integrative design guide

For more than two decades, 7group has been deeply engaged in helping the building design and construction industry pursue green building practices and sustainability. During that period, it became clear to us that project teams overwhelmingly lack information about effective green building design processes. Accordingly, the partners of 7group and Bill Reed have collaborated to create a book that fills this void with an easy to understand manual, The Integrative Design Guide to Green Building: Redefining the Practice of Sustainability.


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This is a pragmatic book. There are many books on green design that describe the what of sustainability – what to do, what to use, what to design, what to buy, what not to buy. In this book, we talk about how. How to make the best decisions, how to work with others to creatively address the issues of sustainability, how to address complex issues that threaten living systems, and how to be more and more deeply purposeful in pursuing what is required of us to achieve these objectives.

How you do something is a process. This book is about redesigning the design process. It describes in detail a practical, replicable Integrative Design Process (IDP).

Chapters One through Four focus on the concepts and philosophy behind Integrative Design, or whole-systems thinking. These chapters address systems thinking and building and community design from a whole and living system perspective. Accordingly, these chapters form the foundation of the book, and as such, serve as a conceptual structure to guide the thinking that leads to a more and more deeply sustainable design process.

Chapter Five begins the manual section of the book – the “how to do it” structure that can be used to guide the process. Chapters Six through Eight complete the manual and serve as a “field guide” that identifies specific tasks associated with a series of thirteen explicit stages required for implementing an optimal IDP. The authors use process outlines, practical examples, case studies and stories from their own design experiences to delineate the fundamental aspects of this process.

From these experiences, 7group has learned to understand buildings as organisms and to explore sustainable, green building practices as a discovery process that optimizes interrelationships between all systems. This book conveys what we’ve learned so far. We wrote it hoping to help project teams navigate the transition from traditional building design to a more collaborative process that can produce high performance green buildings cost-effectively.

Excerpts from our book The Integrative Guide to Green Building detailing the stages and steps of the integrative design process can be found here.