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Re: sustainable design

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The definition of sustainability is as follows:

To utilize available resources this generation without
jeopardizing/compromising the needs of future generations.

In short, sustainability refers to sustaining life on this planet.

Let me give you an example.....

Air-conditioning systems can be easily replaced with well designed natural
ventilation systems.  In fact this concept is not new at all.  It is very
well followed in Asia.

Did you know that the number one environmental pollutant is the construction
industry & its support services (this is based on a scale that compares the
embodied energy in various processes)?

My company has been actively campaigning to introduce the concept of green
buildings to our clients.  It is a very difficult task and needs great
commitment and perseverance on the part of all parties involved.....client,
architect, engineer (SMEP), and contractor.

Even though this is easier to achieve in Mechanical Systems, the Structural
Engineer has to facilitate the Sustainable Mechanical System in coordination
with the Architect.  And as Mark has described, there are certain areas
where the Structural Engineer can contribute to sustainability.

Having said that, I have not yet designed a sustainable building in the
Structural sense, however, I am in the process of designing a green building
in the Mechanical sense (of course, this is being done by the MEP division
of our company).

Swaminathan Krishnan, P.E.
Ove Arup & Partners California