Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Smart Design and Checklists

This week’s speaker coupled with the Massive Change readings on energy efficient economies made me think of ways in which we can harness design and innovation to become more efficient with the resources we have now. Much about renewable energy is about the future, it seems as though everyone is waiting for a breakthrough in technology, yet nobody seems to be thinking about what we can do now, with current technology. Our speaker shed some light on what he thought was most important in sustainable design, and how he though many of the difficult questions surrounding effective design don’t have definitive answers. I think Mau does a great job in making the point that there isn’t one solution. Each economy and each ecosystem has its own capabilities and pitfalls. For example, the city is not the most effective place for solar, but more rural lands are. And in Toronto they are harnessing new technology to use existing cold water to fuel air conditioners, saving 75% of the energy normally used. I feel as though these current engineering capabilities and the intelligence that designers now possess can create some change now, while we wait for the breakthrough were all anticipating.

On a different note, I felt our speaker’s interpretation of LEED was great. I like the idea of checklists being synonymous with the bear minimum. I also think it’s interesting looking back and thinking about the way that Bob Janis responded to some of our questions regarding DePaul’s grade on efficiency. He also admittedly did not agree with checklist criteria, or needing to adhere to a set of rules, but that same checklist was the thing that spurred some of the changes we have seen (green roof, composting, solar panels, etc.). So I wonder whether a checklist such as this does more good in the community or does it foster the sense of bear minimum success. For instance, without the checklist would we have done more with regards to sustainability, or continued to ignore it all together?

1 comment:

  1. I also believe that our guest speaker's thoughts on LEED was both informative and interesting. As I walk around DePaul's LP campus, all I can see are these huge yellow posters citing "We're Golden" and although this is a huge accomplishment for DePaul, I do wonder how sustainable these buildings really are. It would be interesting to bring in a panel with a representative from DePaul and Ozimek.