Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Journal #1 - The 12 Principles

As stated in both the introduction and conclusion of the article, the 12 Principles are to act as a guideline or blueprint in achieving an environmentally conscious design on any scale. Environmentally conscious can be defined as a focus on the inherent wastes of the life cycle of a design.

The concepts presented in the Principles represent a global trend in reduction of "waste" in engineering. Waste does not representing some form of thermal energy lost, but actions that do not add value in a design. This is seen in manufacturing, construction, and is applicable to almost every aspect of engineering. In this case, the Principles outline that every design should strive to eliminate, reduce, or anticipate any waste as it is a loss in time, space, and essentially money.

This concept directly challenges some of the fundamental aspects of the American business model that was forged in the early 20th century by industry giants such as Henry Ford. Mass production focuses on reducing time through separation of work, but in this process does not do anything to reduce wasted materials or energy so long as the production line continues to move. In the end the mass production system can be proven as inefficient compared to other production methods. The Principles further challenge this traditional production thinking with concepts of focusing on durability (not always the "lifetime garuntee") and not standardization ("one size fits all").

Although a push for a stronger focus on eliminating life cycle flaws in a design would be costly and inefficient at first, finding errors early and reducing them can create a more efficient way of approaching these problems in future designs.

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