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Environdesign Notebook


Environdesign Notebook

Recognizing Contributions to Interiors

The 2003 Sustainable Design Leadership Awards have been created to honor sustainable design contributions as recognized by a jury of prominent designers and business leaders, as well as in the national media. The International Interior Design Association (IIDA), the AIA/Interiors Committee and CoreNet Global have joined together to honor leaders who have integrated design excellence, sustainable design and best business practices for the interior built and workplace environment.

For more information and to receive an entry form, call (888) 548-5800, or e-mail: Details are also available on the Web: visit;; or

Green Matrix Launched

If you're a designer newly entering the arena of green design, how do you know what sustainable strategies to use and when to use them? For instance, during the master planning phase of a project, what's a good materials resource strategy to use?

Well, first you might scour your office library for all the "green" books you have and scan the indexes for information on materials resource management techniques. Then you might look up some common AIA checklists for master planning. Then finally you might go surfing for the answer. In the end you are faced with a stack of data that needs to be sorted, filtered and cross-referenced to reach an appropriate answer.

Ratcliff, an Emeryville, CA-based firm, has launched one tool to simplify this search. Created as a result of its own in-house development of a design tool that aided in navigating the increasingly complex world of green design resources, Ratcliff found that part of the difficulty of implementing sustainable design strategies in an established design methodology was that designers felt overwhelmed by the ever-increasing amount of information. Not knowing where to start or how to manage the data meant that some designers were less likely to integrate their design process with sustainable ideas. Only those who already had experience in green design were able to wade through the multitude of resources.

Originally a pin-up document, the Green Matrix (GRNMTRX) CD-ROM (currently in beta testing) cross-references topics of sustainability with the standard phases of project design, thereby illuminating appropriate strategies for a particular phase of work. Within the GRNMTRX is a horizontal heading for the five typical sustainable topics: site, water, energy, materials and indoor environment. Listed vertically are the seven design phases: pro-forma, master planning, pre-design, schematic design, design development, construction documents and construction/post occupancy. At the intersection of topics and phases lies the design strategies particular to that condition. The user "clicks" the intersection under consideration and is led to more specific information on the strategies and further resource links—some of which may reside in the data file as rules-of-thumb or may be links to independent Web sites.

For a free copy of the Ratcliff GRNMTRX Version 2.0, please Ratcliff will request users fill out and return registration information (through e-mail) in order to create an exchange of information by incorporating comments and suggestions for later versions, as well as a database for disseminating future versions. The registration will be voluntary, but strongly encouraged.
by Dan Meza, AIA