ecotecture.GIF (12664 bytes)

Department of   Design and Environmental Analysis,
Cornell University
  1. External Considerations

  2. Core & Envelope

  3. Indoor Ecology

  4. Material/Product Content

  5. Ecotecture Worksheets

  6. Additional  information.

  7. Case Studies

Use the table of contents to go directly to specific topics:



Design Considerations:

Energy Efficient- All equipment and appliances should be as efficient as possible.

When specifying appliances it is important to determine which will be the most effective for a specific use.  The creative application of equipment such as computers, telephone automation systems, PC networks, and copiers reduces space requirements and increases efficiency by limiting the need for paper flow or personal meetings.  Before purchasing any electrical equipment or appliances, look for their energy efficiency ratings and estimated annual operating costs.

Natural or Recycled-  It will be difficult to locate appliances that have been created with natural materials, however attempts should be made to recycle or reuse appliances that have already been used.

Raw Materials Acquisition- Recyclability and recycling of materials is essential and provisions should be made for the reuse of all products by the manufacturer.  

Raw Materials Processing and Manufacturing-  Avoid using appliances that require high amount of embodied energy to build and create a potential environmental desecration through the chemical production, and transportation of them.  Criteria for materials should be set to conserve resources.  Questions such as: Is it needed?  Is there a substitute with lower mass and/or lower embodied energy?

Product Distribution-  Use appliances that have been manufactured locally in an "sustaining" manner, to avoid environmental impacts of transportation.  It reduces the embodied energy use because materials do not need to be transported over long distances; it helps support local economies; it ensures climatically appropriate solutions for that region; and it expresses the culture of the community.

No / Low Emissions-   Look for products that do not pollute the air inside the building, or at least produce less pollution than conventional products.  Toxicity of materials should be carefully reviewed to protect indoor air quality and the employees from suffering from off-gassing effects.  Consult all MSDS sheets in order to determine presence of harmful chemicals in products, paying particular attention to exposure limits and known medical hazards.

Disposal & Renewability- Attempts should be made to use recyclable or biodegradable appliances.  

-Consult IAQ Spec List for manufacturers and product test results
Air Quality Sciences, Inc. Atlanta, GA
-Consult MSDS sheets for all materials

Case Studies to Research:

Further Information:
The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings

Primer on Sustainable Building
Rocky Mountain Institute

The Green Pages:  The Contract Interior Designer's Guide to Environmentally Responsible Products and Materials.  
Kim Nadel, C.I.D. & Andrew Fuston, Co-Authors, 399 4th St., Brooklyn, NY 11215.

Interior Concerns Resource Guide by
Victoria Schomer 131 W. Blithedale, Mill Valley, CA 94941.

Web resources
Oikos:  Green Building Source
Global Environmental Options
Indra's Net
Environlink's Internet Green Marketplace
Energy Efficient Environments, Inc.
Real Goods Trading Company:  Real Goods Catalog

Cornell University, December, 1998