Sustainability Office Adventure

From this weeks reading, I learned that nature inspires design more than we think.  Natural light can determine where you are, also! Depending on the location of the sun and how it hits the windows in a room can tell people what time of day it is, too! Nature also reduces stress so incorporating it into your designs is crucial.  My learning community met with another group to discuss their article.  They informed us that using plants in design increases excitement.  Seeing nature in design encourages and welcomes users.

In class this week we watched a TED Talk by Elora Handy.  She talked houses in Bali that are being built out of bamboo.  These homes use only seven species of bamboo out of thousands, so it encourages sustainable living.  Bamboo is efficient and grows very quickly and has the tensile strength of steel.  Since bamboo grows so quickly, it is unlikely that they will ever run out of it.  Another video we watched was about the invention of edible spoons.  They are made of rice, millets, and wheat and are entirely edible.  If you don’t want to eat them, however, they completely decompose in four to five days.  There are a variety of flavors including celery, black pepper, cumin, and garlic.  These spoons also provide nutrients. Over 1.5 million spoons have already been produced. What a great idea and way to promote sustainability!

The term biophilia refers to the love of life or living systems.  There are many benefits of biophilic design.  Biophilic design improves health, reduces heart rate and blood pressure, and helps one perform cognitive tasks.  In the video, one speaker pointed out that if you are in a room with no windows, such as an office, you won’t want to be there very long.  When you add windows and can see nature, however, work is easier to do and gives off a better vibe.  Some patterns in biophilic design include non-rythmic sensory, which reduces heart rate and blood pressure just as I had previously mentioned, the presence of water, which is calming, and biomorphic design, which mimics things in nature.

At the sustainability office visit I was surprised how much I learned.  I was not aware they did upholstery repairs in their upholstery center.  I learned they do anywhere from one to three hundred sofas per year! I found this super interesting because they are cutting back the number of new materials they have to buy.  They are being sustainable and using what they have to get what they want.  In the presentation, I also learned that over 35 million dollars have been saved on the Oklahoma State campus since 2007 because they are turning off HVAC systems and lights when it is not necessary for them to be on.  I learned that I can help by turning off the lights on campus and recycling more to help the university as a whole.

This week I learned that if everyone cuts back on their consumption and usage, we can save a drastic amount and this will help preserve materials more than we think.

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