The building must be thought of as a part of the ecosystem in which it is to be
built. Design decisions must take into account the characteristics and needs of each
component of this ecosystem and must not compromise the delicate balance of soil, air,
water, vegetation, and animal life.
One important factor that must be taken into consideration is the climate of the
region. This factor has implications for site orientation, passive solar heating,
building insulation, glazing, lighting, HVAC systems, and indoor air quality.
The existing vegetation and landscape, as well as the wildlife that inhabits it, must
also be taken into account when designing the facility. In many areas of the country,
deforestation, a result of the combined effects of logging, urban development, and
pollution (particularly carbon dioxide emissions), is a significant problem (Noble,
1997). Decisions about the size and footprint of the building, the provision and
location of the parking lot, and placement and composition of access roads should strive
to minimize any further clearing of the surrounding vegetation. The emission of
harmful substances into the environment, both during and after construction, will also
have deleterious effects on the landscape and wildlife, and must be considered during all
phases of the project.