Thursday, July 17, 2003


I am helping with setting up a green design review for architecture students at University of Oregon. We plan to include local professionals, instructors, and students.

Here is the beginnings of a checklist:

1. Systems thinking
- integration of systems and elements, causality loops taken into consideration
2. Elements
- energy, heating/cooling, water, waste treatment, materials
3. Social impact
- local and global levels
4. Lifecycle considerations
- Cost, maintenance, reuse of building and/or materials
5. Attractiveness
- aesthetics, ease of use, cost of building/operation, match with user wants and needs, overall attractiveness
6. Feasibility
- technology, cost


More in depth:

1. Systems thinking
Integration of systems and elements. Causality loops taken into consideration.

a. Systems view (does changes in one element/system lead to opportunities in other elements/systems?)
b. Multiple functions (do the elements serve multiple functions or combine functions?)
c. Relation to a more sustainable society (How does it facilitate a move to a more sustainable society? How may it fit into a more sustainable society of the future? )

System changes with new opportunities: Super insulation lead to reduced size or elimination of furnace/air conditioning (Rocky Mountain Institute).
Multiple functions: Roof serving as shelter, shade, solar energy collector, water collection, garden, habitat etc.

2. Elements
Sustainability of the elements and systems.

a. Site location/impact (integration into local ecosystem, site restoration)
b. Energy (in/storage/out, heating/cooling, day- and artificial lighting)
c. Water (in/storage/out)
d. Waste treatment (foodscraps, greywater, human waste)
e. Materials (origin, transportation, toxicity, opportunity for reuse)

Use of local, non-toxic, and less processed materials.
Designed with climate and microclimate in mind.

3. Social impact
Local and global social impact.

a. Equity (is it affordable?)
b. Social interaction (what type of social interaction does it facilitate?)
c. Quality of life (how does it facilitate well-being and/or productivity?)
d. Educational element (does the building offer opportunities for ecological learning to its users?)


4. Life-cycle considerations
Life-cycle view of building and materials.

a. Reason for existence, size (does it need to be built? can it be smaller?)
b. Existing vs. new building (adaptive reuse)
c. Impact on site (integration in local ecosystem, site restoration)
d. Operation and maintenance
e. End-of-life (flexibility, ease in converting to different use, ease of deconstruction).

a. Source (embedded energy, degree of processing, local or not)
b. Operation (nontoxic, lasting)
c. End-of-Life (reusable, compostable)

5. Attractiveness
Overall attractiveness. Will people use it?

a. Aesthetics (will they like/want it?)
b. Ease of use (will they be able to use it?)
c. Match with user expectations, motivation, their perceived needs, and (sub)culture (will they accept it?)


6. Feasibility
How realistic? Can it be done?

a. Technology (is it available?)
b. Cost (is it affordable?)


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