In my own words I would say that sustainability would best be defined as maintaining a person, environment, or economy in the most efficient manner.
I think that sustainable design is intentionally planning a built environment, product or service to maintain a person, the natural environment, and economy.
At the beginning of this course I had the idea that sustainability was about the earth and its people. I knew from previous courses that maintaining our older adults’ independence through universal design and programs such as PACE was considered sustainability. I also knew that sustainability was about preserving our environment for future generations because I think that’s the first thing that comes to mind when you enter this course. However, learning money was something we could sustain was something that surprised me but also struck me as a hidden obvious answer as well. This course has helped me see how this triple bottom line connects and creates a bigger picture.
I think the day that stood out the most to me in this course was the day we had the guest speaker from AATCC come to class. The entire concept of “green-washing” was something that horrified me and will stick with me.
I think that was really created an epiphany for me was being able to see a lot of cross-over information from my problem-solving course, my facility management course and this one when it comes to empathic design. Seeing what I’ve learned about empathic design be carried out throughout my program here at Oklahoma State helped drive home the importance to using it in my designs. I think that by using empathic design it has the potential to differentiate myself as a compassionate Interior Designer. I had previously heard of user-centered design but now I think that empathic design is better. Empathic design involves doing design probes, taking survey, and even physically getting in that users situation to truly understand their point of view. This differs from user-centered design, where we just consider what it must be like to be the user and design from that stand point to resolve their current issues. It would have been beneficial to do a brief overview of the LEED credits and what it takes to get a building certified. I currently would like to learn more about ways to catch green-washing in the manufacturers that I am specifying. I know that in this course and through our guest speaker we learned about using ratings systems and certifications as a way of catching a company green-washing but I feel like there should be more ways to identify falsifying information. For example, there are programs in which they scan your essay and can automatically know if you plagiarized. They also have scanning software for scouting employees. When going over resumes a program searches out key words and will only show the employer the limited resumes that had those key words. Do we not have the ability to scan a company for green-washing? I think that maybe it would have been beneficial if my studio professor could have worked with our sustainability professor to play off each other for a single assignment. For example, our current project in studio is over a three-story tenant improvement for a PACE program. It would have been extremely beneficial if we were required to make the building LEED certified and use specific empathic design strategies from this course. To then be able to show that same project to our sustainability professor and get credit for his class as for getting credit for studio. I think that by working with both professors at the same time for a single project it creates a unity that reflects a real world application of teamwork and pulling in sources.