You are on page 1of 1

Sustainability and Site Design

The southeastern United States is also growing and facing problems with water
supply as well as significant declines in other environmental indicators such as air quality, biodiversity, and human health. This move to the south and the suburbs leaves
many cities with declining populations and tax bases but faced with underutilized
infrastructure and the remains of an industrial past that lasted only 50 years in many
places. Brownfield opportunities in cities in the last few years have provided designers
with unique challenges. This requires a different mind-set and more than a few new
skills. Site designers must confront the impacts of industrial contamination; we can no
longer assume that a site is healthy. Professional boundaries often blur within the context of these projects, and design professionals may find themselves working on more
diverse project teams as they search for innovative solutions to complex problems.

It is widely believed that the world is facing a time of increasing energy supply issues.
The modern global economy and the U.S. economy have grown in part on the foundation of relatively inexpensive energy primarily provide by various forms of fossil fuels.
We have leveraged the tremendous concentration of energy found in these fuels to
create ever-more productive processes and systems, which in turn enabled the production of lower cost products, faster, cheaper transportation, and new materials. Today
the United States is the largest consumer of oil in the world but produces less than
50 percent of its consumption. In 1994 the United States consumed 17.7 million barrels
of oil each day (mb/day). By 2007 that amount increased 17 percent to 20.7 mb/day.
Chinas consumption in that time rose 140 percent from 3.16 to 7.58 mb/day. Other
Asian nations also increased oil consumption 60 percent in this time as they moved
toward ever-more modern economies. Total world oil production of OPEC and nonOPEC producers in 1994 was 75.76 mb/day. By 2007 this had risen to 85.36 mb/day, an
increase of 12.6 percent. Total reported global demand for oil in 2007 was 85.36 percent.
Even a cursory review of global oil production trends suggests the time of oil surpluses
has ended. Ever-growing demand will result in higher energy costs and tighter supply,
and energy conservation and efficiency will become more important considerations in
development of all forms. Buildings represent a significant source of energy demand
associated with land development, and site designers will be called upon to participate
more broadly and to contribute to the new principles that are already being used in the

Much of the United States enjoys an adequate supply of water although the amount of
precipitation and surface water availability declines as we move from east to west (see
Table 1.5). Local variability is significant, ranging from 1 inch per year in the southwest
to more than 60 inches per year in the southeast. Such variability suggests the difficulty
in finding wide-ranging solutions. Although water is a renewable resource, supply
issues do exist and promise to become more significant as time passes. Annual natural
variations in precipitation can result in local and regional water management issues
and conflicts. It is unclear to what degree these natural variations will be exacerbated at
the local level by climate change, but most climatologists agree that extreme weather
events and patterns will become more frequent and more persistent. This suggests that