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Sustainable design

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sustainable design (also called environmentally sustainable design, environmentally conscious design, etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.[1]

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  • 7 principles for building better cities | Peter Calthorpe
  • Best Practices; Sustainable Design/Build at Philadelphia University
  • Physical Properties of Materials, Choosing Green Materials
  • Creating sustainable healthcare environments
  • Educational Facilities Planning; The Elementary School for Sustainable Design

Transcription

So, let me add to the complexity of the situation we find ourselves in. At the same time that we're solving for climate change, we're going to be building cities for three billion people. That's a doubling of the urban environment. If we don't get that right, I'm not sure all the climate solutions in the world will save mankind, because so much depends on how we shape our cities: not just environmental impacts, but our social well-being, our economic vitality, our sense of community and connectedness. Fundamentally, the way we shape cities is a manifestation of the kind of humanity we bring to bear. And so getting it right is, I think, the order of the day. And to a certain degree, getting it right can help us solve climate change, because in the end, it's our behavior that seems to be driving the problem. The problem isn't free-floating, and it isn't just ExxonMobil and oil companies. It's us; how we live. How we live. There's a villain in this story. It's called sprawl, and I'll be upfront about that. But it's not just the kind of sprawl you think of, or many people think of, as low-density development out at the periphery of the metropolitan area. Actually, I think sprawl can happen anywhere, at any density. The key attribute is that it isolates people. It segregates people into economic enclaves and land-use enclaves. It separates them from nature. It doesn't allow the cross-fertilization, the interaction, that make cities great places and that make society thrive. So the antidote to sprawl is really what we all need to be thinking about, especially when we're taking on this massive construction project. So let me take you through one exercise. We developed the model for the state of California so they could get on with reducing carbon emissions. We did a whole series of scenarios for how the state could grow, and this is just one overly simplified one. We mixed different development prototypes and said they're going to carry us through the year 2050, 10 million new crew in our state of California. And one was sprawl. It's just more of the same: shopping malls, subdivisions, office parks. The other one was dominated by, not everybody moving to the city, but just compact development, what we used to think of as streetcar suburbs, walkable neighborhoods, low-rise, but integrated, mixed-used environments. And the results are astounding. They're astounding not just for the scale of the difference of this one shift in our city-making habit but also because each one represents a special interest group, a special interest group that used to advocate for their concerns one at a time. They did not see the, what I call, "co-benefits" of urban form that allows them to join with others. So, land consumption: environmentalists are really concerned about this, so are farmers; there's a whole range of people, and, of course, neighborhood groups that want open space nearby. The sprawl version of California almost doubles the urban physical footprint. Greenhouse gas: tremendous savings, because in California, our biggest carbon emission comes from cars, and cities that don't depend on cars as much obviously create huge savings. Vehicle miles traveled: that's what I was just talking about. Just reducing the average 10,000 miles per household per year, from somewhere in the mid-26,000 per household, has a huge impact not just on air quality and carbon but also on the household pocketbook. It's very expensive to drive that much, and as we've seen, the middle class is struggling to hold on. Health care: we were talking about how do you fix it once we broke it -- clean the air. Why not just stop polluting? Why not just use our feet and bikes more? And that's a function of the kinds of cities that we shape. Household costs: 2008 was a mark in time, not of just the financial industry running amok. It was that we were trying to sell too many of the wrong kind of housing: large lot, single family, distant, too expensive for the average middle-class family to afford and, quite frankly, not a good fit to their lifestyle anymore. But in order to move inventory, you can discount the financing and get it sold. I think that's a lot of what happened. Reducing cost by 10,000 dollars -- remember, in California the median is 50,000 -- this is a big element. That's just cars and utility costs. So the affordable housing advocates, who often sit off in their silos separate from the environmentalists, separate from the politicians, everybody fighting with everyone, now begin to see common cause, and I think the common cause is what really brings about the change. Los Angeles, as a result of these efforts, has now decided to transform itself into a more transit-oriented environment. As a matter of fact, since '08, they've voted in 400 billion dollars of bonds for transit and zero dollars for new highways. What a transformation: LA becomes a city of walkers and transit, not a city of cars. (Applause) How does it happen? You take the least desirable land, the strip, you add where there's space, transit and then you infill mixed-use development, you satisfy new housing demands and you make the existing neighborhoods all around it more complex, more interesting, more walkable. Here's another kind of sprawl: China, high-density sprawl, what you think of as an oxymoron, but the same problems, everything isolated in superblocks, and of course this amazing smog that was just spoken to. Twelve percent of GDP in China now is spent on the health impacts of that. The history, of course, of Chinese cities is robust. It's like any other place. Community was all about small, local shops and local services and walking, interacting with your neighbors. It may sound utopian, but it's not. It's actually what people really want. The new superblocks -- these are blocks that would have 5,000 units in them, and they're gated as well, because nobody knows anybody else. And of course, there isn't even a sidewalk, no ground floor shops -- a very sterile environment. I found this one case here in one of the superblocks where people had illicitly set up shops in their garages so that they could have that kind of local service economy. The desire of people to get it right is there. We just have to get the planners on board and the politicians. All right. Some technical planning stuff. Chongqing is a city of 30 million people. It's almost as big as California. This is a small growth area. They wanted us to test the alternative to sprawl in several cities across China. This is for four-and-a-half million people. What the takeaway from this image is, every one of those circles is a walking radius around a transit station -- massive investment in metro and BRT, and a distribution that allows everybody to work within walking distance of that. The red area, this is a blow-up. All of a sudden, our principles called for green space preserving the important ecological features. And then those other streets in there are auto-free streets. So instead of bulldozing, leveling the site and building right up to the river, this green edge was something that really wasn't normative in China until these set of practices began experimentation there. The urban fabric, small blocks, maybe 500 families per block. They know each other. The street perimeter has shops so there's local destinations. And the streets themselves become smaller, because there are more of them. Very simple, straightforward urban design. Now, here you have something I dearly love. Think of the logic. If only a third of the people have cars, why do we give 100 percent of our streets to cars? What if we gave 70 percent of the streets to car-free, to everybody else, so that the transit could move well for them, so that they could walk, so they could bike? Why not have -- (Applause) geographic equity in our circulation system? And quite frankly, cities would function better. No matter what they do, no matter how many ring roads they build in Beijing, they just can't overcome complete gridlock. So this is an auto-free street, mixed use along the edge. It has transit running down the middle. I'm happy to make that transit autonomous vehicles, but maybe I'll have a chance to talk about that later. So there are seven principles that have now been adopted by the highest levels in the Chinese government, and they're moving to implement them. And they're simple, and they are globally, I think, universal principles. One is to preserve the natural environment, the history and the critical agriculture. Second is mix. Mixed use is popular, but when I say mixed, I mean mixed incomes, mixed age groups as well as mixed-land use. Walk. There's no great city that you don't enjoy walking in. You don't go there. The places you go on vacation are places you can walk. Why not make it everywhere? Bike is the most efficient means of transportation we know. China has now adopted policies that put six meters of bike lane on every street. They're serious about getting back to their biking history. (Applause) Complicated planner-ese here: connect. It's a street network that allows many routes instead of singular routes and provides many kinds of streets instead of just one. Ride. We have to invest more in transit. There's no silver bullet. Autonomous vehicles are not going to solve this for us. As a matter of fact, they're going to generate more traffic, more VMT, than the alternative. And focus. We have a hierarchy of the city based on transit rather than the old armature of freeways. It's a big paradigm shift, but those two things have to get reconnected in ways that really shape the structure of the city. So I'm very hopeful. In California, the United States, China -- these changes are well accepted. I'm hopeful for two reasons. One is, most people get it. They understand intrinsically what a great city can and should be. The second is that the kind of analysis we can bring to bear now allows people to connect the dots, allows people to shape political coalitions that didn't exist in the past. That allows them to bring into being the kinds of communities we all need. Thank you. (Applause) Chris Anderson: So, OK: autonomous driving, self-driving cars. A lot of people here are very excited about them. What are your concerns or issues about them? Peter Calthorpe: Well, I think there's almost too much hype here. First is, everybody says we're going to get rid of a lot of cars. What they don't say is you're going to get a lot more vehicle miles. You're going to get a lot more cars moving on streets. There will be more congestion. CA: Because they're so appealing -- you can drive while reading or sleeping. PC: Well, a couple of reasons. One is, if they're privately owned, people will travel greater distances. It'll be a new lease on life to sprawl. If you can work on your way to work, you can live in more remote locations. It'll revitalize sprawl in a way that I'm deeply frightened. Taxis: about 50 percent of the surveys say that people won't share them. If they don't share them, you can end up with a 90 percent increase in vehicle miles traveled. If you share them, you're still at around a 30 percent increase in VMT. CA: Sharing them, meaning having multiple people riding at once in some sort of intelligent ride-sharing? PC: Yeah, so the Uber share without a steering wheel. The reality is, the efficiency of vehicles -- you can do it with or without a steering wheel, it doesn't matter. They claim they're the only ones that are going to be efficient electric, but that's not true. But the real bottom line is that walking, biking and transit are the way cities and communities thrive. And putting people in their private bubbles, whether they have a steering wheel or not, is the wrong direction. And quite frankly, the image of an AV on its way to McDonald's to pick up a pack without its owner, just being sent off on these kind of random errands is really frightening to me. CA: Well, thank you for that, and I have to say, the images you showed of those mixed-use streets were really inspiring, really beautiful. PC: Thank you. CA: Thank you for your work. (Applause)

Contents

Theory

The intention of sustainable design is to "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design".[1] Manifestations of sustainable design require renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the natural environment.

Great design is sustainable design: Rather than considering green building design as an externality, architects must think about it as a set of principles for great design. This includes better user experience and comfort, doing more with less to enable the building to easily achieve peak performance, and maximizing the effectives of durable, quality materials. Rather than the well-known edict “form follows function,” it’s time to think “form follows environment.” [2]

Beyond the "elimination of negative environmental impact", sustainable design must create projects that are meaningful innovations that can shift behaviour. A dynamic balance between economy and society, intended to generate long-term relationships between user and object/service and finally to be respectful and mindful of the environmental and social differences.[3]

Conceptual problems

Diminishing returns

The principle that all directions of progress run out, ending with diminishing returns, is evident in the typical 'S' curve of the technology life cycle and in the useful life of any system as discussed in industrial ecology and life cycle assessment. Diminishing returns are the result of reaching natural limits. Common business management practice is to read diminishing returns in any direction of effort as an indication of diminishing opportunity, the potential for accelerating decline and a signal to seek new opportunities elsewhere.[citation needed] (see also: law of diminishing returns, marginal utility and Jevons paradox.)

Unsustainable investment

A problem arises when the limits of a resource are hard to see, so increasing investment in response to diminishing returns may seem profitable as in the Tragedy of the Commons, but may lead to a collapse. This problem of increasing investment in diminishing resources has also been studied in relation to the causes of civilization collapse by Joseph Tainter among others.[4] This natural error in investment policy contributed to the collapse of both the Roman and Mayan, among others. Relieving over-stressed resources requires reducing pressure on them, not continually increasing it whether more efficiently or not.[5]

Waste prevention

Plans for Floriade 2012 in Venlo, the Netherlands: "The Greenest Building in the Netherlands - no external fuel, electricity, water or sewage."

Negative Effects of Waste

About 80 million tonnes of waste in total are generated in the U.K. alone, for example, each year.[6] And with reference to only household waste, between 1991/92 and 2007/08, each person in England generated an average of 1.35 pounds of waste per day.[7]

Experience has now shown that there is no completely safe method of waste disposal. All forms of disposal have negative impacts on the environment, public health, and local economies. Landfills have contaminated drinking water. Garbage burned in incinerators has poisoned air, soil, and water. The majority of water treatment systems change the local ecology. Attempts to control or manage wastes after they are produced fail to eliminate environmental impacts.

The toxics components of household products pose serious health risks and aggravate the trash problem. In the U.S., about eight pounds in every ton of household garbage contains toxic materials, such as heavy metals like nickel, lead, cadmium, and mercury from batteries, and organic compounds found in pesticides and consumer products, such as air freshener sprays, nail polish, cleaners, and other products.[8] When burned or buried, toxic materials also pose a serious threat to public health and the environment.

The only way to avoid environmental harm from waste is to prevent its generation. Pollution prevention means changing the way activities are conducted and eliminating the source of the problem. It does not mean doing without, but doing differently. For example, preventing waste pollution from litter caused by disposable beverage containers does not mean doing without beverages; it just means using refillable bottles.

Waste prevention strategies In planning for facilities, a comprehensive design strategy is needed for preventing generation of solid waste. A good garbage prevention strategy would require that everything brought into a facility be recycled for reuse or recycled back into the environment through biodegradation. This would mean a greater reliance on natural materials or products that are compatible with the environment.

Any resource-related development is going to have two basic sources of solid waste — materials purchased and used by the facility and those brought into the facility by visitors. The following waste prevention strategies apply to both, although different approaches will be needed for implementation:[9]

  • use products that minimize waste and are nontoxic
  • compost or anaerobically digest biodegradable wastes
  • reuse materials onsite or collect suitable materials for offsite recycling
  • consuming less resources means creating less waste, therefore it reduces the impact on the environment.

Sustainable design principles

The California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, is a sustainable building designed by Renzo Piano. It opened on September 27, 2008
The California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California, is a sustainable building designed by Renzo Piano. It opened on September 27, 2008

While the practical application varies among disciplines , some common principles are as follows:

  • Low-impact materials: choose non-toxic, sustainably produced or recycled materials which require little energy to process
  • Energy efficiency: use manufacturing processes and produce products which require less energy
  • Emotionally durable design: reducing consumption and waste of resources by increasing the durability of relationships between people and products, through design
  • Design for reuse and recycling: "Products, processes, and systems should be designed for performance in a commercial 'afterlife'."[10]
  • Design impact measures for total carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment for any resource used are increasingly required and available.^[11] Many are complex, but some give quick and accurate whole-earth estimates of impacts. One measure estimates any spending as consuming an average economic share of global energy use of 8,000 BTU (8,400 kJ) per dollar and producing CO2 at the average rate of 0.57 kg of CO2 per dollar (1995 dollars US) from DOE figures.[12]
  • Sustainable design standards and project design guides are also increasingly available and are vigorously being developed by a wide array of private organizations and individuals. There is also a large body of new methods emerging from the rapid development of what has become known as 'sustainability science' promoted by a wide variety of educational and governmental institutions.
  • Biomimicry: "redesigning industrial systems on biological lines ... enabling the constant reuse of materials in continuous closed cycles..."[13]
  • Service substitution: shifting the mode of consumption from personal ownership of products to provision of services which provide similar functions, e.g., from a private automobile to a carsharing service. Such a system promotes minimal resource use per unit of consumption (e.g., per trip driven).[14]
  • Renewable resource: materials should come from nearby (local or bioregional), sustainably managed renewable sources that can be composted when their usefulness has been exhausted.
  • Robust eco-design: robust design principles are applied to the design of a pollution sources.[15]

Bill of Rights for the Planet

A model of the new design principles necessary for sustainability is exemplified by the "Bill of Rights for the Planet" or "Hannover Principles" - developed by William McDonough Architects for EXPO 2000 that was held in Hannover, Germany.[citation needed]

The Bill of Rights:
  1. Insist on the right of humanity and nature to co-exist in a healthy, supportive, diverse, and sustainable conditions.
  2. Recognize Interdependence. The elements of human design interact with and depend on the natural world, with broad and diverse implications at every scale. Expand design considerations to recognizing even distant effects.
  3. Respect relationships between spirit and matter. Consider all aspects of human settlement including community, dwelling, industry, and trade in terms of existing and evolving connections between spiritual and material consciousness.
  4. Accept responsibility for the consequences of design decisions upon human well-being, the viability of natural systems, and their right to co-exist.
  5. Create safe objects of long-term value. Do not burden future generations with requirements for maintenance or vigilant administration of potential danger due to the careless creations of products, processes, or standards.
  6. Eliminate the concept of waste. Evaluate and optimize the full life-cycle of products and processes, to approach the state of natural systems in which there is no waste.
  7. Rely on natural energy flows. Human designs should, like the living world, derive their creative forces from perpetual solar income. Incorporating this energy efficiently and safely for responsible use.
  8. Understand the limitations of design. No human creation lasts forever and design does not solve all problems. Those who create and plan should practice humility in the face of nature. Treat nature as a model and mentor, not an inconvenience to be evaded or controlled.
  9. Seek constant improvement by the sharing of knowledge. Encourage direct and open communication between colleagues, patrons, manufacturers and users to link long term sustainable considerations with ethical responsibility, and re-establish the integral relationship between natural processes and human activity.

These principles were adopted by the World Congress of the International Union of Architects (UIA) in June 1993 at the American Institute of Architects' (AIA) Expo 93 in Chicago. Further, the AIA and UIA signed a "Declaration of Interdependence for a Sustainable Future." In summary, the declaration states that today's society is degrading its environment and that the AIA, UIA, and their members are committed to:

  • Placing environmental and social sustainability at the core of practices and professional responsibilities
  • Developing and continually improving practices, procedures, products, services, and standards for sustainable design
  • Educating the building industry, clients, and the general public about the importance of sustainable design
  • Working to change policies, regulations, and standards in government and business so that sustainable design will become the fully supported standard practice
  • Bringing the existing built environment up to sustainable design standards.

In addition, the Interprofessional Council on Environmental Design (ICED), a coalition of architectural, landscape architectural, and engineering organizations, developed a vision statement in an attempt to foster a team approach to sustainable design. ICED states: The ethics, education and practices of our professions will be directed to shape a sustainable future. . . . To achieve this vision we will join . . . as a multidisciplinary partnership."

These activities are an indication that the concept of sustainable design is being supported on a global and interprofessional scale and that the ultimate goal is to become more environmentally responsive. The world needs facilities that are more energy efficient and that promote conservation and recycling of natural and economic resources.[16]

Applications

Applications of this philosophy range from the microcosm — small objects for everyday use, through to the macrocosm — buildings, cities, and the Earth's physical surface. It is a philosophy that can be applied in the fields of architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, urban planning, engineering, graphic design, industrial design, interior design, fashion design and human-computer interaction.

Sustainable design is mostly a general reaction to global environmental crises, the rapid growth of economic activity and human population, depletion of natural resources, damage to ecosystems, and loss of biodiversity.[17] In 2013, eco architecture writer Bridgette Meinhold surveyed emergency and long-term sustainable housing projects that were developed in response to these crises in her book, “Urgent Architecture: 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World.”[18][19] Featured projects focus on green building, sustainable design, eco-friendly materials, affordability, material reuse, and humanitarian relief. Construction methods and materials include repurposed shipping containers, straw bale construction, sandbag homes, and floating homes.[20]

The limits of sustainable design are reducing. Whole earth impacts are beginning to be considered because growth in goods and services is consistently outpacing gains in efficiency. As a result, the net effect of sustainable design to date has been to simply improve the efficiency of rapidly increasing impacts. The present approach, which focuses on the efficiency of delivering individual goods and services, does not solve this problem. The basic dilemmas include: the increasing complexity of efficiency improvements; the difficulty of implementing new technologies in societies built around old ones; that physical impacts of delivering goods and services are not localized, but are distributed throughout the economies; and that the scale of resource use is growing and not stabilizing.

Examples

Beauty and sustainable design

Because standards of sustainable design appear to emphasize ethics over aesthetics, some designers and critics have complained that it lacks inspiration. Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry has called green building "bogus,"[21] and National Design Awards winner Peter Eisenman has dismissed it as "having nothing to do with architecture."[22] In 2009, The American Prospect asked whether "well-designed green architecture" is an "oxymoron."[23]

Others claim that such criticism of sustainable design is misguided. A leading advocate for this alternative view is architect Lance Hosey, whose book The Shape of Green: Aesthetics, Ecology, and Design (2012) was the first dedicated to the relationships between sustainability and beauty. Hosey argues not just that sustainable design needs to be aesthetically appealing in order to be successful, but also that following the principles of sustainability to their logical conclusion requires reimagining the shape of everything designed, creating things of even greater beauty. Reviewers have suggested that the ideas in The Shape of Green could "revolutionize what it means to be sustainable."[24] Small and large buildings are beginning to successfully incorporate principles of sustainability into award-winning designs. Examples include One Central Park and the Science Faculty building, UTS.

Emotionally durable design

According to Jonathan Chapman of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, emotionally durable design reduces the consumption and waste of natural resources by increasing the resilience of relationships established between consumers and products."[25] Essentially, product replacement is delayed by strong emotional ties.[26] In his book, Emotionally Durable Design: Objects, Experiences & Empathy, Chapman describes how "the process of consumption is, and has always been, motivated by complex emotional drivers, and is about far more than just the mindless purchasing of newer and shinier things; it is a journey towards the ideal or desired self, that through cyclical loops of desire and disappointment, becomes a seemingly endless process of serial destruction".[27] Therefore, a product requires an attribute, or number of attributes, which extend beyond utilitarianism.[28]

According to Chapman, 'emotional durability' can be achieved through consideration of the following five elements:

  • Narrative: How users share a unique personal history with the product.
  • Consciousness: How the product is perceived as autonomous and in possession of its own free will.
  • Attachment: Can a user be made to feel a strong emotional connection to a product?
  • Fiction: The product inspires interactions and connections beyond just the physical relationship.
  • Surface: How the product ages and develops character through time and use.

As a strategic approach, "emotionally durable design provides a useful language to describe the contemporary relevance of designing responsible, well made, tactile products which the user can get to know and assign value to in the long-term."[29] According to Hazel Clark and David Brody of Parsons The New School for Design in New York, “emotionally durable design is a call for professionals and students alike to prioritise the relationships between design and its users, as a way of developing more sustainable attitudes to, and in, design things.”[30]

Discussion by Júlíanna Ósk Hafberg of Likka Fashion Brand at the Reykjavík Art Museum

Sustainable architecture

Sustainable building design
Sustainable building design

Sustainable architecture is the design of sustainable buildings. Sustainable architecture attempts to reduce the collective environmental impacts during the production of building components, during the construction process, as well as during the lifecycle of the building (heating, electricity use, carpet cleaning etc.) This design practice emphasizes efficiency of heating and cooling systems; alternative energy sources such as solar hot water, appropriate building siting, reused or recycled building materials; on-site power generation - solar technology, ground source heat pumps, wind power; rainwater harvesting for gardening, washing and aquifer recharge; and on-site waste management such as green roofs that filter and control stormwater runoff. This requires close cooperation of the design team, the architects, the engineers, and the client at all project stages, from site selection, scheme formation, material selection and procurement, to project implementation.[31]

Sustainable architects design with sustainable living in mind.[32] Sustainable vs green design is the challenge that designs not only reflect healthy processes and uses but are powered by renewable energies and site specific resources. A test for sustainable design is — can the design function for its intended use without fossil fuel — unplugged. This challenge suggests architects and planners design solutions that can function without pollution rather than just reducing pollution. As technology progresses in architecture and design theories and as examples are built and tested, architects will soon be able to create not only passive, null-emission buildings, but rather be able to integrate the entire power system into the building design. In 2004 the 59 home housing community, the Solar Settlement, and a 60,000 sq ft (5,600 m2) integrated retail, commercial and residential building, the Sun Ship, were completed by architect Rolf Disch in Freiburg, Germany. The Solar Settlement is the first housing community worldwide in which every home, all 59, produce a positive energy balance.[33]

An essential element of Sustainable Building Design is indoor environmental quality including air quality, illumination, thermal conditions, and acoustics. The integrated design of the indoor environment is essential and must be part of the integrated design of the entire structure. ASHRAE Guideline 10-2011 addresses the interactions among indoor environmental factors and goes beyond traditional standards.[34]

Concurrently, the recent movements of New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture promote a sustainable approach towards construction, that appreciates and develops smart growth, architectural tradition and classical design.[35][36] This in contrast to modernist and globally uniform architecture, as well as leaning against solitary housing estates and suburban sprawl.[37] Both trends started in the 1980s. The Driehaus Architecture Prize is an award that recognizes efforts in New Urbanism and New Classical Architecture, and is endowed with a prize money twice as high as that of the modernist Pritzker Prize.[38]

Sustainable landscape and garden design

Sustainable landscape architecture is a category of sustainable design and energy-efficient landscaping concerned with the planning and design of outdoor space. Plants and materials may be bought from local growers to reduce energy used in transportation. Design techniques include planting trees to shade buildings from the sun or protect them from wind, using local materials, and on-site composting and chipping not only to reduce green waste hauling but to increase organic matter and therefore carbon in the soil.

Some designers and gardeners such as Beth Chatto also use drought-resistant plants in arid areas (xeriscaping) and elsewhere so that water is not taken from local landscapes and habitats for irrigation. Water from building roofs may be collected in rain gardens so that the groundwater is recharged, instead of rainfall becoming surface runoff and increasing the risk of flooding.

Areas of the garden and landscape can also be allowed to grow wild to encourage bio-diversity. Native animals may also be encouraged in many other ways: by plants which provide food such as nectar and pollen for insects, or roosting or nesting habitats such as trees, or habitats such as ponds for amphibians and aquatic insects. Pesticides, especially persistent pesticides, must be avoided to avoid killing wildlife.

Soil fertility can be managed sustainably by the use of many layers of vegetation from trees to ground-cover plants and mulches to increase organic matter and therefore earthworms and mycorrhiza; nitrogen-fixing plants instead of synthetic nitrogen fertilizers; and sustainably harvested seaweed extract to replace micronutrients.

Sustainable landscapes and gardens can be productive as well as ornamental, growing food, firewood and craft materials from beautiful places.

Sustainable landscape approaches and labels include organic farming and growing, permaculture, agroforestry, forest gardens, agroecology, vegan organic gardening, ecological gardening and climate-friendly gardening.

Sustainable agriculture

Main: Organic farming

Sustainable agriculture adheres to three main goals:

  • Environmental Health,
  • Economic Profitability,
  • Social and Economic Equity.

A variety of philosophies, policies and practices have contributed to these goals. People in many different capacities, from farmers to consumers, have shared this vision and contributed to it. Despite the diversity of people and perspectives, the following themes commonly weave through definitions of sustainable agriculture.

There are strenuous discussions — among others by the agricultural sector and authorities — if existing pesticide protocols and methods of soil conservation adequately protect topsoil and wildlife. Doubt has risen if these are sustainable, and if agrarian reforms would permit an efficient agriculture with fewer pesticides, therefore reducing the damage to the ecosystem.

For more information on the subject of sustainable agriculture: "UC Davis: Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program".[39]

Domestic machinery and furniture

Automobiles, home appliances and furnitures can be designed for repair and disassembly (for recycling), and constructed from recyclable materials such as steel, aluminum and glass, and renewable materials, such as Zelfo, wood and plastics from natural feedstocks. Careful selection of materials and manufacturing processes can often create products comparable in price and performance to non-sustainable products. Even mild design efforts can greatly increase the sustainable content of manufactured items.

Improvements to heating, cooling, ventilation and water heating

Energy sector

Sustainable technology in the energy sector is based on utilizing renewable sources of energy such as solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy, geothermal, and hydrogen. Wind energy is the world's fastest growing energy source; it has been in use for centuries in Europe and more recently in the United States and other nations. Wind energy is captured through the use of wind turbines that generate and transfer electricity for utilities, homeowners and remote villages. Solar power can be harnessed through photovoltaics, concentrating solar, or solar hot water and is also a rapidly growing energy source.[40] Advancements in the technology and modifications to photovoltaics cells provide a more in depth untouched method for creating and producing solar power. Researchers have found a potential way to use the photogalvanic effect to transform sunlight into electric energy. [41]

The availability, potential, and feasibility of primary renewable energy resources must be analyzed early in the planning process as part of a comprehensive energy plan. The plan must justify energy demand and supply and assess the actual costs and benefits to the local, regional, and global environments. Responsible energy use is fundamental to sustainable development and a sustainable future. Energy management must balance justifiable energy demand with appropriate energy supply. The process couples energy awareness, energy conservation, and energy efficiency with the use of primary renewable energy resources.[42]

Design for sustainable manufacturing

Sustainable manufacturing can be defined as the creation of a manufactured product through a concurrent improvement in the resulting effect on factory and product sustainability. The concept of sustainable manufacturing demands a renewed design of production systems in order to condition the related sustainability on product life cycle and Factory operations.

  • Designing sustainable production systems imply, on the one hand, the analysis and optimization of intra-factory aspects that are related to manufacturing plants. Such aspects can regard the resource consumption restrain, the process efficiency, the ergonomics for the factory workers, the elimination of hazardous substances, the minimization of factory emissions and waste as well as internal emissions, the integrated management of information in the production facilities, and the technological updating of machines and plants.
  • Other inter-factories aspects concern the sustainable design of manufactured products, product chain dematerialisation, management of the background and foreground supply chains, support of circular economy paradigm, and the labelling for sustainability.

Water sector

A 35,003 litre rainwater harvesting tank in Kerala
A 35,003 litre rainwater harvesting tank in Kerala

Sustainable water technologies have become an important industry segment with several companies now providing important and scalable solutions to supply water in a sustainable manner.

Beyond the use of certain technologies, Sustainable Design in Water Management also consists very importantly in correct implementation of concepts. Among one of these principal concepts is the fact normally in developed countries 100% of water destined for consumption, that is not necessarily for drinking purposes, is of potable water quality. This concept of differentiating qualities of water for different purposes has been called "fit-for-purpose".[43] This more rational use of water achieves several economies, that are not only related to water itself, but also the consumption of energy, as to achieve water of drinking quality can be extremely energy intensive for several reasons.

Terminology

In some countries the term sustainable design is known as ecodesign, green design or environmental design. Victor Papanek, embraced social design and social quality and ecological quality, but did not explicitly combine these areas of design concern in one term. Sustainable design and design for sustainability are more common terms, including the triple bottom line (people, planet and profit).[citation needed]

In the EU, the concept of sustainable design is referred to as ecodesign. Little discussions have however taken place over the importance of this concept in the run-up to the circular economy package, that the European Commission will be tabling by the end of 2015. To this effect, an Ecothis.EU campaign was launched to raise awareness about the economic and environmental consequences of not including eco-design as part of the circular economy package.[44]

Sustainable technologies

Sustainable technologies use less energy, fewer limited resources, do not deplete natural resources, do not directly or indirectly pollute the environment, and can be reused or recycled at the end of their useful life.[45] There is significant overlap with appropriate technology, which emphasizes the suitability of technology to the context, in particular considering the needs of people in developing countries. However, the most appropriate technology may not be the most sustainable one; and a sustainable technology may have high cost or maintenance requirements that make it unsuitable as an "appropriate technology," as that term is commonly used.

See also

References

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External links

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