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  • Sustainable design

    Environmentally sustainable design (also called environmentally conscious design, eco design etc.) is the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of ecological sustainability.

    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.)

    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 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.

    In the EU, the concept of sustainable design is referred to as ecodesign. Little discussions have 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.

    Discussed above, economics is another aspect of it environmental design that is crucial to most design decisions. It is obvious that most people consider the cost of any design before they consider the environmental impacts of it. Therefore, there is a growing nuance of pitching ideas and suggestions for environmentally sustainable design by highlighting the economical profits that they bring to us. "As the green design field matures, it becomes ever more clear that integration is the key to achieving energy and environmental goals especially if cost is a major driver." Building Green Inc. (1999) To achieve the more ambitious goals of the green design movement, architects, engineers and designers need to further embrace and communicate the profit and economic potential of sustainable design measures. Focus should be on honing skills in communicating the economic and profit potential of smart design, with the same rigor that have been applied to advancing technical building solutions.

    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. 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, ņUrgent Architecture: 40 Sustainable Housing Solutions for a Changing World. 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.

    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.

    Green design has often been used interchangeably with environmentally sustainable design. There is a popular debate about this with several arguing that green design is in effect narrower than sustainable design, which takes into account a larger system. Green design focuses on the short term goals and while it is a worthy goal, a larger impact is possible using sustainable design. Another factor to be considered is that green design has been stigmatized by popular personalities such as Pritzker Architecture Prize winner Frank Gehry, but this branding hasn't reached sustainable design. A large part of that is because of how environmentally sustainable design is generally used hand in hand with economically sustainable design and socially sustainable design. Finally, green design is although unintentionally, often associated only with architecture while sustainable design has been considered under a much larger scope.

    Improving the overall building performance through the reduction of negative impacts on the environment is the primary goal. Reducing consumption of non-renewable resources, minimizing waste and creating healthy, productive environments are the primary objectives of sustainability. Optimizing site potential, minimizing non-renewable energy consumption, using environmentally preferable products, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality, and optimizing operational and maintenance practices are some of the primary principles. An essential element of Sustainable Building Design is indoor environmental quality including air quality, illumination, thermal conditions, and acoustic. Interior design, when done correctly, can harness the true power of sustainable architecture.