Environmental impact design (EID) is the design of development projects so as to achieve positive environmental objectives that benefit the environment and raise the stock of public goods.
Examples of EID include:
Environmental impact design impacts can be broken down into three types:
Environmental impacts of design must consider the site of the project.
Environmental Impact Design should address issues revealed by Environmental impact assessments (EIA). EID looks for ways to minimize costs to the developer, while maximizing the benefit to the environment.
Historically in construction, the needs of the owner were paramount, as constrained by local laws and policies, such as building safety and zoning. EID broadens those concerns to encompass environmental impacts. Low impact development and ecologically focused building practices originated in Germany following World War II. The widespread destruction and a large homeless population gave Germans the chance to refocus building practices. Prefabrication was adopted in both East and West Germany where, in the 1950s and 60s, modular construction systems were developed for residential buildings.
In 1992, at the Earth Summit, policy makers adopted Agenda 21, which focused on sustainable development. In 1996, the UN Conference on Human Settlements Habitat II discussed transferring sustainable building practices to an urban scale. From 1999 to 2003, the U.S. Green Building Council kick-started the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or (LEED) which is now the most well-known standard for green building.
The "building life cycle" is an approach to design that considers environmental impacts such as pollution and energy consumption over the life of the building. This theory evolved into the idea of cradle-to-cradle design, which adds the notion that at the end of a building's life, it should be disposed of without environment impact. The Triple Zero standard requires lowering energy, emissions and waste to zero. A successful life cycle building adopts approaches such as the use of recycled materials in the construction process as well as green energy.