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Building Green Web Resources

Codes and Standards

These are some online tools that you can use to look for codes and standards. Also included are links to reports and documentation that may also be useful as you think through your design.

Design Inspiration

TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. The TEDx program gives communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level. TEDx events are planned and coordinated independently. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign hosts a TEDx event each spring. Visit TEDxUIUC for more information.

For more TED design videos, visit Design That Matters.

Sustainable Design Principles

In The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, Jason F. McLennan said designers should "eliminate negative environmental impact completely through skillful, sensitive design." Practical application varies among design diciplines (product design, architecture, landscape design, urban planning, etc.), but they all share some common principles:

  • Use non-toxic, sustainably produced, or recycled materials which have a lower environmental impact than traditional materials.
  • Use manufacturing processes and produce products which are more energy efficient than traditional processes and end products.
  • Build longer-lasting and better-functioning products which will have to be replaced less frequently, which reduces the impact of producing replacements.
  • Design products for reuse and recycling. Make them easy to disassemble so that the parts can be reused to make new products.
  • Consult sustainable design standards and guides, (e.g. Design for the Environment),
  • Consider product life cycle. Use life cycle analysis tools to help you design more sustainable products.
  • Shift the consumption mode from personal ownership of products to provision of services which provide similar functions. Some examples of companies that have made this shift are Interface Carpets (carpet tiles), Xerox (copier leasing rather than purchase), and Zipcar (car sharing).
  • Materials should come from nearby, sustainably managed renewable sources that can be composted when their usefulness is exhausted.


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