Design a Better FutureAccording to the World Commission on the Environment and Development, sustainability is “a form of development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Sustainable design shares that big-picture view of how our choices affect more than the present. Effective sustainable design is a comprehensive approach to selecting and integrating products and processes that account for long-term consumer satisfaction and environmental conservation. Sustainable design is about building the future, not just a structure. Sustainability is as much about process as it is about product. Seeing sustainable design as a process empowers “green” designers to better evaluate and anticipate the environmental, economical and social impacts and costs of building products. Bigger-picture evaluations at the start of a project lead to better long-term decisions—and that leads to greater overall success. Programs like Better Environmental and Economic Sustainability (BEES) and industry-certification programs like Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design can help you design more effectively with sustainability in mind. According to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the following questions should be asked to determine if a design is sustainable:
- Does it have a long life?
- Does it save energy?
- Does it add durability?
- Does it contribute to the waste stream?
- Is it renewable and recyclable?
Sustainable Design Resources
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