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Newsletter Background
Newsletter
August 2003
Design Forward
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 Sustainable Concepts . Design Forward Newsletter 
August 2003 
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Greetings!

Welcome to the August 2003 newsletter for Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

Quote of the Month: "We must take bold and unequivocal action: we must make the rescue of the environment the central organizing principle for civilization . . . we are now engaged in an epic battle to right the balance of our earth; the tide of this battle will turn only when the majority of people become sufficiently aroused by a shared sense of urgent danger to join an all-out effort. It is time to come to terms with exactly how this can be accomplished" - Al Gore, Former Vice President

in this issue
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  • The House That Mike and Heather Built...
  • Sustainable Building Design Philosophy
  • Alternative Gifts
  • Address Change
  • Feedback

  • Sustainable Building Design Philosophy
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    Sustainable design balances human needs (rather than human wants) with the carrying capacity of the natural and cultural environments. It minimizes environmental impacts, it minimizes importation of goods and energy as well as the generation of waste. The ideal situation would be that if development was necessary, it would be constructed from natural sustainable materials collected onsite, generate its own energy from renewable sources such as solar or wind, and manage its own waste.

    Sustainable design is an ecosystematic approach that demands an understanding of the consequences of our actions. As a tool to understanding this principle, a metaphoric example is drawn using an organism to symbolize functional appropriateness, habitat harmony, and survival based on adaptation and cultivation. The organism makes use of immediately and locally available materials to construct itself, and does so with economy and efficiency. The same strategies when used in development can minimize global and local impacts on resources.

    The organism adapts to its environment through instinctive reaction and an evolutionary process of generations. Through the ability to rationalize and mechanize, humans have the ability to adapt psychologically and physically in a matter of hours, but with little instinct for harmony with the environment. The organism maintains a harmonious relationship with its environment by establishing a balance between its needs and available resources. Similarly, the ecologically sensitive design adjusts demands, lifestyles, and technologies to evolve a compatible balance with the natural and cultural systems within its environment.

    Published by the National Park Services, Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design. Article & Picture NPS

    Building Design Principles... »

    Alternative Gifts
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    Looking for a unique gift that is good for the world too? Eco-Artware is a company dedicated to the environment and the creative reuse and recycle of just about everything. The artists of Eco-Artware salvage bits and pieces and create beautiful art and everyday items for every budget. Find their products for sale on the web.

    Picture Eco-Artware.

    Eco-Artware... »

    Address Change
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    Design Forward moved. Please update your records.

    30 N Raymond, Suite 804, Pasadena, CA 91103

    P / 626.796.2566 F / 626.796.2102

    Contact... »

    Feedback
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    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

    Contact Form... »

    The House That Mike and Heather Built...
    Mike Mobbs, a Sydney environmental lawyer, and his lawyer wife Heather Armstrong wanted to renovate their house - to expand their kitchen and make a bit more living space for the two kids. But when they sat down to plan the job they decided to build a house that would be less of a drain on the planet's resources. Despite living in one of the most densely populated suburbs in Sydney's inner-west, they dreamed-up a house that would:

    Collect all its drinking water from the roof Generate all of its electricity from the sun Process all of its wastewater, including sewage, on site

    These might seem hopelessly optimistic objectives for a house on a block 35 metres long and 5 metres wide, but what began as a private experiment a few years ago is today an example of how a little ingenuity and perseverance can change a house from a waste- belching brick box into a self-contained, sustainable home, without huge sacrifices in lifestyle, routine or comfort. Mike and Heather's plan was more than a hippie pipe- dream, and environmental impact wasn't their only concern. They had a budget to work to and they didn't want a house that looked, sounded or smelt "freakish" - it would need to be resold one day and they couldn't afford to reduce its market value. It needed to be safe and hygienic for themselves and their two children, and they weren't prepared to have weird bits of equipment constantly breaking down and needing repair - all the gadgets had to be off-the-shelf, thoroughly tested technology. Finally, to top-off their wish list, they wanted to carry out the renovations without using rainforest timber or materials that could release toxic chemicals into the house.

    Article & Picture ABC Online

    How They Did It...

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    . Quick Links...

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    Last Month's Newsletter

    Featured Link - Guiding Principles of Sustainable Design (USA)

    Featured Link - The Centre for Sustainable Design (UK)

    Featured Link - Michael Mobbs: Sustainable Design

    Related Topics

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    Revised December 12, 2003