Environmental sustainability has become a mainstream issue, with profound effect on the architectural profession. Many developers, those who support the financing of buildings, have become educated to encourage the facilitation of environmentally sustainable design, rather than solutions based primarily on immediate cost. Major examples of this can be found in passive solar building design , greener roof designs , biodegradable materials, and more attention to a structure's energy usage. This major shift in architecture has also changed architecture schools to focus more on the environment. There has been an acceleration in the number of buildings which seek to meet green building sustainable design principles. Sustainable practices that were at the core of vernacular architecture increasingly provide inspiration for environmentally and socially sustainable contemporary techniques.  The . Green Building Council's LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) rating system has been instrumental in this.  [ quantify ]
As for Cal Poly, it was ranked by professionals as the #1 Undergraduate Program for Architecture this year. In addition to this, the program dominated the Sustainable Design Practices and Principles survey as well as Construction Methods and Materials, and came in near the top in Cross-Disciplinary Teamwork - all categories that are key concerns of the profession today. Deans praised Cal Poly for its “integration of design and technology, as well as its committed faculty,” while 77% of its students believe the program’s quality deserves the highest possible ranking.
Best employed the "catalog showroom" concept for many of its product offerings. Although some product categories (such as sporting goods and toys) were stocked in traditional self-serve aisles, the majority of products (notably consumer electronics, housewares, and appliances) were featured as unboxed display models. Customers were permitted to examine and experiment with these models, and if found to be desirable, they could be purchased by submitting orders to store personnel. Saleable versions of the merchandise (typically boxed and/or in its original packaging) would then be retrieved from storage and delivered to a customer service area for subsequent purchase.