Water and energy conservation through efficient design

Using the examples of domestic hot water and space heating this paper discusses the potential of alternative technologies and efficient design. It questions the practicality of current regulations and recommends that in order to seriously improve efficiencies we should: specify maximum rather than minimum standards; reward the design and use of efficient technologies (e.g. via tax breaks) and allow constant feedback in order to make our standards truly efficient themselves.
Oliver Sylvester-Bradley, Dec 2002

Pernicious Plastics and the Precautionary Principle

History has shown that several plastics, originally considered completely benign, have since proven harmful to ecosystems, animals and ultimately to human health, demanding their control and in some cases elimination from use. This essay discusses the effects of PVC on human health (including a brief look at dioxins and phthalates) and the unsustainable PVC 'deathline'. It stresses the need for, and debates the practicality of, adopting the precautionary principle to limit the adverse effects of plastics.
Oliver Sylvester-Bradley, March 2003

Does Environmental Impact Assessment actually promote Sustainability?

The Rio Declaration calls for EIA to be undertaken for activities that are likely to have a significant adverse impact on the environment but is it actually succeeding in promoting sustainability? This essay discusses the fundamental problems of current assessment and acknowledges the limitations of EIA whilst proposing several means by which to improve on the current system.
Oliver Sylvester-Bradley, May 2003

Natural Materials for Social Change

Analysis of public attitudes to health indicate that increased awareness of the dangers posed by synthetic materials could further demand for natural alternatives and help prompt social change. As Edward Harland notes 'it is people healthy in body and spirit who are most likely to have the energy, enthusiasm and vision to solve the immense problems facing life on this planet'.
Oliver Sylvester-Bradley, June 2003

Advancing Environmental Strategies

From Compromise to Collaboration in the Design Process
This essay argues that a compromising approach to design is ineffective, short-sighted and in fact, outdated by advanced design techniques that culminate in more sophisticated, acceptable and rewarding solutions. Sim Van der Ryn explains that 'the most powerful technique available is an integrated design process that brings together project participants, stakeholders and outside expertise at the earliest practical point in the project to collaborate, co-create and execute a shared vision.'

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