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Environmental Design

Ideally, Environmental design involves systemic, integrative, comprehensive, adaptive processes of identifying, assessing, interpreting and communicating environment- and health-related factors likely to influence projects, plans, decisions, policies, and individual and management actions. Increasingly, this field of design is employed in the development of construction projects, natural resources management, and industrial and consumer products. The discipline derives from and integrates with such other disciplines as architecture and interiors design, landscaping, environmental assessment, and sustainability science.


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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification Last Updated on 2013-09-10 15:53:09 Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (“LEED”) certification, which was developed and is administered by the United States Green Buildings Committee (“USGBC”), is an internationally recognized voluntary green building certification system that provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance.[1] The "seal of approval" is aimed at “encourag[ing] and accelerat[ing] global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance.”[2] The LEED rating system weighs and considers a building's contribution to energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emission reduction, improvement in indoor environmental quality,... More »
Green Building Standards Last Updated on 2013-09-10 15:42:37 This article was researched and written by students at Allegheny College participating in the Encyclopedia of Earth's (EoE) Student Science Communication Project. The project encourages students in undergraduate and graduate programs to write about timely scientific issues under close faculty guidance. All articles have been reviewed by internal EoE editors, and by independent experts on each topic. Building standards have been around in the United States for nearly 100 years and have changed a great deal over time. Initially, policies were implemented to ensure the safety and adequate sanitary conditions for occupants and the public (from fire, electrical problems, sewage treatment, etc.) while more recently, emphasis has been placed on energy efficiency and sustainable buildings. The process for green buildings is ongoing and the movement has been a gradual process with much... More »
Urban yards as birds' refuges Last Updated on 2012-08-23 00:00:00 Urban yards with plants that mimic native vegetation offer birds "mini-refuges" and help to offset losses of biodiversity in cities,. Such purposeful landscaping with native vegetation helps local bird species. Native Plants in Urban Yards Offer Birds "Mini-Refuges" Yards with plants that mimic native vegetation offer birds "mini-refuges" and help to offset losses of biodiversity in cities, according to results of a study published in the journal PLOS ONE. "Native" yards support birds better than those with traditional grass lawns and non-native plantings. Researchers conducted the study through the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site, one of 26 such sites around the globe in ecosystems from coral reefs to deserts, from forests to grasslands. "To a... More »
API oil-water separator Last Updated on 2012-03-07 00:00:00 An API oil-water separator is a device designed to separate gross amounts of oil and suspended solids from the wastewater effluents of petroleum refineries, petrochemical and chemical plants, natural gas processing plants and other industrial sources. The name is derived from the fact that such separators are designed according to standards published by the American Petroleum Institute (API).[1][2] Description of the design and operation The API separator is a gravitative separation device designed by using Stokes' Law to define the rise velocity of oil droplets based on their size and density. The design of the separator is based on the density difference between the oil and the wastewater because that difference is much smaller than the specific gravity difference between the suspended solids and water. Based on that design criterion, most of the suspended solids... More »
Healthy Community Design Last Updated on 2012-02-05 00:00:00 The way we design and build our communities can affect our physical and mental health. Healthy community design integrates evidence-based health strategies into community planning, transportation, and land-use decisions. Healthy Community Design Initiative The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that healthy community design can improve people’s health by: Increasing physical activity; Reducing injury; Increasing access to healthy food; Improving air and water quality; Minimizing the effects of climate change; Decreasing mental health stresses; Strengthening the social fabric of a community; and Providing fair access to livelihood, education, and resources. According to the World Health Organization, health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of... More »