We are, today, at the threshold of a brand new way of life. Our world faces many challenges and looking at the future of our global civilisation can be daunting. If we act fast, however, and utilise technology to progress, these challenges can be conquered and problems overcome. As individuals, communities and businesses, it is important that we think about building a sustainable future – in terms of how we live, work and play. Good design work underpins all sustainable progress. Let us, then, take a look at what good, sustainable design really entails:

Designing for place and time

No new project exists in a vacuum. Whether we are looking at small-scale improvements in a domestic setting, a well-functioning community, or business practice, computer aided design can help us to develop systems that function within their setting. In much the same way that garden designers will create plans that take into account the sun, wind, water and other natural vectors on a site, any new technological design, structure or business information model will recognise all the external factors acting on the project. Computer aided design is the best way to model for real-world scenarios and to avoid making the mistakes of the past.

Building on the past

The past, they say, is another country. But it is a country we can learn from. Sustainable design is not about throwing out the baby with the bathwater. It is about making sure that we can build on what has gone before. Reverse engineering can help us to understand the technology, structures and practices of the past, to recreate what works and improve what we can. Truly sustainable design is that which acknowledges the mistakes and triumphs of the past and works to build on them to create something not just as good but something better for the future.

Innovative solutions

Sometimes, however, computer aided design can lead us in new and often unexpected directions. Technology can be used as a tool for innovation. It can help us to move outside of preconceived notions and work forward in a world where each and every facet can be honed and improved. Whether it is modelling a prototype of a new invention that can sustainable improve our way of life, best business practice for a greener, more eco-friendly world, or the framework for new communities, computer aided design can help us to find those solutions required for our planet’s problems, large or small.

Joined up thinking

Good, sustainable design is about integration, not segregation. From the simplest components, the largest solutions can grow. Using joined up thinking in design means thinking about a project from beginning to end, from inception to manufacture. Computer aided design makes it easier to model using this concept of ‘joined up thinking’, whether we are talking about the reverse engineering of an existing project or paradigm, the creation of a new prototype, or a wider picture with business information modelling. Technology can take us beyond our human limitations and allow us to think outside the box, in all sorts of ways.

Reducing need, maximising yield

Fundamentally, sustainable progress demands that we reduce consumption of finite resources and move towards a future of plenty by utilising technology to create a world run on renewable resources. Computer aided design can help us to model systems and structures that reduce need, reduce waste and maximise yield – whatever that yield may be. Through design and modelling, we can learn how these outcomes can best be achieved, without causing more problems for our planet.

In the context of sustainability and eco-friendly practice, technology is often demonised. But technology offers solutions for those interested in building a better future through sustainable design. Moving forward, technology and effective computer aided design offer hope for humanity’s future.

Photo: The world by Naina_94 licensed under Creative commons 2