Is sustainable design the same as environmental design?

Sustainable design (also called environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, environmentally friendly design, etc.) seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health and comfort of building occupants, thus improving building performance. The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce the consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste and create healthy and productive environments. Sustainability is not an enemy of development, but it shows us that there is a path to development without compromising future generations or damaging the environment. Although the construction and architecture industries have adopted more sustainable techniques, it is still common to confuse “ecological design” and “sustainable design”.

While ecological design is more related to environmental concerns, sustainable design goes much further. Leasing a product instead of selling it directly allows the company to manage the product throughout its life cycle, so it can be designed so that it can be easily included again in a pre-designed recycling or remanufacturing system and, at the same time, reducing waste. Sustainability matters is a federal agency's first comprehensive description of the problems of constructing, operating and maintaining facilities in a sustainable manner. And, therefore, they are involved in the environmental and social impacts that their creations have on the world.

This is where things are designed to be intentionally broken or the customer is blocked by designs that limit repairs or software updates that slow down processes. The use of a sustainable design philosophy encourages decision-making at every stage of the design process that will reduce negative impacts on the environment and the health of the occupants, without compromising the final results. Regional project execution teams report on compliance with the Guiding Principles, among other sustainability details, through the GSA GBuild system (lifecycle database of information on green building upgrades). That's why social media apps are designed to act like slot machines with continuous scrolling, and that's why airport security lines make you feel like a farm animal.

Just like anything can be built with small Lego blocks, modularity as a sustainable design approach involves the end owner in the design so that they can reconfigure the product to adapt to their changing living needs. The way it is assembled, the types of materials used and the connection methods should be designed to increase the speed and ease of disassembly for repair, remanufacturing and recycling. Much of this content comes from my manual on circular system design and, at UnSchool Online, I have a short course on sustainable design strategies and a more extensive one on sustainable design and production. Taking into account the potential impact of your designs on all types of human beings is fundamental to creating things that are ethical and equitable.

The design phase is a perfect and necessary opportunity to find unique and creative ways to bring sustainable and circular goods and services to the economy in order to replace the pollutants and disposables that flood today's market. Now I couldn't tell you what it's like, but I do know that you can get a degree in Interior Design and then get LEED certification, which is a certification that focuses on ecological design (not necessarily what the article here is actually about). For example, many Apple products are intentionally designed to be difficult to repair, with patented screws and legal implications for opening the products. I have been a designer for more than 30 years and look forward to all the sustainable environmental design ideas that will emerge in the future.


Summer Williams
Summer Williams

Devoted explorer. Lifelong coffee buff. Proud zombie nerd. Typical music fan. Wannabe analyst. Avid web buff.

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