The Intersection of Green Building and UX: Think About Users, Not Just the Technology

Sustainable design doesn't have to come at the price of human comfort. New technology and good ux can bring a more delightful, green future.

Originally posted on Wired’s Innovation Insights

In the wake of global warming, sustainable design has come into its own over the past decade. People and companies not traditionally known for their environmental beliefs are undertaking programs to mitigate their effect on our earth. Just looking at projects in the bay area, one of the most prominent in its efforts to be sustainable is the design of Apple’s new headquarters.

The headquarters, envisioned by Apple and architecture firm Foster and Partners, is conceived as embodying the values of “innovation, ease of use and beauty.” The project is a complete redesign of the Apple campus, creating a new space that truly represents the Apple ideals and fosters a respect for its employees and its community. Through the design process, the project also became one of giving back to the landscape, drastically increasing the amount of open space and aiming to achieve net-zero energy through the use of 700,000 sq feet of solar panels.
Current green space on Apple’s campus vs proposed green space
Current green space on Apple’s campus vs proposed green space

While Apple aims to make its campus net-zero and products such as Nest allow individuals to monitor and control their personal energy usage, it’s evident that sustainable design will be at the forefront of innovation for years to come. This got me thinking, how can sustainable design be taken the next level? Are we meeting the individual’s needs while trying to meet the environment’s as well? Can we design sustainably while still creating beautiful and captivating experiences?

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