Where as in the past, buildings needed to be small so that everyone could have a window seat and work by the sunlight; innovation has led to buildings not always responding to nature and their surroundings, because literally “the sky is the limit”. 

There are clearly alternatives to the “super-sized” attitude of construction and development.  We see this in the desire for smaller home designs, as discussed on the Small House Society website (http://smallhousesociety.net).  Re-use instead of buying new has become trendy in design – avoiding exhausting our natural resources.  I think that everyone needs to start asking questions (Dillon, 88); such as “is it really necessary to require brand new materials?”  The answer is, yes, no and sometimes, but not always.  One of the best things you can do for the environment is to use what has already been produced – reuse, recycle, and repurpose (Rider 152).

People in the past did not stop to think when they cut down trees to make a house: the forests stretched for thousands of miles.  They didn’t have to worry about running out of stone or clay, and lighting a fire to bake bricks hardly made a stain in the blue, empty air.  It seemed as if there would be enough materials to last forever and that no amount of fire would damage the sky.  But these days the earth doesn’t seem so strong.  Today we have to learn to make buildings that harm the earth less.

-The Story of Buildings, Patrick Dillon

Sustainable design is more than just an ecological, economical, political and cultural benefit to society – it’s a promise; something that I honor.  Whether I am planning a party or redesigning a space; I am considering what is best for everyone - not just me.  I am assessing, re-assessing and basing my design element decisions on the following responses to these questions:

1.     Is it good for the environment?
2.     Is it affordable within my own means?
3.     Is it sensible?
4.     Is it safe, trusted and reputable?

The goal is for sustainable design to be all encompassing; providing that our generation manages natural resources; such that the average quality of life that we ensure ourselves can potentially be shared by all future generations.

-Tera M. Sade

Dillion, Patrick.  The Story of Buildings. 
China: Candlewick Press, 2014. 72-88.
Rider, Traci Rose, Glass, Stacy, and McNaughton, Jessica.  Understanding Green Building Materials. Ed.
Karen Levine.  New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2011.  112-153.
Vollmer, Christopher A. “The Art of the Possible.”
Forbes 28 Oct.2014. 10 Nov. 2014 <http://

AuthorLauren Erickson