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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville


Reversing Climate Change by Design

Mark Dekay, Associate ProfessorCollege of Architecture and Design

Design drives climate change; the form and space of buildings and cities have energy-use consequences leading to greenhouse gas emissions that affect the climate. Buildings use 70 percent of electricity and are responsible for about half of greenhouse gases. Architects and engineers nationally are committed to reversing climate change through better design. This presentation connects new research on knowledge structures for carbon-neutral design, an educational game for learning design strategies, and examples of student solutions. The combination of pre-industrial and high-tech design strategies are drawn from DeKay’s 800-page book, Sun, Wind & Light: Architectural Design Strategies (3rd edition), which includes scales from materials to neighborhoods. Yet, even these technical solutions are not enough to create change if people don’t care about nature. The presentation also includes five suggestions for connecting people to nature through design, drawn from his  other book, Integral Sustainable Design: Transformative Perspectives.​

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