Design a Better Future

According 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.”

House Sealed with Spray Foam with copy right 2Sustainable 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:

  1. Does it have a long life?
  2. Does it save energy?
  3. Does it add durability?
  4. Does it contribute to the waste stream?
  5. Is it renewable and recyclable?

Sustainable Design Resources

Trenchless HDPE Pipe Laid in Arlington Cemetary

Replacing Iron Pipe with HDPE Plastic Pipe at Arlington Cemetery

HDPE Plastic Pipe Goes Under Ground with Fewer Trenches Time to make water main repairs at Arlington National Cemetery, and officials chose HDPE plastic pipe. The pipe laying project replaced 44,500 feet of 60 year old...

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PVC Piping: The Ultimate Underground Solution

One of the world’s most versatile plastics started as an accident in a rubber scientist’s laboratory some 80 years ago. Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) was first created by a German chemist in 1872, but never patented until 1913. It...

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Plastics: Building Material of the 20th Century

Until 1900, writes Robert Bailey, building construction largely involved three basic available materials: wood, stone, and clay (earth). The 20th Century, however, saw the advent of more materials than all past centuries...

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How to Build Small Affordable Houses That Use 30% Less Total Energy in the Mixed-Humid Climate

This report describes how to build a high-performance affordable house that will achieve 30% whole house energy savings using proven, commercially available technologies in the mixed-humid climate region.

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Plastic insulation – a sustainable solution

In 1987 the United Nations defined sustainability as meeting “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Current concerns about climate change means that today...

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