SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

"Sustainable design (also called environmental design, 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.

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'."
  • Design impact measures for total carbon footprint and life-cycle assessment for any resource used are increasingly required and available.
  • 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..."
  • 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).
  • Renewability: 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."

© Lauren Holly Best, all rights reserved