What do you consider when you think about humanity’s carbon footprint? Do you applaud those that drive an electric car? Or do you commend those who commute by bicycle or public transit? Maybe the fuel-efficient home is more desirable than keeping the thermostat low on cold days while wearing an extra layer of clothes?
When addressing issues pertaining to “greenness,” perhaps a step back from personal preconceptions, even as an environmental designer, can help gain needed perspective. What one person is able to do may not be what another is capable of doing, yet most would agree that protecting our environment is a noble cause. What do you consider when planning or designing for environmental sustainability?
Five tips for gathering and implementing sustainability options for the population you serve include the following:
- Understand the needs and desires of individual clients or people you serve;
- Understand the type of environmental sustainability required or desired;
- Search for alternative designs to satisfy the outcome;
- Offer alternatives for selection;
- Develop a knowledge base for public consumption via websites, brochures, or social media.
Awareness of the perceptions related to living a green life may also help when establishing designs and plans. We are often bombarded with messages such as buying a hybrid car or installing new windows as the best alternatives for doing our part for the environment. Yet it can be small things that lead to a better quality of life, and the right marketing can influence successful promotion.
What methods or resources have you used in developing planning or design options for your clients? Which would you or wouldn’t you recommend?