Design for Sustainability

How to use Design Sustainability in Products and Services

Design Sustainable can apply to products, services or social consciousness of the importance of the environment and the limited resources on the planet.  A variety of different companies make use of the term in their advertising and marketing campaigns. 

While most companies are honestly making an effort to “go green”, there are some that use the catch phrases simply to take advantage of the popularity of the “eco-cache”.  Here are the principles that companies should adhere to if they are truly environmentally conscious.

•           Use less energy in the workplace and during manufacturing
•           Manufacture products that use less energy
•           Develop products that do not require greenhouse gas emitting energy sources to operate
•           Use materials that are safe, non-toxic, recycled or have a high level of sustainability
•           Create longer-lasting products in order to reduce the need for new materials
•           Use materials produced locally in order to reduce the energy needed for transportation
•           Create and work in healthy buildings

There are other principles, such as those developed by architect William McDonough for the 2000 EXPO in Germany.  Some feel that his principles go too far.  He talks about coexisting with nature, creating no waste and respecting the relationship between spirit and matter.

Governmental standards have been created for those that want to design sustainable buildings.  The best known is LEED, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  Another is the US Whole Building Design Guide which helps designers look at the big picture, the impact that the whole project will make on the environment and people.

One LEED building recently opened produces more energy than it uses due to its solar cells and energy efficient heating, cooling and appliances.  One complaint that some builders and designers have with the LEED standards is that they do not vary from one state to the next.

In order to create a design for sustainable buildings, the use of electricity and water must be considered.  Critics of the LEED standards often say that water conservation is not an issue in all US states.  In truth, water conservation is an issue all over the world.

Pursuing LEED certification is said to add to the cost of the project.  But, those costs are recouped quickly according to researchers. 

The 2030 Challenge asks architects and construction companies to voluntarily attempt to produce only carbon-neutral buildings by the year 2030, this can easily be done if the approach to building is Design Sustainable.

Climate Change |