Sustainable Language


Do we need a new language, a language of sustainability? Will the dialects be “non-violent communication”, “triple bottom line accountability”, “energy literacy”? Is it time to apply the filters: is it kind (equitable), true (embracing the real), and necessary (responsive to the needs of all life, now and for future generations)? An example of the need to update language of the society and time we live in: the word “credit” is an euphemism for potential debt; we can clearly witness the influence of semantics.

Here’s another link from Kerstin:

Saul Griffith, “Energy Literacy”.
Why can’t we all speak the same language?

Energy and power are not particularly intuitive concepts for
people to grasp. For some reason, you can say “this needs a
horsepower” and people can understand it, but when you say
“this needs 750 Watts” they ask “Watts per what?”. A lot of
people are comfortable with kWh per day, because that’s the
units they pay their energy bills in. Oil companies like using
units of Barrels of Oil Equivalent or MBOE. That’s not intuitive
to many others. Therms and BTU’s (British Thermal Units)
aren’t exactly intuitive either.
This table is a little whimsical, but it will give a sense of the
many different ways different people think about power and
energy. We chose Watts for this document largely because
it is based on the SI system and is well established as a standard.
We will certainly be better served by getting broad agreement
on a standard so that people are generally able to compare
things and understand things. I am personally like Watts and
would vote for that, but I really don’t mind as long as we find
units for the energy conversation that are the most understandable
for the most people. If that is horsepower I’m more
than happy to talk in horsepower.

Saul Griffith

and here is a link to the site she contributes to: bldgsim

We believe that in sustainable design the really significant decisions happen in the early stages. Hence the focus of this blog is on green building design tools for architects and planners that are easy to learn and apply. To be successful in the architectural community these tools shall be interactive and provide visually comprehensible output. They shall enable the designer to make informed decisions based on simulation results and support clear client communication.


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