When it rains it pours in Bangladesh during the monsoon season, and hundreds of schools frequently shut down as a result. That's why the non profit organization Shidhulai Swanirvar Sangstha was founded in 2002 to build solar-powered boat schools that provide uninterrupted education year round. The simple floating structures are made of locally-sourced natural materials, and each boat is equipped with rooftop solar panels, a small library with electronic resources, and a laptop with internet connectivity.
Industrial recycling is a practice of growing importance and impending European 'take-back' legislation and economic pressures are increasing this. In addition, landfill sites have become problematic and therefore industry needs novel approaches to recycling pre and post consumer waste. As a result, recyclers are working on broadening the range of reusable components from the waste stream. However, cost constraints limit the number of different products that can be recycled. Future trends in product design engineering point towards recycling as an integral part of the life cycle of electronic consumer products. As the amount and diversity of electronic products increases dramatically, current models of production and dismantling seem outdated.
I strongly recommend reading this article, as it describes a specific project called "Active Disassembly Using Smart Materials". This uses temperature-sensitive material to make fasteners and actuator devices used in the interior of electronics reusable. It's also a good introduction to the design process and practical, cost-effective recycling.
Sustainable product design (SDP): a systemic approach. SPD is part of a socio-technical system. It is important to remember that product design defines the physical product system which causes environmental impacts and which may contribute to environmental problems. These results are perceived by internal and external stakeholders, which results in requirements for product design. Only sustainable products which have a high customer acceptance can replace less sustainable products.
Lifecycle assessment (LCA) is a method to quantify the environmental impacts of a product or service, such as greenhouse gas emissions, water pollution, land use, toxins, and more. These impacts can be measured for any or all phases of a product’s lifecycle, including manufacturing, distribution, use, and disposal. LCA can be used for many purposes, from helping inform the early stages of the design process to providing detailed data for environmental reporting.
Environmentally responsible design decisions are based on an assessment of the global environmental impact of human behavior. This assessment has two components. First, scale must be calculated, which can be done using arithmetic and statistics. From electricity consumption per square foot to solid-waste production per household per annum, any parameter can be estimated and scaled to give global averages and then extrapolated backward and forward in time. Second, the importance of the outcome must be calculated and weight must be assigned in order to make comparisons among the potential outcomes.
The paradigm shift from unsustainable to sustainable design and construction is challenging those who are responsible for the built environment. Ultimately, environmentally responsible design and construction will be the joint endeavor of government officials, professional planners, developers, financiers, architects, engineers, interior designers, construction managers, code officials, landscape architects, and facility managers, as well as the tradespeople responsible for the systems that support the infrastructure and the interconnections of the elements of the built environment.
Historian Donald Hughes writes that the modern ecological crisis was made possible by our view of the natural world as something to be freely used. Hughes claims that by contrast, the animist religions of ancient cultures held nature to be sacred, on a plane equal to mankind. This belief limited what cultures felt able to "take" from nature, as described in Daniel Quinn's fable Ishmael. Several late stone-age cultures (including Egyptian, Judaic, and its descendent Christian) replaced animism with a monotheistic belief that placed humans in a superior position to nature, and encouraged its exploitation... Hughes' overview offers an opportunity to question our assumptions: Is humanity separate from, and more important than nature? Does nature exist only to be of service to humankind?
The truth is that sustainable design has had many beginnings and the story goes back further than we can remember or record... Each of these stages can be thought of as a distinct evolutionary stage. The four stages include:
The Biological Beginning of Sustainable Design
The Indigenous Vernacular Beginning of Sustainable Design
The Industrial Beginning of Sustainable Design
The Modern Beginning of Sustainable Design
This history is interesting because it describes how we have humans have gone in a circle--from our natural roots in our relationship to the biosphere and the indigenous architecture of ancient cultures, to the onset of industrialization and a commercialized and wasteful culture, and now back to natural relationships with and solutions for the environment.
The main objectives of sustainable design are to avoid resource depletion of energy, water, and raw materials; prevent environmental degradation caused by facilities and infrastructure throughout their life cycle; and create built environments that are livable, comfortable, safe, and productive.
A lot of buildings and building products get designated green or sustainable because they contain a few features that lower their environmental impact to some degree. Sustainable design is not about features... Sustainable design is the philosophical basis of a growing movement of individuals and organizations that literally seeks to redefine how buildings are designed, built, and operated to be more responsible to the environment and responsive to people.
Envi, is a foresight urban dustbin, promoting composting from biodegradable waste. The project is based on a social approach. It shows the benefits that we can take from urban recycling. It makes waste into nutritious compost for the plant which it carries and lives in harmony with. The big part of the produced compost can be separated from Envi for usage in other occasions. This project uses bio-reactive substances based on photo catalysis to accelerate the degradation process of waste, remove bad smells and polluting gas.