News Brief

The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability

This new guide from Bill Reed and 7group seeks to "redesign the design process."


By 7group and Bill Reed, 2009, Wiley & Sons; 416 pages, $75

Seeking to “redesign the design process,” as they put it, the authors of this remarkable book share their unquenchable spirit of inquiry. At the core of the book is an expanded and updated presentation of their method of integrative design—“integrative” because the integration is ongoing, never completed as would be implied by the more common term “integrated design.”

In that sense, this book is like a reference guide to the “Whole Systems Integrated Process Guide (WSIP) 2007 for Sustainable Buildings & Communities,” an ANSI/MTS standard. But wrapped around that step-by-step, nuts-and-bolts guidance are the big ideas that inform this integrative process. Understanding that buildings, their components, and their context are nested whole systems, the way to solve interconnected problems without creating new ones is to “solve for pattern.” This is done by discovering the story of each place, and designing not merely to restore ecological functions but to facilitate the ongoing evolution of a place to higher and better functioning.

Ultimately, the focus of resources, energy, and attention that comes about when designing and building or renovating a facility becomes an opportunity to transform both the place and the participants, helping both initiate a continuing evolution. If this all sounds like pie-in-the-sky idealism, read a few of the many real-world stories to see the potential.


Published August 20, 2009

Malin, N. (2009, August 20). The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability. Retrieved from

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