The eco–design handbook: a complete sourcebook for home and office

By Alastair Fuad-Luke, second edition 2004
A manifesto for eco-pluralistic design … designs that tread lightly on the planet

Recently I found this very exciting book published in 2004, way before it was fashionable to talk about eco-design. It mostly concerns my personal aspect of how designers can save the earth, related to the climate problems, but it is excellent resource for anybody interested.

The thoughtful designer of the twenty-first century will design with integrity, sensitivity and compassion. He or she will design products/materials/service products that are sustainable, i.e. they serve human needs without depleting natural and man-made resources, without damage to the carrying capacity of ecosystems and without restricting the options available for present and future generations. An eco-pluralistic designer will:

1. Design to satisfy real needs rather than transient, fashionable or market-driven needs.

2. Design to minimize the ecological footprint of the product/material/service product, i.e., reduce resource consumption, including energy and water.

3. Design to harness solar income (sun, wind, water or sea power) rather than use non-renewable natural capital such as fossil fuels.

4. Design to enable separation of components of the product/material/service product at the end of life in order to encourage recycling or reuse of materials and/or components.

5. Design to exclude the use of substances toxic or hazardous to human and other forms of life at all stages of the product/material/service product’s lifecycle.

6. Design to engender maximum benefits to the intended audience and to educate the client and the user and thereby create a more equable future.

7. Design to use locally available materials and resources wherever possible (thinking globally but acting locally).

8. Design to exclude innovation lethargy by re-examining original assumptions behind existing concepts and products/materials/service products.

9. Design to dematerialize products into services wherever feasible.

10. Design to maximize a product/material/service product’s benefits to communities.

11. Design to encourage modularity in design to permit sequential purchases, as needs require and funds permit, to facilitate repair/reuse and to improve functionality.

12. Design to foster debate and challenge the status quo surrounding existing products/materials/service products.

13. Publish eco-pluralistic designs in the public domain for everyone’s benefit, especially those designs that commerce will not manufacture.

14. Design to create more sustainable products/materials/ service products for a more sustainable future.


New edition of this book is available from:

  1. thames and hudson [updated edition 2009 – 16 british pounds ] or
  2. book depository  [updated edition 2009 – CDN$ 33.34]

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