What is Eco Design?
Ecology is living comfortably at a fraction of the cost of our lavish lifestyles.
Renewable energy and conservation are the key to a sustainable future. Renewable energy is a form of energy capable of being regenerated by natural processes at meaningful rates.
Is the use of ecological design principles and strategies to design our built environment and our ways of life so that they integrate benignly and seamlessly with the natural environment that includes the biosphere, which contains all the forms of life that exist on earth.
Incorporate passive survivability into buildings. Design buildings that will maintain livable conditions in the event of power outages, which are likely to become more common with climate change. Strategies include high-insulation levels, top-performance glazing, cooling-load avoidance measures, natural ventilation, daylighting, and renewable energy systems.
DESIGN FOR WARMER TEMPERATURES
Raise the cooling design temperature when modeling buildings and sizing mechanical equipment. Our buildings will experience higher temperatures than most present energy modeling predicts, and they should be able to function well in those conditions.
Incorporate more robust cooling-load-avoidance strategies into buildings. For example, limit glazing areas, particularly on east and west facades; increase insulation levels; landscape spaces to provide vegetative shading; and specify only the most efficient lighting, appliances, and office equipment to limit internal gains.
Recognize that termite ranges will extend northward.
DESIGN FOR WILDFIRE
Avoid development in fire-prone areas, which are expanding.
Follow fire-safe design and construction practices.
DESIGN FOR MORE INTENSE STORMS, FLOODING, AND RISING SEA LEVELS
Design buildings to satisfy rigorous hurricane codes.
Build on higher ground. 100-year floods are the new 10-year floods—plan accordingly.
Increase stormwater capacity. More intense storms mean greater stormwater flows, straining the capacity of conventional systems. In expanding that capacity, try to rely on ecologically responsible features, such as constructed wetlands.
Specify materials that can survive wetting. Particularly on lower floors, use finish materials that can get wet and dry out without supporting mold growth. Design wall cavities that can drain and dry if flooding occurs.
DESIGN FOR DROUGHT
Avoid development in the driest areas. Gauge the long-term availability of water before embarking on a project.
Plumb buildings for graywater separation. Even if current codes do not allow graywater systems, configure plumbing so that such systems can later be added.
Plant drought-resistant, native plants.