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Sustainable Design: The Science of Sustainability and Green Engineering

By Daniel Vallero and Chris Brasier. New Jersey: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2008, 352 pages, $80.

Reviewed by Alanna Malone

The combined experiences of the authors in architecture, engineering, planning, and public policy have made them experts at justifying sustainable design with sound science, which happens to be the underlying theme of this book.

Sustainable Design: The Science of Sustainability and Green Engineering
Photo courtesy John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Daniel A. Vallero, Sustainable Design: The Science of Sustainability and Green Engineering, 2008.
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Vallero and Brasier’s decision to begin the book with the hard sciences was a risky decision, seeing as how some readers could be turned off by the complex physics, chemistry, and biological concepts from the get go. They acknowledge this potential problem in the preface and compensate with a suggested alternative approach to the chapters, meant to ease the reader into the difficult scientific principles.

The symbiosis of art and science comprises the core of this complete introduction to the process and ethics of green design. The pages are filled with case studies, exercises, lessons, figures and sidebars supporting the science of sustainability. Each chapter even has footnotes offering further explanations and sources.
Quoting Thomas Jefferson with “every generation needs a new Revolution,” Vallero and Brasier seem to offer an optimistic outlook, and even some predictions for the future in the final chapter, entitled “We Have Met the Future and It Is Green.”

This book functions not only as a guide engineers, contractors, and architects through the decision making process of sustainable design, it should also be used as a learning tool for students entering the field of the building sector.

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