ABSTRACT

By the time the design for most human artifacts is completed but before they have actually been built, about 80-90 percent of their lifecycle economic and ecological costs have already been made inevitable.1 In a typical building, efficiency expert Joseph Romm explains, “Although up-front building and design costs may represent only a fraction of the building’s life-cycle costs, when just 1 percent of a project’s up-front costs are spent, up to 70 percent of its life-cycle costs may already be committed. When 7 percent of project costs are spent, up to 85 percent of life-cycle costs have been committed.”2 That first one percent is critical because, as the design adage has it, “All the really important mistakes are made on the first day.” This chapter presents ways to think differently — to use a different design mentality — on that first day.