Written by Paul Freeland, LEED AP Category LIGHT/AIR/WATER

Connecting people to nature is paramount for sustainable excellence.

Many sustainable approaches to site design are based, rightly so, on the tangible efforts of conserving and protecting resources.  Restoring native habitats and preserving existing ecosystems are fundamental foundations designed to ensure man’s touch on the land is as light as possible.  This approach can generally be easily documented for a client, often minimizing a designers influence over site planning to a simple matter of going through the motions to achieve a quantifiable end.  However, perhaps it’s only fitting within the discussion of a sustainable landscape that we reflect on the spiritual and intrinsic values of air, water, and light, and their place not only within the architecture, but in their expression within the fabric of the surrounding site.

Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA, LEED AP Category LIGHT/AIR/WATER

Conservation.  Preservation.  Restoration. Although similar in nature, these three commonly used words regarding sustainable elements are oftentimes mistakenly used interchangeably, yet are vastly different in intent, meaning, and application.  At a most basic consideration, conservation involves minimizing current resource levels, preservation involves keeping these at the original level, and restoration involves making these new again by bringing the site back to the original condition.  To phrase another way, conservation aims to limit the damage, preservation aims to prevent the damage, and restoration aims to repair the damage.

Written by R. Kirk Johnson, AIA, LEED AP Category LIGHT/AIR/WATER

The natural environment provides numerous opportunities to harness energy from sources such as the sun, earth, water, vegetation, or wind.  Effectively incorporating these same natural resource elements provide advantages for the built environment by enabling views, cooling, heating, refreshment, and a sense of place.  This is particularly the case with tapping resources from the sun as it provides buildings with the opportunity to generate power, provide shading, and harness daylighting into buildings from the sun.  This short article delineates three particular perspectives relating to the solar elements, by discussing sun power capture, direct sunlight restriction, and daylighting focus opportunities in sustainable design and construction.

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