than we found it. In discussing her career journey, she stated that it was initially difficult to get potential clients to embrace sustainable design concepts, but discovered that people were much more receptive to her ideas when she began the conversation focusing on how sustainable design would enhance their comfort and be cost effective.
Temme says that it is easier today to have a holistic discussion that integrates the environmental merits of sustainable design while addressing the practical aspects of cost and comfort. She says her ideas have gained traction over the years as evidence of climate change mounts and sustainable design becomes more visible and prominent. Temme says she is regularly sought out by clients wanting net-zero energy homes. She says she intends to continue her research and advocacy related to sustainable design and will spend more time working with young people who can carry the work forward for future generations.