Sustainability is expressed as meeting present environmental, social, and economic needs without compromising these factors for future generations A practice cannot be said to be 'sustainable for X years/generations.' The use of any span of time disqualifies the activity. Sustainability is for perpetuity.
Sustainability also means greater efficiency in resource use, ultimately giving benefits to economic growth and overcoming poverty, as well as health and quality of life.
Sustainable design and sustainable development are critical factors to sustainable living. Sustainable design encompasses the development of appropriate technology, which is a staple of sustainable living practices. Sustainable development in turn is the use of these technologies in infrastructure. Sustainable architecture (see Green building) and agriculture are the most common examples of this practice.
Construction of an Affordable Greenhouse
. The capstone project for Queen’s University
4th Year Mechanical Engineering Class,"Engineering for Sustainable Development
", is to design and construct an Appropriate Technology with a quantifiable engineering result. This project is to construct a greenhouse, review the heat requirement on the system for the whole year; then, based on the materials and conditions selected, review costs associated with this and build a scaled model.
This project is the first step to easy community greenhouse development - the goal of the affordable greenhouse is to:
- Improve greenhose design and awareness for residential application.
- Demonstrate the feasibility (i.e costs) of a greenhouse in the winter months and determine the best time to install such a system for optimal crop yield.
Due to the materials selected and the cold Canadian Spring, it is not effective to construct until late April. But with better material selection and innovative greenhouse designs, it is hoped that constructing miniature greenhouses will become common practice.
A very hot (400 °F) parabolic solar cooker. Made from an reclaimed satellite dish using bicycle powered tools.