Origin and Development of Environmental Design

Linda Hildebrand, Thaleia Konstantinou, Saja Kosanović, Tillmann Klein, Ulrich Knaack

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Buildings are characterised as some of the greatest consumers and pollutants of the planet. However, the genesis of environmental design, in the context of its modern meaning, as shown in this paper, is not so much based on initial requests to reduce the negative pressure on the environment, but more on the tendency to ensure the continuity of the supply of resources. Only when awareness of the state of environment and the negative anthropogenic contribution matured enough in the second half of the 20th century, the idea of environmental design started to grow and become more complex. Eventually, environmental design became a framework comprising various strategies and measures that aim to reduce the negative ecological impact of buildings by aligning conventional design requirements with their environmental significance. By connecting resource efficiency with the reduction of environmental impact of buildings, this paper reviews current trends and challenges in the utilisation of energy, materials, water, and land, and reflects the scenarios of possible resource-efficient futures in which wider social and economic schemes could become increasingly relevant for the successful outcomes of environmental design.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainable and resilient building design
Subtitle of host publicationapproaches, methods and tools
EditorsSaja Kosanović, Tillmann Klein, Thaleia Konstantinou, Ana Radivojević, Linda Hildebrand
Place of PublicationDelft
PublisherTU Delft Open
ISBN (Print)978-94-6366-032-7
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jun 2018

Publication series

NameReviews of Sustainability and Resilience of the Built Environment for Education, Research and Design
PublisherTU Delft Open


  • buildings
  • environmental impact
  • life cycle
  • resource efficiency


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