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"Cradle To Cradle Design" is a set of design principles for sustainable living. The principles are based on organic systems.
- All materials used should have a 'life cycle'. That is, there should be a planned route for their re-use. A life cycle that ends in landfill or sea-fill is not valid. Currently in our society even our sewerage system has a toxic cradle-to-grave design, in that it ends in sea-fill. Cradle-to-cradle design would have it producing bio-gas and fertiliser.
- Environmental cost of energy used should be of high consideration in the design. In designing aircraft wings, reduction in noise has two fold value as reducing it simultaneously reduces energy requirements. High grade energy (electricity) should be used only where appropriate, e.g. electronics and small motors, and not for space heating.
- Health costs of technology are included in calculations of product profitability. In our current society this could be administered through a 'health tax', but this is a relatively primitive transitional way to achieve the objective.
- Design should be based on evolutionary principles. New designs should be created by adapting existing designs, learning from experience of their actual use.
- Feedback is built in to the design process, for example in architectural design, part of the design involves plannining how the success of a building will be assessed over time. In designing a car, a maintainance program is designed at the same time as the
Design for living following the principles leads to a number of changes in city structure
- Reliance on the car is much reduced, instead bicycles and public transport are more common. To facilitate this supermarkets run delivery services. Cycle lanes are 'connected up' rather than ending at dangerous junctions. Algorithms used in computer networks to manage traffic are used to 'throttle' one-driver-cars at peak traffic times. There is greater emphasis on local community - building regulations reduce the likelihood of 'commuter villages' since communities of a certain size must mix different types of development.
- Insulation, passive heating (solar wall), and heat exchangers are used more. Electric space heating is hardly ever used.
- One or more floors in large buildings is devoted to 'environmental control': Temperature, humidity, air quality. Typically this will be a public area with pools and trees. Tenants in a building pay a service charge based on their actual demands on the facility.
- Town Planning looks at structure of future cities.