What is Sustainable Design?

The flower

A few weeks ago I was attending a meeting between Odoni-Elwell (my employers) and the Eco Design Centre which served as a meet and greet between new members of the two organisations (and what I feel could turn out to be the beginning of a learning experience for myself!). I showed up at the meeting knowing very little about eco-design and although I left still lacking detailed knowledge in the area, I was eager to investigate and learn more. In many areas, Odoni-Elwell are where they need to be. However, the company wishes to embed a sustainable approach still further.

This is perhaps best illustrated by our environmental policy, intended as an honest appraisal of our abilities and aims. It can be found on our new website here:  www.odoni-elwell.com

The topic of discussion for the meeting was very much how we can move forward and improve our environmental  credentials. Out of interest and a desire to assist the project, its important I understand firstly what sustainable design actually is and how eco-design aligns alongside it.

Sustainable design (also termed environmental design, environmentally sustainable design, and environmentally conscious design) is described as the philosophy of designing physical objects, the built environment, and services to comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability (McLennan, 2006). I found myself asking “What does this definition mean to us (Odoni-Elwell) who are traditionally a Steel Fabricating company?” In McLennan’s (2006) book  “The Philosophy of Sustainable Design” the intention of sustainable design is described as the need to eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skilful, sensitive design. Manifestations of sustainable design require no non-renewable resources, impact the environment minimally, and connect people with the natural environment.

It’s early days in my learning process, but I’ve come to the interim conclusion that no matter what you are currently doing it is possible to be more environmentally sensitive by adhering to sustainable design principles. The question I keep pondering however, is this; “Can Odoni-Elwell improve its environmental credentials through good design?”. Equally, does eco-design provide some, all or even any of the answer? As our project work with the Eco-design centre progresses, the answer to these difficult questions are likely to be revealed.

This post serves as an introduction for series of weekly updates discussing sustainable design and other related topics.

McLennan, J. (2006). The Philosophy of Sustainable Design. Ecotone Publishing: UK

The Sustainable Design Cycle

1 comment
  1. Reblogged this on CycleStuff and commented:

    Nice article from Callam, a new recruit at Odoni-Elwell. Great to see such enthusiasm from the team.

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