The Main Lessons Learned from the Course

Bingjie Zeng

Professor Michael Sammet

IAD 380


Lessons Learned from the Course

The course has been excellent with different approaches to sustainability learned over the period of the course and looking at some of the strategies that if employed will transform the ecosystem. Sustainability is a wide concept and one of the greatest aspects of the course is improving the overall definition of sustainability as I previously used to know. Sustainability is defined as the set of conditions and trends that ensure a given system can continue indefinitely with a specific focus on the relationship between human beings and the living systems on the planet that supports the lives of humans. Sustainability is informed by the need to ensure humans prudently use the resources available to ensure they serve the present and future generations. The world is endowed with several resources in different amounts and human practices will directly influence the ability of these resources to serve the current and future needs. Sustainability is not a preserve of a particular group of people but rather all humans from all cadres of life have a role to ensure that the resources on the planet are used in a way that they serve the interests of all humans whether in the present or in future.

The course highlights the different strategies that are being used by different countries around the world to ensure sustainable designs are introduced as part of coming up with approaches to manage the ecosystem in a better way. Sustainability is part of the policy goals and legislations have been enacted to guide some of the practices that can be used in ensuring that designers and ordinary individuals engage in sustainable design practices. There are several bodies that have been formed to ensure that designers and developers engage in practices that reinforce sustainability goals. The objective of these bodies is to ensure that materials used in the process of coming up with buildings meet certain specifications and they regulate some of the raw materials used in the manufacture of the different materials used in the construction process. Consequently, the strategies employed to ensure that people use materials that meet certain specifications and criteria that have been outlined in law hence ensuring that sustainability goals are achieved. Some of the bodies formed and working towards the realization of sustainability goals include:

  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • The Nature Conservancy
  • Wildlife Resources Institute
  • United Nations Environmental Program
  • The US Green Building Council
  • Building Green

The other insightful aspect from the course includes the different strategies and items that can be used in ensuring that sustainable designs become a reality. Some of the sustainable strategies that have been discussed in the course include passive sustainable designs, active sustainable designs, and the incorporation of renewable energy systems. Furthermore, some of the additional areas that are incorporated include green building materials and finishes, native landscaping, and storm water management strategies. The strategies are defined by several strategies including biophilic designs, biomimicry, and green roofs as well as the integration of design with patterns existing in nature. The LEED buildings and examples of the different buildings around the world were informative as they highlighted the meeting point of sustainability and architecture to ensure the overall quality of life is improved as humans enjoy magnificent designs. Sustainability in design seems to address different environmental costs and negative externalities with the strategies adopted allowing for a significant level of energy efficiency being witnessed in the process.

In conclusion, the course has been informative and transformative with some of the strategies that can go a long way in ensuring the overall ecosystem is improved both at the personal level and external environments. The personal sustainability project that focused on some of the strategies that could be employed at the personal level to reduce carbon footprint especially in the fashion environment shows the way small actions can have a long-term sustainability impact. By moving away from fast fashion and embracing designs that allow for sustainability from materials to longevity, the PSP allowed me to understand and reduce my carbon footprint on the surface of the earth.

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