Sustainable Architecture, Design, and Philosophy
What does it mean to be Sustainable?
Responsible sustainable design requires a full understanding of the factors involved in creating environmentally friendly products, buildings., living, and work environments. It is not enough to use a few "green" products then call the product/building sustainable. True sustainability means taking no more than you produce and leaving no trace behind when you are done. This is a high standard to meet and not everyone can do it. However, a project can still be eco-friendly even if it hasn't reached the sustainable mark. Eco-friendly typically is used to describe something that isn't causing harm to the environment and is making progress towards being a sustainable entity. Being sustainable with architecture involves a holistic approach of thinking about future use, environmental impact from site selection, environmental quality for building users, community connectivity etc. A similar approach applies to other aspects of our lives.
If you want to go beyond design and incorporate green into daily life be sure to visit Green Me Please: SimpleTips for an Earth Friendly Life.
What is Green Washing?
Ethics in eco-marketing.
Green washing is the misleading practice of changing one aspect of a product or business to something that makes it appear earth friendly when it is actually missing the mark. Examples of this are companies that make one eco friendly change, such as recycling their paper then focus all their advertising to how their company is really earth friendly. Don't get me wrong, it's great that they are making small changes, but, often these same companies are also engaging in very damaging practices that more than negatively offset the good changes. So, keep that in mind the next time you see a big chemical company telling you they are 'green'. They may be telling the truth but when going green is popular ods are good that eco-consciousness is just being used as a marketing hook.
Want to read more about ethics in architecture? Check out Ethics and the Built Environment.
Sustainable Mission - Architecture as a holistic art form.
Architecture should appeal to both the client and society as a whole. This ideal calls for an encompassing dialogue to exist between the architect, client, and neighbors. As a profession, Architecture exists due to a desire by mankind for structures which surpass that of a functional nature. Skillful design is achieved through a seamless combination of function and aesthetics. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of cost-benefit analysis and sustainable design.
Sustainability and Art
How can art be 'green'?
While most of us typically don't think of paintings, crafts, and sculptures when we think about the environment, art can do a lot for the sustainable movement. The most important thing art can do to promote green design is to make the subject of the art something that will draw attention to using less, recycling, etc. Now that you are thinking in these terms it's now probably obvious that art does indeed help the green movement; just think of all the websites, t-shirts, and bumper stickers out there spreading the message and how much they depend on good design. But this isn't the only way art can help out.
Art can be inherently 'green," and I'm not talking about color. Paintings can be made using organic paints on recycled canvas or paper. Crafts can be made out of all sorts of found, recycled, and up-cycled objects. The possibilities are endless and the practice of trying to re-use objects can spark the creative process.
If you'd like some inspiration to make your own eco-crafts check out my other lens:
Wanting to add some eco-art to your website or printable project? I have a lens for that too:
Greening our world one building at a time.
Green (sustainable) architecture is the practice of designing buildings so that they make minimal impact on the environment both during construction and for the life of the building. This includes proper site selection, energy efficient design, daylighting techniques, choosing green materials, and even considering what will happen when the building use changes.
Popular green building certification programs in the United States are LEED and Energy Star. But it is not necessary for a building to have approval from an organization for it to be sustainable. The purpose of such programs is to develop standards that communicate to the designer what they need to consider and let the client and public know just how "green" the project is. In short, certification takes away the need to wonder if someone is not being entirely truthful about their projects sustainable efforts.
What are people saying about green architecture? Visit my other lens:
What will the world look like 100 years from now if we don't also recognize that leading sustainable lives means controlling the size of human population? What can we do to achieve this?
Distributing birth control to everyone has been offered as a solution, yet doesn't seem like a viable option since many are unwilling or unable to medicate as directed. And there is also the additional concern of that much birth control adding estrogen to our water supply...a problem that is already starting to concern some.
What about government restrictions on how many kids one can have? Assuming our current population is not too high for the planet's resources (as some debate we may have already gone over the limit), It would be sustainable for each one of us to be allowed to have one replacement; meaning a couple could have two children. But what are the ethical implications of attempting to enforce such a rule? In China abortions are forced on unwilling mothers, is that something we are prepared to accept as the norm? I hope it doesn't have to come to that. Forced sterilization wouldn't be much better.
There is currently no good solution to this problem, but it's something we need to start thinking about.
While the built and natural environments are affected by things like population, did you also know that Aesthetics Shapes Our Lives?
What is your solution for overpopulation?
Debate: Global Climate and Design - Where do you stand on this issue?
note: Climate change is commonly called 'global warming'.
Will Global Climate Change Affect Design?
Biomimicry - Design inspired by nature.
What is biomimicry?
Biomimicry is, in the most basic sense, a study of design in nature.
I'm wokring on a lens related to this topic. Those who want a quick overview can read more about Biomimicry on wiki or watch the TEDtalk below:
Using Nature's Genius in Architecture
"How can architects build a new world of sustainable beauty? By learning from nature. At TEDSalon in London, Michael Pawlyn describes three habits of nature that could transform architecture and society: radical resource efficiency, closed loops, and drawing energy from the sun." - TEDtalk by Michael Pawlyn