"Sustainability" and "sustainable design" refer to our ongoing responsibility to choose and design methods of manufacturing, building and ways of life that have little to no impact on the long-term health of the environment, society and economy. From government to industry to individual consumers, we must all consider our "ecological footprint" and the legacy we will leave for future generations. Sustainable design is now recognized by a growing number of business, community and environmental leaders as a key driver in innovation and competitiveness in the global market. Canada's role in this movement is growing steadily and there are many opportunities for our country to become a leader in the field. This unit focuses on sustainable living in terms of our homes and the infrastructure of our communities.


CURRICULUM LINKS

The pilot activity was executed in Grade 12 Technological Design. This learning object also links to the following curriculum, its related theme and outcome:  Grade 10 Civics  Grade 12 Canada: History, Ide Read More

  1. "Sustainability" and "sustainable design" refer to our ongoing responsibility to choose and design methods of manufacturing, building and ways of life that have little to no impact on the long-term health of the environment, society and economy. From government to industry to individual consumers, we must all consider our "ecological footprint" and the legacy we will leave for future generations. Sustainable design is now recognized by a growing number of business, community and environmental leaders as a key driver in innovation and competitiveness in the global market. Canada's role in this movement is growing steadily and there are many opportunities for our country to become a leader in the field. This unit focuses on sustainable living in terms of our homes and the infrastructure of our communities.


CURRICULUM LINKS

The pilot activity was executed in Grade 12 Technological Design. This learning object also links to the following curriculum, its related theme and outcome:

  •  Grade 10 Civics
  •  Grade 12 Canada: History, Identity and Culture
  •  Grade 12 Analysing Current Economic Issues
  •  Grade 11 Geographics
  •  Grade 11 Americas: Geographic Patterns and Issues 

 

STRUCTURE


This activity can take place over 3 to 4 class periods. Use the case study to introduce the subject of sustainable design, architecture and urban planning in Canada. The activity is appropriate for individual and group work, and for in-class work or homework.

 

INTRODUCTION

 
Similar to problem-based learning, design thinking and the creative problem-solving process of designers are adaptable to many subject areas. They can be applied either as a means of enquiry, for example as a teaching and learning strategy, or as the subject of inquiry, such as designing a brochure or temporary shelter. In either case, students employ creative, critical, and reflective thinking; they engage in research on the particular subject matter, and they analyse and propose responses while working collaboratively in groups. The real-life problems are human-centred and they have social, cultural, and economic implications. In turn, the discussion of these issues connects students with their communities. Because design thinking and the design problem-solving methodology result in multiple solutions, there is no one right answer to any given problem. Evaluation is based on depth of inquiry, insight and critical analysis, and the breadth of creative and innovative responses. The learning process is self-directed and teachers act as facilitators and guides.

In this project, students practice design as the subject of investigation by designing a sustainable community. Through interactive class discussions and Internet research, students are introduced to concepts of vernacular architecture, renewable energy, and principles of environmental sustainability. They practice critical thinking by questioning mainstream building practices and consider user needs when developing a customized built community. Students begin the project by researching alternative building materials and methods, and renewable energy sources. Each group becomes a subject expert on a particular method, makes a presentation to the class with notes and sketches which become a resource for the second phase of this project. Working in their same groups, students identify a target audience or user-group and design a small sustainable community. With the aid of notes, sketches, and plans, students present their final design concepts to the class.

 

ACTIVITY GUIDELINES

 
Background:

  • Sustainable development has its roots in building practices of ancient cultures while integrating new technologies and building methods.


Vernacular Architecture:

There are many wonderful building styles from all over the world that can inform us with their shapes, materials, arrangements, decorations, concepts for heating and cooling, etc. Vernacular architecture has been losing ground over the last couple of centuries, as modern methods prevail. This is unfortunate since many of the old ways employ natural materials and simple concepts that are energy efficient. Also the buildings themselves are often beautiful.

 

Source: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/vernacular.htm
 

1. Historical antecedents: Using the Internet, familiarize yourself with a variety of historical and cultural building methods and materials including: adobe, cob, straw bale, and rammed earth. Describe the unique characteristics of these buildings and their historical, cultural and environmental origins.

 
2. Research the basic principles of sustainable development used by many leading architects today. Include modern renewable energy sources such as wind generation and solar panels.

 
3. Working in groups, and incorporating these principles, develop plans for a small sustainable community. Your final designs may be hand-drawn colour sketches or CAD drawings, as time allows. Assemble your research findings in a presentation to your classmates. Develop some questions of your own that emerge from your inquiry.
 

Resource images:

Traditional British Style Cob Buildings. Another Devon, England Cob House, reed thatch roof Source: http://www.cobcottage.com/taxonomy_menu/13/16/29/17

 Exterior view of contemporary cob construction home. Source: http://www.cobcottage.com/node/125

Interior: Barrel stove, heated cob bench, and stabilized earth floor. Source: http://www.cobcottage.com/node/169

Contemporary Adobe Construction http://www.affordableadobe.com/Exteriors.html

http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/adconmet.html

Straw Bale construction (near Collingwood, Ontario) http://www.strawbalebuilding.ca/houses/21.shtm

 

ACTIVITY RESULTS

The pilot activity was executed in Grade 12 Technological Design. The unit began with an introduction and discussion on the meaning of sustainability and reasons to use principles of sustainability. Students researched aspects of vernacular architecture and sustainable energy sources. Presentations were made in the second class where individual groups became the subject experts of a specific building method. Working in groups, students planned and designed sustainable communities using the principles and methods they had researched.

RESOURCES

 
Affordable Adobe: Sustainable Traditional Building http://www.affordableadobe.com/

AIA / COTE 2005 Green Project Awards www.aiatopten.org

Breathe Architects (Martin Liefhebber?s website and projects) http://www.breathebyassociation.com/

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ? Healthy Housing http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/inpr/bude/heho/index.cfm

Canadian Green Building Council www.cagbc.org

CMHC: FlexHousing http://www.cmhc-schl.gc.ca/en/co/buho/flho/index.cfm

CMHC: The Toronto Healthy House http://cmhc-schl.gc.ca/popup/hhtoronto/

Design Exchange: Archetype for the Living City: Sustainable House Competition www.dx.org/sustainable

Design - Toronto Life "Green house" (October 2004) Katherine Ashenburg www.breathebyassociation.com/news/pdf%20articles/TLife-Oct04.pdf

Dirt Cheap Builder (resources for sustainable housing) http://www.dirtcheapbuilder.com/

Enviroguide - Toronto Life (Fall/Winter 2004) www.breathebyassociation.com/news/pdf%20articles/EnviroGuide-2004.pdf

Global TV - Health Home (First aired October 4, 2004) www.canada.com/health/story.html?id=fd332aea-9b93-430a-81f3-d1fbe8122f44

Green Build International Conference and Expo www.greenbuildexpo.org

Green Home Building http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/sustainable_architecture.htm

Healthy Home Television www.healthyhome.tv

International Institute for Sustainable Development www.iisd.org

Natural Building Colloquium Southwest: The History of Cob http://www.networkearth.org/naturalbuilding/history.html

The Natural Step: http://www.thenaturalstep.com

Networks Productions: Creating and Disseminating Media to Help Regenerate the earth http://www.networkearth.org

Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition http://www.strawbalebuilding.ca/

Principles of Sustainability: http://www.brocku.ca/epi/sustainability/sustprin.htm

Seattle Government Green Building www.seattle.gov/dpd/sustainability

Sustainable Architecture, Building and Culture www.sustainableabc.com

The Sustainable Design Exchange http://www.dx.org/sustainable/archives.htm

Sustainable Sources www.greenbuilder.com

Terra Firma Earth Building Company (Contemporary rammed earth homes rammed earth homes - contains historical and technical information) http://www.earthhomes.com

Toronto Healthy Houses (competition winner) http://www.breathebyassociation.com/projects/healthy-house/

Wilson House (energy efficient house) http://breathebyassociation.com/projects/wilson/description

Wood Works www.woodworksawards.com/home.html

WWF-UK Homing in on Sustainability www.wwf.org.uk/core/about/ta_0000000576.asp

 

Additional Resources General

Beatley, Timothy, and Kristy Manning. The Ecology of Place: Planning for Environment, Economy, and Community. Island Press, 1997.

Brand, Stewart. How Buildings Learn: What Happens After They're Built. Viking, 1995.

Burnham, Richard. Housing Ourselves: Creating Affordable, Sustainable Shelter. McGraw-Hill, 1998.

Diamond, Jared M. Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed. New York : Viking, 2005.

Friedman, Avi. The Adaptable House: Designing Homes for Change. McGraw-Hill Publications, 2002.

Gissen, David. Big & Green: Toward Sustainable Architecture in the 21st Century. Princeton Architectural Press, 2002.

Griggs, Robyn Lawrence. Natural Home (bimonthly magazine).

Hall, Keith, ed. Building for a Future. Association for Environment-Conscious Building (quarterly magazine).

Hammett, Jerilou, ed. DESIGNER/builder: A Journal of the Human Environment (monthly magazine). Fine Additions, Inc.

Homer-Dickson, Thomas F. Ingenuity Gap. Can We Solve the Problems of the Future? Toronto : A.A. Knopf Canada, 2000

Jenks, Mike, and Nicola Dempsey. Future Forms and Design for Sustainable Cities. Architectural Press, 2005.

Jones, David Lloyd. Architecture and the Environment: Bioclimatic Building Design. The Overlook Press, 1998.

Kennedy, Joseph F., Michael G. Smith, and Catherine Wanek. The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources. New Society, 2002.

Kibert, Charles J., Jan Sendzimir, and G. Bradley Guy. Construction Ecology: Nature as the Basis for Green Buildings. Spon Press, 2002.

McDonough, William, and Michael Braungart. Cradle to Cradle: Remaking the Way We Make Things. North Point Press, 2002.

Register, Richard. Ecocities: Building Cities in Balance with Nature. Berkeley Hills Books, 2002.

Roseland, Mark. Toward Sustainable Communities: Resources for Citizens and Their Governments. New Society Publishers, 1998.

Thomas, Randall. Sustainable Urban Design. Spon Press, 2003.

Tsui, Eugene. Evolutionary Architecture: Nature as a Basis for Design. John Wiley & Sons, 1999.

Van der Ryn, Sim, and Stuart Cowan. Ecological Design. Island Press, 1996.

Wackernagel, Mathis, and William Rees. Our Ecological Footprint: Reducing Human Impact on the Earth. New Society Publishers, 1996.

Wann, David, ed. Deep Design: Pathways to a Livable Future. Island Press, 1996.

Wines, James. Green Architecture. Taschen, 2000.

Wright, Ronald. A short history of progress. Toronto: House of Anansi Press, 2004.

 

Building Materials

Borer, Pat, and Cindy Harris. The Whole House Book: Ecological Building Design & Materials. Centre for Alternative Technology, 1998.

Janssen, Jules. Building With Bamboo : A Handbook. Intermediate Technology, 1995.

McHenry, Paul. Adobe & Rammed Earth Buildings. University of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Pearson, David. Treehouses. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 2001.

Roy, Robert L. Complete Book of Underground Houses : How to Build a Low-Cost Home. Sterling Publications, 1994.

Snell, Clarke, and Tim Callahan. Building Green : A Complete How-To Guide to Alternative Building Methods: Earth Plaster, Straw Bale, Cordwood, Cob, Living Roofs. Lark Books, 2005.

Velez, Simon. Grow Your Own House: Simon Velez and Bamboo Architecture. Vitra Design Museum, 2000.

 

Energy

Behling, Sophia, and Stefan Behling. Solar Power: The Evolution of Sustainable Architecture. Prestel Verlag, 2000.

Guzowski, Mary. Daylighting for Sustainable Design. McGraw-Hill Professional, 2000.

Hawkes, Dean, and Wayne Forster. Energy Efficient Buildings: Architecture, Engineering, and Environment. W. W. Norton & Company, 2002.

Home Energy Magazine. No-Regrets Remodeling: Creating a Comfortable, Healthy Home That Saves Energy. Home Energy Magazine,1997.

Ireton, Kevin, ed. The Best of Fine Homebuilding: Energy-Efficient Building. The Taunton Press, 1999.

Krigger, John T. Your Home Cooling Energy Guide. Saturn Resource Management,1992.

Lyle, David. The Book of Masonry Stoves: Rediscovering an Old Way of Warming. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1998.

O'Cofaigh, Eoin, John A. Olley, and J. Owen Lewis. The Climatic Dwelling: An ntroduction to Climate-Responsive Residential Architecture. James & James Limited, 1996.

Perlin, John. From Space to Earth: The Story of Solar Electricity. Aatec Publications,1999.

 

Waste and Water

Del Porto, David, and Carol Steinfeld. The Composting Toilet System Book: A Practical Guide to Choosing, Planning and Maintaining Composting Toilet Systems, an Alternative to Sewer and Septic Systems. Center for Ecological Pollution Prevention, 2000.

Grant, Nick, Mark Moodie, and Chris Weedon. Sewage Solutions: Answering the Call of Nature. New Society Publishers, 2001.

Jenkins, J.C. The Humanure Handbook: A Guide to Composting Human Manure. 2nd ed.T Jenkins Publishing, 1999.

Van Der Ryn, Lim, and Sim Van Der Ryn. The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1995.

Vickers, Amy. Handbook of Water Use and Conservation: Homes, Landscapes, Businesses, Industries, Farms. WaterPlow Press, 2001.

 

Healthy Home Environments

Bower, John. The Healthy House: How to Buy One, How to Cure a Sick One, How to Build One. 4th ed. The Healthy House Institute, 2001.

Bower, Lynn Marie. Creating A Healthy Household: The Ultimate Guide for Healthier, Safer, Less-Toxic Living. The Healthy House Institute, 2000.

Harland, Edward. Eco-Renovation: The Ecological Home Improvement Guide. Chelsea Green Publishing Company, 1999.

Hobbs, Angela. The Sick House Survival Guide: Simple Steps to Healthier Homes. New Society Publishers, 2003.

Kunstler, James Howard. Home from Nowhere: Remaking our Everyday World for the 21st Century. Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1998.

May, Jeffrey C. My House is Killing Me!: The Home Guide for Families with Allergies and Asthma. The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001.

Pearson, David. The New Natural House Book: Creating a Healthy, Harmonious, and Ecologically Sound Home. Simon & Schuster/Fireside, 1998.

Rousseau, David, and James Wasley. Healthy By Design: Building & Remodeling Solutions for Creating Healthy Homes. 2nd ed. Hartley & Marks, 1999.

Saunders, Thomas. The Boiled Frog Syndrome: Your Health and the Built Environment. John Wiley & Sons, 2002.

 
Resources about Teaching Design

Owen-Jackson, G. (2002). Teaching design and technology in secondary schools. A reader. London: Routledge/Falmer.

Owen-Jackson, G. (2002). Aspects of teaching secondary design and technology. Perspectives on practice. London: Routledge/Falmer.


© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.

Students worked in groups to design a sustainable community.

Students worked in groups to design a sustainable community. Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario

Elise Hodson
March 2006
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Students created a plan for a ski resort that incorporated sustainable energy resources.

Students created a plan for a ski resort that incorporated sustainable energy resources and considered the resources and challenges of the site. Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario

Elise Hodson
Students, Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
2006 03
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Students explore a model of communal living and shared resources.

Students explore a model of communal living and shared resources. Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario

Elise Hodson
Students, Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
March 2006
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Students spoke to the class about the sustainable features of their proposals.

Students spoke to the class about the sustainable features of their proposals. Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario

Elise Hodson
Students, Grade 12 Technological Design, Northern Secondary School, Toronto, Ontario
March 2006
CANADA Toronto Region, Ontario, Toronto Region, CANADA
© 2006, Design Exchange. All Rights Reserved.


Learning Objectives

Students apply the design process through research and collaborative problem-solving. They gain an appreciation for alternative, environmentally sound architectural practices and apply several principles of sustainability to a preliminary plan for a residential community. Students compare and evaluate construction methods and materials; consider their effectiveness in a Canadian climate; identify potential barriers to unconventional construction methods, and formulate arguments in defense of green building practices. Students engage multiple learning styles and cognitive skills; practice planning, organization, and interpersonal skills through group work, and use current technology to research the problem and render their final designs.

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