This story about how a NASA research team has come up with a way of making an aeroplane 'hybrid wing' that could cut in half the fuel use from flying got me reviewing design principles and processes which benefit the environment. This wing design still has a long way to go to fully prove itself and be put into commercial practice but truly smart designs can help to make a difference environmentally.
One Planet Living is basically applying best practice environmentally beneficical design to cities, towns and neighbourhoods. The ten principles chime with much of the aforementioned thinking. Zero Carbon: making buildings more energy efficient and delivering all energy with renewable technologies (eg seeLighthouse zero carbon building at Building Research Establishment, pictured left). Zero Waste: reducing waste arisings, reusing where possible, and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill. Sustainable Transport: encouraging low carbon modes of transport to reduce emissions, reducing the need to travel. Sustainable Materials: using sustainable products that have a low embodied energy. Local and Sustainable Food: choosing low impact, local, seasonal and organic diets and reducing food waste. Sustainable Water: using water more efficiently in buildings and in the products we buy; tackling local flooding and water course pollution. Natural Habitats and Wildlife: protecting and expanding old habitats and creating new space for wildlife. Culture and Heritage:
reviving local identity and wisdom; support for, and participation in, the arts. Equity, Fair Trade and Local Economy: inclusive, empowering workplaces with equitable pay; support for local communities and fair trade. Health and Happiness: encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to promote good health and well being.
More details on the above, including an expansion on what the 10 principles are all about here. Several practical examples of projects, at various levels, such as: BedZed UK; One Brighton; One Gallions, Thames Gateway; One Planet Sutton; RuralZED, can be found here.