Sustainable Materials: Informed Decisions vs. Assumptions

AIA Course #: HAW581; HSW
IDCEC Course #: CC-103719; HSW
USGBC Course #: 920000569
Subject Code: 2. Interior Design / 12. Sustainable and/or Environmental Design

One Hour Course

Course Description: 

The integration of sustainable materials in designing and installing work environments is a key consideration for many clients and most designers today. The use of sustainable materials has a direct and indirect impact on our environment. There are extensive resources identifying and classifying materials relative to the benefit and/or risk they pose to the environment. In this session, we'll review information and explore a critical thinking process that will allow designers to consider a variety of aspects in evaluating their best options, looking beyond the face value of available material information and developing a customized point of view regarding the use of sustainable materials.

Course Objectives:

• Discuss the growth and impact that sustainable materials have on the design industry.
• Review the current status of materials and gain an understanding of their impact on the environment.
• Examine and exercise a critical thinking process beneficial in assessing the specific appropriateness of materials in applications.
• Discuss various resources available in the industry that serve to keep designers current and accurate in their knowledge of sustainable materials.

Content Outline:

1. Group exercise to define what sustainability means to each person. Explore the buzz words associated with sustainability and prove that it is a rather vague, overused term
2. Review common terms found in RFPs and building standards
3. Discuss specific materials and determine if they should be considered sustainable
4. Create a critical thinking process for determining how a material can analyzed for sustainability characteristics
5. Review common standards found in the industry (e.g. LEEDv4, Cradle to Cradle, BIFMA level, FSC)
6. Conclusion | Question & Answer